Speaker Profile

Markus Thesleff

Founder, Whissle Limited

Markus Thesleff  photo

Co-Founder of Dubai headquartered full service boutique hospitality company, Whissle (www.whissle.com) and multi-award winning* OKKU Luxury Japanese Restaurant and Lounge (www.okku.com), Markus has over 16 years of international expertise in the fields of  hospitality, F&B, marketing and brand consultancy. Markus started his career within the family business, a holding company specializing in strategic development in the food & services industry, prior to venturing out on his own to pursue his passion for creating lifestyle brands.  Markus has worked and advised international corporations such as ConAgra, Scan and Volvo/Procordia.

With a strong background in the food business Markus is known for his success with the global brand Pangaea, launching to much aplomb in New York, London, and Marbella amongst others.  Pangaea is the iconic and glamorous private members lounge that has won every major industry accolade including Best Club in London multiple times**.

In 2005, Markus launched yet another exclusive private member’s lounge, AvivA located beneath the ultra-hip 5-star Baglioni Hotel in London, which played host to some of the city’s most high profile parties for — Armani, Robbie Williams, J-Lo, and Vanity Fair to name a few.

In September 2007, Markus opened Maya which quickly became a London hot spot and at the time was the only London club to have won the prestigious World’s Finest Clubs award, doing so after only eight months in operation. Some of the many celebrity icons to have visited Maya include Alexander McQueen, Sienna Miller, Rhianna, Chris Brown, and Lady GaGa.

Together with partner and long time friend Ramzy Abdul-Majeed, OKKU was created, bringing a new dimension to the rapidly expanding hospitality scene in Dubai.

Whissle, formed in 2000, is committed to creating and developing exciting and dynamic hospitality projects including managing the expansion of the award winning OKKU brand.  Following its success in launching OKKU, a home grown brand with international standards and an international reputation, Whissle has also launched Sophie’s (www.sophiesme.com), a gastro-cafe concept located on the Palm Jumeirah. Sophie’s will add a new flavour to the hospitality industry by providing a healthy fresh and natural home-style dining option.

Another in the Whissle portfolio is RIVA Ristorante, Bar and Beach (www.riva-beach.com), located in Building 8, The Shoreline Palm Jumeirah. It offers an innovative and unique new dimension to Dubai’s beach scene by being the first standalone independent destination to provide a chilled out, stylish and relaxing atmosphere in addition to offering guests à la carte facilities.

Expanding its portfolio further, Whissle launched CLAW BBQ, Crabshack & Grill in 2013 which is located in Souk Al Bahar and is the incarnation of America’s favourite style eatery featuring Southern hospitality at its best. In addition, Cielo Sky Lounge and Casa de Tapas, a Spanish tapas restaurant launched in Spring 2014 at the iconic Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.