A conversation with Fabio Leoni

Written by Susie Saldanha McCormack

Meet Fabio Leoni, Riomar’s new General Manager, bringing over 15 years of international hospitality expertise across Europe. With a multicultural perspective and a focus on personalised service, Fabio empowers his team to excel. Under his leadership, Riomar promises experiences that go beyond expectations, where guests indulge and employees thrive.


Can you share a brief overview of your international background and how it has shaped your approach to hospitality management?

I’ve spent around 10 years in the UK, split between London and Manchester, starting at a young age. I then moved back to Italy and spent the last five years and currently I am here in Spain. All of this has allowed me to work with diverse cultures.

Here in Ibiza, I want to implement everything I’ve learned and experienced. Putting people first is my goal because creating a happy environment for guests and customers is crucial. Therefore, one of my priorities is to initiate various activities that keep our employees satisfied and motivated to work and be part of this team.

What motivated you to pursue a career in the hotel industry? 

I come from a diverse background with various experiences. Initially my studies were focused on IT due to my family’s ownership of a prominent IT company in Italy. However, during my teenage years, I pursued a career in professional football. I eventually realised IT wasn’t my true passion, and although I appreciated the technical aspects, I craved human connection. I also made a decision to leave football due to an injury and embark on a completely different path.  

At the age of 21, I purchased a one-way ticket to England despite not knowing how to speak English. I settled in London and found a job in a hotel which I had sent my CV to for a bartender position. That experience ignited my love for hospitality and the joy of engaging with people daily, whether they were colleagues or guests. I found the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the hotel environment immensely intriguing.  


As Riomar’s new general manager, what is your vision for the hotel? 

My vision for the hotel is to establish it as the place to be in Ibiza for guests seeking relaxation, enjoyment and a fantastic time. While Ibiza is often perceived as a party spot, there’s another side to Ibiza, particularly  in Santa Eulalia, where individuals can also unwind and enjoy their time as couples or families. My aim is to make this the ideal destination for every guest, catering to both their desire for excitement and their need for tranquility.


How do you intend to prioritise and empower team members to create exceptional guest experiences? 

I’ve always placed a strong emphasis on recognising and appreciating team members. When we internally acknowledge their efforts and go the extra mile to support them, it motivates everyone to work together as a cohesive unit and strive for excellence. With the exceptional work already accomplished by the team, we have all the essential elements in place to create a truly memorable guest experience. From incredible food and fantastic drinks to access to the swimming pool, beach and yoga sessions, we offer a diverse range of activities and themed nights to ensure your guests have a fulfilling stay, even if they are with us for an extended period.


In your opinion, what are the key factors that make guests want to return to a hotel? 

I believe it’s the personal touch we offer to our guests that truly leaves a lasting impression. While there are undoubtedly beautiful hotels in Ibiza, what people will remember is how we made them feel. By consistently providing exceptional service from the moment they arrive and attentively catering to their needs throughout their stay, we ensure a remarkable experience. Here at Riomar we have a team of individuals who possess the right mindset, exuding friendliness and attentiveness towards our guests. I’ve personally witnessed and experienced this during my time here and that’s what sets us apart.  


What are your expectations for the upcoming season for Riomar? 

We have some exciting news to share. We have made the decision to collaborate with Hando, a Parisian hand roll sushi restaurant. They will be joining us during the months of July, August and beginning of September, bringing their exceptional dining concept to our pool, beach and bar areas during the day. In the evenings, our terrace will host their exclusive pop-up restaurant for a couple of months. This unique collaboration adds a fresh and innovative element to our hotel and we are thrilled to offer something truly distinctive that the island has yet to experience.


Finding work-life balance can be challenging in a demanding role like yours. How do you personally ensure you maintain balance and do you have any advice for anyone who may struggle with it? 

I consider myself fortunate for two reasons. Firstly, I am able to pursue a career that I am passionate about, which makes it easy for me to wake up every morning with focus and motivation to achieve great things. Secondly, I am privileged to wake up in this beautiful location, surrounded by the sea. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial and I always encourage others to allocate the right amount of time to work while also making room for family, exercise and personal interests. While there will always be days when we need to make an extra effort, especially in hotel operations, it is equally important to prioritise activities outside of work that help us unwind and relax the mind. For me, that often involves exercising, running, reading, studying languages or engaging activities that bring joy to my life.


What are you looking forward to during your time in Ibiza? 

I’m eager to explore the island and its remarkable natural sites. During my first visit a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to witness the beauty of Es Vedra, one of the most captivating places I’ve ever seen. I’m excited to get to know more about the island’s hidden gems and immerse myself in its unique nature. I’m also interested in discovering the multicultural environment of the island. In the hotel alone, we have a diverse team of individuals from various nationalities. It’s fascinating to witness the seamless language transitions from Italian to English, then to French, Spanish and more. Even outside the hotel, the multicultural ambiance is evident. I really enjoy this cultural exchange as it enriches my experiences and broadens my perspectives.