2nd Annual Hotel Hero Award

March 28, 2005 | Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Winners are noted with an asterisk (*).

Beyond the Call of Duty

Cristina Abbey
Front Desk Agent, Four Seasons Hotel
Cristina received unwavering support from every department at the Four Seasons for this nomination. She takes the initiative to jump in and assist in accommodating guests no matter where she happens to be. This includes answering phones when Room Service is busy, covering for colleagues out sick, braiding the hair of a small girl traveling with her father, and going that extra mile, on her own time, to find a replacement for a cherished toy of one of the Four Seasons’ youngest guests.
George Aungminn*
Bellman, Park Hyatt San Francisco

George Aungminn’s commitment to customer service makes miraculous seem like every day. Always ready to, literally, go the extra mile or 100: when a Japanese visitor left behind a piece of luggage in his rush to SFO to get back to Japan, George saved the day by jumping in a cab, having the guest paged, and reuniting guest with luggage. When a guest took ill, George immediately got his prescription filled, purchased some comfort items (with his own money) and made frequent welfare checks on the guest during work and his own time.
Andrew Fraizer
Front Desk Host, Hotel Del Sol

Andrew Fraizer is responsible for making or saving the day of many a traveler. A gift basket was delivered to a guest who had checked-out. Andrew tracked her down in Hong Kong and arranged to have the basket hand-delivered by a co-worker coincidentally traveling to Hong Kong. Andrew surprised a basketball fan, upset that he would miss his team’s game because of a late arrival. Andrew taped the game which was waiting for the guest along with a chilled bottle of Anchor Steam with a note, “Enjoy the game…your buddies at the Del Sol”.
Artie Guidry
Director of Security, Cathedral Hill Hotel

For Artie Guidry, going Beyond the Call of Duty is merely a daily occurrence. After an elderly couple was mugged and their wallets stolen while attending a meeting, but not staying at the Cathedral Hill, Artie took complete charge in calling the police, filing a report, leading the efforts to have their family wire funds to them, cancel credit cards and even taking the couple to the police station to get a copy of the report which allowed the couple to board a flight home without proper ID. And then he bought them lunch! In addition to coordinating the annual Toy Drive, Artie raised $1,000 for two employees from South America, which enabled them to visit home after family members died suddenly.
Arturo Martinez
Bell/Concierge, Villa Florence Hotel

For Artie Guidry, going Beyond the Call of Duty is merely a daily occurrence. After an elderly couple was mugged and their wallets stolen while attending a meeting, but not staying at the Cathedral Hill, Artie took complete charge in calling the police, filing a report, leading the efforts to have their family wire funds to them, cancel credit cards and even taking the couple to the police station to get a copy of the report which allowed the couple to board a flight home without proper ID. And then he bought them lunch! In addition to coordinating the annual Toy Drive, Artie raised $1,000 for two employees from South America, which enabled them to visit home after family members died suddenly.

Rising Star

Angel Aroche
Director of Loss Prevention, Omni San Francisco

Angel Aroche started his career with the Omni San Francisco as a Loss Prevention Officer three years ago, and was promoted to Loss Prevention Director last year. Angel brings unparalleled professionalism to the hotel’s Loss Prevention team. His ethic is to combine the safety and security role with top notch customer service skills. Angel and his team are all over the hotel: helping Housekeeping, giving a hand in Banquets or even checking-in guests. Angel is involved in the hotel community and is very good about finding and sharing security alerts with his staff and his “family” of Loss Prevention Directors in the city, and has a close working relationship with the downtown officers and station captains.
Susy Cai
Conference Services Manager, Mandarin Oriental

Susy Cai began her hospitality career at the Mandarin Oriental as a Reservations Agent in 2000. Her exemplary attention to detail and desire for growth led her to take on a succession of challenging positions as Group Reservations Agent, Business Center Coordinator, Group Sales Coordinator, and finally Conference Services Manager. During this time, Susy has also been obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality from San Francisco State. She represents the cultural diversity of San Francisco with her language skills in English, Chinese, and Spanish. Conscientious, kind, and very hard working, Susy will reach and exceed her goals as she so ably demonstrates each and every day.
Eric Edenfield*
Chief Concierge, Argent Hotel
Eric has been an incredible member of the Argent Hotel team. Only a year after joining the Argent as a Conceirge in 1999 he was promoted to Chief Concierge and since then has has won numerous accolades including presitigious membership to Les Clefs d'Or in 2003. Eric has been instrumental in organizing the Concierge Leadership Conference, the annual Concierge Trade Show and created the Concierge Action and Response Information Network, now being copied by associations around the country.
Carlos Gama
Server, Hilton Fisherman's Wharf

Carlos Gama started at the Hilton Fisherman’s Wharf in the fall of 2004 as a server in the Hilton HHonors area. This was a newly created position which Carlos has turned into a showcase for customer service by working with management to change the entire look and feel of the room, and upgrading the presentations and equipment. He has proven to be an outstanding employee and goes above and beyond that by being the hotel’s ambassador to the City of San Francisco. He makes every effort to personalize the experience of each guest with whom he comes in contact, making sure that their expectations are exceeded. He is a rare find and a rising star.
Kelly Rojas-Bon
Guest Services Supervisor, Omni San Francisco

Kelly Rojas-Bon consistently performs at a five-star level and always exceeds expectations by going the extra distance. She keeps an upbeat, smiling, and positive demeanor whether dealing with a happy guest of a guest challenge. Kelly is known for her “kill ‘em with kindness” performance and always represents her hotel and the hospitality industry as an ambassador of gracious service. Kelly is also impacting hospitality in a big way by mentoring and training the next generation of service providers. Not content with the standard training program, Kelly created her own exhaustive lesson plan and taught an intensive 3-day session for new Concierge staff. Her dedication to the profession is a role model for future leaders.

Unsung Hero

Daisy Contreras
Housekeeping Supervisor, Hotel Carlton

Daisy Contreras had to step in and take on the duties of the Carlton’s Executive Housekeeper, who had fallen ill, just as Joie de Vivre Hospitality was taking over the hotel. Through what could have been a difficult time, Daisy provided her co-workers with the leadership needed to prepare their department for the changes to come during the renovation. She spent her time performing her duties and reassuring co-workers and supervising the thorough cleaning needed before the Carlton closed its doors for five months. With a highly developed sense of cleanliness and pride, Daisy was consistent in reaping countless positive guest comments and her efforts contributed to the Carlton’s consistently high marks in Market Metrix guest comments since reopening. Daisy’s dedication, goodwill and genuine affection for her team have made her a truly valuable asset.
Israel Murillo
Maintenance, Hotel Rex
Israel Murillo has been with the Hotel Rex since April 2000. It is rare to find a gentleman everyone looks up to, who “saves the day” during any situation. Israel is the Hotel Rex’s Superman. He began as a house attendant who immediately stood out as an integral part of the back of the house team, taking every opportunity to flourish and grow through mentorship and training. Promoted to maintenance in 2002, he has excelled as an incredible technician, exceeding all expectations in handling preventative maintenance to keep rooms in top condition. Quick to respond to any project, helping other staff or guests at a moment’s notice, he continues to keep things shining as he shines at everything he does with a quiet, confident, and infectious smile.
Salvador Perez
Night Cleaners Supervisor, Clift Hotel
Salvador Perez is more than an “unsung hero,” he’s really a superhero. Not only is he the ultra-effective and energetic supervisor of the night cleaners, he can be found performing a myriad of duties during his shift. From lending a hand in room service to assisting the Security Department during serious medical emergencies involving guests, he never hesitates to get the job done without being asked. In any situation of a crisis nature, it is a great relief to the rest of the staff to know that Salvador will immediately spring into action and tackle the situation at hand. He is a golden example of what excellent service should be. It is because of Salvador’s efforts and dedication that his co-workers and managers regard him as Clift’s own Superman.
Jose Ramos*
Utility Worker, Hilton Fisherman's Wharf

Jose Ramos stands at the top of a list of truly remarkable team members. As a result of his consistent hard work and efforts he was voted Team Member of the Year 2004 by his hotel. His attention to every detail and conscientious efforts in the Kitchen, team Member Lunchroom or any of the service areas sparkle with the pride of his work. Through much of his efforts, the hotel passed the Quality Assurance Audit, Health Inspections and Steritech Audits with flying colors. He is the Chef’s “go-to” guy in the kitchen and never has to be supervised or watched over because he is always busy scrubbing something. He takes remarkable pride in everything he does. “He is a hero in the shadows of the kitchen.”
David Shortz
Suite Coordinator, Hilton San Francisco

David Shortz has been a star performer in the hospitality industry for over 15 years. He began at the Hilton San Francisco as a Front Desk Agent and quickly moved to Supervisor. He is not Suite Coordinator and knows each of the hotel’s 140+ suites intimately. He is tireless in ensuring that new Sales and Service staff tour a sampling a suites and provides them with information to accurately guide and advise their clients. David also works with each Guest Suite inquiry and monitors all the suites and suite reservations for the busy hotel. Sales, Service, Meeting Planners and more have come to rely on David time and time again. So much of his conscientious effort and dedication is out of view, and most people don’t know how much work it takes. David is always cheerful, bright and a gracious “voice” of the hotel.

Lifetime Achievement - Non-Manager

Loan Co*
Pastry Shop Supervisor, San Francisco Marriott

Loan Co is a legend in her own time at the San Francisco Marriott. Just as her desserts begin, Loan started her culinary career from scratch. From an Assistant Baker’s job at a Sunset District Bakery in 1985, to joining the Marriott in 1989, to silver-medal winner at the Culinary Olympics in Berlin in 2004, Loan’s determination to seek learning opportunities has enabled her to achieve international recognition and compete with the finest Pastry Chefs in the world. Loan was recently selected as Team Captain for the United States Pastry Championship to be held in Las Vegas in July 2005. These many accomplishments are all the more remarkable given Loan’s harrowing escape from Communist Vietnam as a young girl. She immigrated to the United States in 1982. Overcoming many obstacles in her own life, Loan helps many others by volunteering her talents and sweet delights to many local organizations.
Ophie Calica
Sales Assistant, Holiday Inn Golden Gateway

Ophie Calica has been described by her colleagues as a supreme example of a role model for all associates in the hospitality industry. Possessing a great understanding of people, she can easily adapt to the many styles of people she has worked with during her nearly 25 years at the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway. Ophie has immediately befriended and supported each Director of Sales she has supported who, in turn, has declared her to be a major contributor to the sales staff and entire operation. She is always an enthusiastic and positive force and not only contributes to her group but supports all initiatives of the hotel whether it’s training, charitable work or just being there for anyone in the hotel.
Barney Garcia
Doorman, Omni San Francisco

Barney has been dubbed the “Mayor of California Street” by residents and visitors alike. Over 25 years of service in San Francisco Hospitality, at five different hotels, doing everything from busboy to waiter, bartender, bellman, and doorman, has honed Barney’s skills at meeting, greeting and “charming the socks off” visitors and guests. His “old school” work ethic and diplomat’s demeanor and professionalism make Barney a role model for his colleagues. He even helped broker a solution shortly after the hotel opened, establishing work rules between doormen and bellmen which helped improve morale. Whenever new associates are assigned to shadow Barney, they walk away in awe, picking up “tricks of the trade” they could never learn from a manual or a manager.
Zenaida Gutierrez
Room Attendant, Hilton Fisherman's Wharf
Zenaida began her career at the Ramada Hotel in 1978. In April 2000 the hotel converted to a Hilton following a $14 million renovation. Since Zenaida has been at the Hilton Fisherman’s Wharf, she has seen managers and team members come and go. With the Hospitality Industry evolving from year-to-year, she has managed to adapt to the improving changes without missing a beat. The one constant is her dedication in assuring every guest has a memorable and rewarding stay. For 27 years, Zenaida has been making guests feel at home. She provides that extra personal touch when she cleans guests’ rooms, making sure everything is perfect. Zenaida is one reason guests think about the Hilton Fisherman’s Wharf when they decide to return to San Francisco.
Tony (Shiu Chung) Lee
Houseman, Prescott Hotel

Tony Lee is always available to assist with a smile and is extremely thorough with his duties. A well-known presence at the Prescott Hotel for the past 15 years, Tony always recognizes and acknowledges loyal repeat guests. Some of them even mention that they would like to take Tony home with them, as his courteous manner makes them feel that the Prescott is their “home away from home.” Tony is always available to fill in when other employees need to be absent from their scheduled shifts. He provides his department head with the feeling that, no matter what is asked of him, it will be executed perfectly. Tony exhibits the same courtesy and respect to his colleagues as he does to valued guests and is always eager to provide training to new staff members.
Albert Serapio
Bellman/Concierge, Villa Florence

Albert Serapio began his career at the King George Hotel in 1985, and has been a Bellman/Concierge with the Villa Florence since 1989. Described by his colleagues and associates as having made the service at the Villa Florence legendary, Albert exemplifies excellence in customer service. Albert delights at making every guest experience memorable. Furthermore, he is responsible for many return visitors and colleagues alike at the Villa Florence, for that much desired “home away from home” experience travelers are seeking. Admired and respected by every hotel in the Kimpton Group and all around Union Square, Albert Serapio assists the hotel in training new employees. His many colleagues view him as not just an admired co-worker, but as a role model and mentor.

Lifetime Achievement - Manager

Jim Hart
Area Director of Engineering, Hilton Hotels Corporation

Jim Hart has, literally, kept the lights on at the West Coast’s largest hotel for 37 years. He joined the 1200-room Hilton in 1968 as a handyman, replacing light bulbs. After opening both the Le Meridian and Ramada Renaissance properties in San Francisco and gaining even more experience as a Chief, Jim returned to his first home at the Hilton. Since 1988, all innovation, new technologies, and physical improvements have been accomplished under Jim’s leadership. An industry leader and mentor, Jim has been Chairman of the Local 39 Stationary Engineers Joint Apprenticeship Committee since 1988, which oversees 200 apprentices and organizes approximately 60 professional classes a year.
Dan Lewis
Chief Engineer, Clift

Dan Lewis has made the 2-1/2 hour daily commute from Petaluma to the Clift for the past 23 years. Any request is met with a cheery, fun, can-do attitude, and every customer is treated as a family member. Dan’s calm, down-to-earth, attentive demeanor instantly makes you confident that he is a person you can completely rely on in any situation. This was tested one Sunday morning when Dan was awakened at home by the Engineer on Duty informing him that the drainpipes were backing up – fast. By the time the pipes burst, and sewage was spilling into the engine room, Dan was on his way from home, calling all the Engineers and the DPW to come and help out. The problem was finally identified and resolved. Dan has successfully created and implemented a complete safety and emergency program for the Clift, the highest priority being to ensure that all guests and employees are living and working in a safe environment. Dan is also an instructor for the Local 39 Stationary Engineers Union.
John Mazzoni
Managing Director/Area Vice President, Hilton San Francisco

With over 24 years in hospitality, John Mazzoni has risen in the ranks from Assistant Executive Steward at the Fountainbleau Hilton in Miami to Managing Director and Area Vice President of the Hilton San Francisco. Overseeing the day to day operations of the largest hotel on the West Coast is not for the faint of heart. Add to that John’s responsibilities as the Area Vice President overseeing four additional hotels, and you have someone who spends the majority of his time cultivating and maintaining positive relationships. John excels in providing quality Customer Service to guests and Team Members alike. John is a leader of the San Francisco Multi-Employer Group and Board Member of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. With all that he does and has accomplished, the driving force in his life is his family, and he makes sure that there is a balance between his constant need to be challenged and his personal life.
Jan Misch*
General Manager, Best Western Tuscan Inn

In almost 40 years in the hotel industry, Jan Misch has lived for customer service. When not running the hotel, monitoring guest comment cards, shopper reports or challenging her managers to come up with new ways to improve guest satisfaction, she can often be seen outside the front door or in the lobby chatting with guests. The Tuscan Inn has been named “the best hotel at Fisherman’s Wharf” by Frommers every year since 1997, and was also named to the Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List for 2005, both honors chosen by hotel guests. Lovingly nicknamed “Mama Misch” by her employees and colleagues, Jan has taught many of the Kimpton University program classes as well as mentored at least half of the current general managers in the company. Jan has also been on the opening teams of several Kimpton hotels, helping management teams train new employees in the Kimpton Culture. Extremely active in the local hotel community, Jan is currently president of the Fisherman’s Wharf Merchant Association.  
Ondina Quintanilla
Executive Housekeeper, Villa Florence

Throughout Ondina’s Quintanilla’s 20-year career with Kimpton Hotels she has always demonstrated devotion and pride in attending to the comfort and care of her guests. Ondina has touched hundreds of lives and careers in hospitality; she has trained dozens of supervisors and her name in the industry is respected and synonymous with integrity and quality. She has supported and helped the growth of Kimpton Hotels, and by the quality of the product she has her staff trained to deliver, she is able to reinforce the perception of quality that visitors derive from their visits to San Francisco. A role model for more junior members, Ondina is soft spoken yet resourceful and will do what is necessary to achieve her goals. She will always assist her co-workers, and other managers seek her advice and guidance. Involved in several committees aimed at setting standards for Housekeeping, Ondina is an example for other managers on how to progress in an organization by being dedicated and delivering results.
Ingrid Summerfield
Regional Managing Director, Joie de Vivre Hospitality
Since coming to San Francisco nearly 25 years ago, Ingrid Summerfield has an ever-increasing impact on the tourism and hospitality community. Ingrid displays a true commitment to customer service, showing dedication to both internal and external customers. Since joining Joie de Vivre in 1994, Ingrid has been a role model in the organization, whether as a General Manager of one property or in her current role on JdV’s Executive Committee, overseeing seven hotels. She has served on the Union Square Association and the Hotel Council Board since 1998. She accepted Mayor Newsom’s invitation to serve a two-year term on San Francisco’s Local Homeless Coordinating Board. Praised by hospitality industry and civic leaders for her activism and loyalty, Ingrid is described by Joie de Vivre’s founder and Chairman, Chip Conley as “a fabulous mix of entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to the industry, and interest in the local community, salesperson, ambassador, lobbyist and mentor all wrapped up into one.”

Community Spirit

Best Western Tuscan Inn
The Tuscan Inn has been a community supporter since its opening in 1990. Various General Managers and the Tuscan Inn team have always been involved in Fisherman’s Wharf organizations and surrounding neighborhood groups such as Rotary International, Tel-Hi Community Center, North Beach Chamber of Commerce, Hotel Council and SFCVB, to name a few. Community is the pillar and power of a neighborhood’s vitality and the Tuscan Inn embraces this team spirit by supporting and volunteering for Fleet Week Celebration, Neighborhood Clean-Up, Crab Festival, Taxi Cab promotion, Tel Hi Community Thanksgiving and Christmas Wrapping, and Christmas Festival of Lights, among other groups. The Tuscan Inn employees also volunteer with reading classes at Yick Wo Alternative Elementary School, delivering meals for Project Open Hand and singing for residences of nursing homes. The Tuscan Inn Recycling and Green Programs are another aspect of community service and environment-friendly practices. “Community Spirit” is second nature for management and the team at The Tuscan Inn.
Hilton Fisherman's Wharf*
The genuine spirit of giving exists amongst the entire staff of the 234 room Hilton Fisherman’s Wharf. Given its size and with the small amount of monetary means available in a given year, the generosity and commitment to neighborhood and the needs puts this hotel in the major league of community involvement. Some of the many ways in which the staff’s personal commitment of time, effort, and resources are recognized: “Kid’s Wish Network” – helping a terminally ill boy and his family with a dream vacation in San Francisco; Fisherman’s Wharf Spring and Fall Clean-Up Days – painting trash cans, removing graffiti, planting and weeding; SF Deputy Sheriff’s Association, “Every Child Gets a Toy” program – supplying toys and accommodations for staff; Hilton’s “One warm Coat” Program – collecting and distributing over 100 coats to several agencies in the Bay Area; Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center – preparing and serving Thanksgiving Dinner to over 300 low income families and seniors. Numerous other national and local associations are supported, but it is not the list of agencies that is important; it’s the genuine caring spirit of the staff and their selfless contributions of personal time, money, and effort which helps enrich and support the community in which their reside.
Marriott Hotels of San Francisco
“Marriott’s community service is founded on the belief that by actively supporting the neighborhoods and cities where our associates live and work, we build goodwill among our workforce, foster understanding of our company with stakeholders, and create lasting bonds with our neighbors.” Under the guidance and support of General Manager, Kris Gagliardi, The Marriott Hotels of San Francisco Volunteer Council was born in January 2003 to extend the Marriott presence in the community. Marriott’s long standing tradition of community service and support for key initiatives and programs have long benefitted organizations such as: The City’s Great Sweep, the AIDS Walk (Marriott San Francisco is a major sponsor and donor), Salvation Army Food and Toy Drives, Raphael House, March of Dimes Walk America, American Cancer Society, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Walden House, and Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly, to name just a few. In-kind donations benefit hundreds of agencies and programs. Additionally, caring for the environment is a big part of Marriott’s culture. Annual participation in California Coastal Clean-up, on-going involvement in the Hotel/Non-Profit Collaborative and an award-winning recycling and compost program demonstrate Marriott’s commitment to care for our natural surroundings, as well as the needy and disenfranchised.

Innovation

Joie de Vivre Hospitality
After a three-month trial period at only one hotel in the city, high guest demand and satisfaction prompted Joie de Vivre Hospitality to roll out Golden Gate Greeter (www.goldengategreeter.com), a free welcome visitor program for guests to all 17 of its San Francisco hotels. The service helps guests explore and experience a San Francisco neighborhood with a friendly volunteer Golden Gate Greeter. Guests are matched one-on-one with a volunteer based upon their cultural interests – architecture, food, history, music, or nature. “San Franciscans are friendly and proud of their city and visitors enjoy meeting locals, and creating opportunities for the two to interact seemed like the right thing for Joie de Vivre Hospitality and San Francisco’s image as a welcoming city,” said Joie de Vivre founder and CEO, Chip Conley.
Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group*
Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants offer an attractive alternative to major brand companies because of its progressive and creative approach to hospitality on both the hotel and restaurant sides. Creating an environment which enables innovation to flourish, associates are rewarded for taking risks, which is quite evident in the unique packages offered which embrace the culture of the neighborhood, the theme and unique guest services offered at each hotel . Focusing its sales and marketing efforts on the tagline, “Every Hotel Tells a Story,” a sampling of how the programs are: Bowzer Buddy Package – pet-friendly services and packages; Women in Touch – designed to serve the unique wishes and needs of women guests; Hot Mama! Package – makeover and pampering; OM Away from Home – personal yoga class in your own room; Wines of the World Program – introduction to a different winery each month during the hotel’s complimentary evening wine hour.
Orchard Hotel
Orchard Hotel customers have taken an active interest in the hotel’s success by being encouraged to share constructive criticism as the property matures. Seeing their suggestions implemented creates a sense of ownership and illustrates to their clientele that the hotel is listening to their needs and desires. The Orchard Hotel is a boutique property which allows the staff to provide an “up-close and personal” guest experience that provides a “home away from home” atmosphere which builds customer loyalty. Their principles of service are defined by: Human Values – treating customers with recognition, respect, trust, fairness and honesty; Consistency – training and re-training of staff in every department and beyond is crucial; Know your Competition – continually renewing understanding of what is available to the customer; and, Leadership and Anticipating the Future – making an effort to identify trends and uncertainties which may impact business in the years to come. Listening to employees and giving attention to their ideas beyond a suggestion box also provides consistency to the human values approach.