As Chairman and Founder of Karma Group, John has overseen his company’s rise to become one of the largest independent travel and boutique lifestyle brands in the world outside of North America. Currently the group owns and operates 32 resorts across 10 countries, with an additional six under development. These span an impressive portfolio of brands that comprises Karma Estates, Karma Resorts, Karma Retreats, Karma Royal, Karma Beach, Karma Spa, Karma Kasa, Karma Club and Karma Boutique.
In 2002, John founded Karma Resorts, introducing the concept of boutique villa resorts in Asia with the opportunity for clients to purchase freehold villas. John’s vision for Karma Resorts pioneered the luxury private pool villa experience, offering expansive holiday residences with access to five-star amenities, ranging from holistic health retreats to hedonistic wine tastings. A believer in the “Five Star Hippy” ideal, John’s philosophy that life is a celebration permeates his companies, with this cultivated lifestyle recognised in consistent achievement of the industry’s top accolades.
2019 was another year of prowess for John, having been awarded the Edward P. Bass Honorary Fellowship at YALE in the Fall Semester in the School of Architecture (for a second time), marking the first time Yale has extended this to the same person more than once. 2020 marked the arrival of a challenging year for the travel sector, yet despite a global pandemic Karma Group, with John at the helm, continued to thrive, welcoming a trio of new properties to the portfolio – Karma Salak in Indonesia, Karma Sunshine Village in India, and Karma Salford Hall in the UK.
Today John oversees three global divisions; Asia and Australia; India and Middle East; and Europe and Caribbean. The company impressively boasts zero debt or leverage and remains 100 percent owned by John. A market leader in its field, Karma Group sits poised for dramatic growth with a number of future projects, providing an array of distinctive destinations beyond any other boutique hotel group in the world.
BACKGROUND ON KARMA GROUP
Karma Group is an award-winning international travel and lifestyle brand offering extraordinary experiences in the world’s most beautiful locations. Karma Group is led by Chairman and Founder, John Spence, former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and member of the judging panel for the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year. John has also been awarded the Edward P. Bass Honorary Fellowship at YALE in the Fall Semester of 2019 in the School of Architecture, marking the first time YALE has extended this to the same person more than once, alongside a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at UCLA.
Karma Group comprises Karma Estates, Karma Resorts, Karma Retreats, Karma Royal, Karma Beach, Karma Spa, Karma Kasa, Karma Club and Karma Boutique. The Group is currently operating 30 resorts in more than 10 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, India, Indonesia, Thailand and the United Kingdom. There are five properties in development, with the group negotiating further acquisitions in Australia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Spain and the UK. In 2016, Karma Group and Sanctum Hotel Group announced a joint venture to develop a series of authentic rock ‘n’ roll styled and orientated hotels in strategic locations around the world, accompanied by an exclusive private membership club, now with over 85,000 members. In 2017, Karma Group were awarded the contract to manage and develop the golf course on Rottnest Island in Western Australia and in Greece, RCI, the worldwide leader in vacation exchange, selected Karma Group to manage its operations in the Greek market while redevelopment began on Karma Minoan in Crete. Karma Group is a sponsor of the England Rugby 7’s team, as well as the Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens, the world’s largest school rugby tournament. Karma Group recently invested in its first racehorse with a view to future expansion of its stable.