The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) yesterday announced the winners of the AH&LA Stars of the Industry Awards for outstanding hotel properties. Awarded annually since 1966, these awards distinguish individual hotels that have developed outstanding programs, events, and campaigns. Winners were chosen in the categories of Community Service, Special Events, Guest Relations, and Good Earthkeeping.
“These properties represent the best of the hotel industry,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. “From unforgettable guest experiences to being good stewards of the environment to serving as a refuge in the midst of a national crisis, our hotels enrich tourists’ experience and serve our local communities. The men and women who work in these very special properties should be recognized for their outstanding leadership and success. We are proud to do so today with the Stars of the Industry Awards.”
The award recipients were chosen among a talented pool of nominees. Judges included special media guests including Nancy Trejos of USA Today, Elaine Alimonti of Travel Budget, and representatives from Lodging Magazine.
This year’s property winners are:
Outstanding Community Service, small property: The Montage in Laguna Beach, California.Hearts of Montage is a volunteer philanthropic organization founded and led by the employees of Montage Hotels and Resorts and was established in 2003, six months after the opening of Montage Laguna Beach. The program’s mission of enriching lives of the community has been brought to life by the employees’ dedication to supporting organizations that provide empowerment opportunities to those in needs. Some of the organization’s many events include blood drives, beach cleans-ups, and food and clothing drives. Participation in Hearts of Montage events grows significantly each year, and the organization has become an integral component of the Montage culture and a well-respected asset to the community of Laguna Beach.
Outstanding Community Service, large property: The InterContinental Hotel in Miami, Florida. When it comes to service, the InterContinental Miami is passionate and devotes extraordinary efforts in supporting several ongoing projects that impact the surrounding community. The InterContinental Miami, takes pride in supporting impactful causes and providing service to others in need, which is why throughout the years they have made commitments to give time, money, and service to the community in which they live. One of the many efforts this hotel is dedicated to, is Hospitality Education, which is one of our strongest efforts in the community and we take pride in hosting various Academies, High Schools, and Colleges on property.
Special Events, Ongoing award for small property: Boston Harbor Hotel in Boston Massachusetts. The Boston Harbor Hotel ignited the Boston waterfront during the winter months. Centered on the building of a signature ice-skating rink, The Rotunda Rink, Winter on the Wharf was imagined and created. This event has provided local families an alternative outdoor winter option and also has provided businesses an alternative venue to hold corporate events and thank associates with an enjoyable activity. The hotel plans on continuing the successes of Winter on the Wharf through next year as it has reinvigorated the waterfront, built community morale and led to a changed sentiment of winter lodging in Boston.
Special Events, Ongoing, award in the large property: Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee. A Country Christmas is the time of year when Nashville’s iconic 2,882-room resort shines its brightest. Celebrating 30 years in 2013, the event attracts one million guests annually who flock to the resort to take in its two million holiday lights, over-the-top seasonal décor and some of the most spectacular holiday entertainment of the season. Gaylord Opryland’s 30th annual A Country Christmas again reached its attendance goal thanks to a robust PR plan that generated more than $3 million worth of trade/promos and significant press coverage across the region and country. This event brings incredible shows and attractions to make it a holiday destination like none other.
Special Events, One-time Only, small property winner: W in Scottsdale, Arizona. W Scottsdale and Go Yoga Productions presented Free Flow Let’s Go Yoga Series this season. This series offered guests and locals eight weeks of complimentary yoga experiences. The Free Flow Let’s Go Series influenced hundreds of people with over 250 people attending each class, as well as bringing the community together. The W Scottsdale's Yoga Series was the runner up in Arizona for the Special Event One Time category.
Special Events, One-time Only, large property winner: Omni Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The Omni Nashville Hotel opened its doors to the public on September 30, 2013, with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting celebration. Governor Bill Haslam, Mayor Karl Dean, and over 1,000 attendees celebrated with live music, culinary offerings and motivational speeches that paid tribute to the rich culture of Music City. The Omni Nashville Hotel honored the rich culture of the city with extensive planning for the ribbon cutting celebration featuring speeches from state and local officials, takeaways from regional artisans, and live music from the city’s rising stars.
Guest Relations award, small property: Magic Castle Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Currently the #1 hotel on TripAdvisor in all of Los Angeles, Magic Castle Hotel has time and time again provided an amazing guest experience. With full service free laundry, unlimited 24 hour snacks, free DVD rentals and board games, and much more, Service Freak Hospitality understands that providing a great experience for guests is the most important thing because at the end of the day, it’s how guests feel upon departure.
Guest Relations award, large property: Loews Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. The Loews Atlanta Hotel has been open for four years and has become one of the leading hotels in the city recognized for friendly, unpretentious, sincere customer service. Their approach is to provide guests with an atmosphere that is contemporary, clean, comfortable, vibrant, and most importantly with people that are naturally talented at caring about guests and doing everything to ensure their experience is memorable. Since opening, their focus on guest service and building relationships with everyone has dramatically impacted our hotel rating and #2 ranking on Trip Advisor.
Good Earthkeeping award, small property: Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, New York. The Adirondack Park, approximately 6 million acres, is the largest protected area in the contiguous United States, and is constitutionally protected to remain "forever wild" forest preserve. Some of the many sustainable programs Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort have established are green roof installation, CFL light bulbs, low flow toilets and shower heads, complete renovation of the pool area, reusing materials during renovation, and solar thermal panels installed. In addition, Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort gets the community involved with Earth Day celebrations and village clean-ups, as well as, guest participation in these green initiatives with in-room recycling and sheet/towel reusing programs.
Good Earthkeeping award, large property: Lake Lawn Resort & Spa in Delavan, Wisconsin. When the resort reopened in 2011, the lakeside property wanted to position itself within the community both as a gathering location, but as an environmental leader as well. The resort ensured to prioritize environmental sustainability in the selection of construction materials during refurbishment while minimizing construction and demolition waste through reuse and recycling. Regular staff meetings are held to discuss progress toward the resort’s environmental goals and improving communication with their guests on what steps the hotel are taking. Their sustainability efforts and how they play a large role with these goals is imperative to maintaining their sustainable practices.
Many of AH&LA’s partner state associations choose their own employee award winners, which are submitted to the association for national judging. The awards ceremony was sponsored American Express, HCareers, and HD Supply. For more information on AH&LA’s Stars of the Industry Awards program and a complete list of employee and property winners, please visit www.ahla.com/stars.
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