1st Annual Hotel Hero Awards

Cathedral Hill

Winners are noted with an asterisk (*).

Beyond the Call of Duty

Martha Andrade
Room Attendant, Renaissance Parc 55
Martha’s consistent desire to go “beyond the call of duty” is evidenced by frequent guest responses, which equally go beyond the call. It is not uncommon for guests to write long letters, explaining why Martha is more than the guests had ever expected from their room attendant. Her unselfishness is typified by an example where she found some rare coins in a handbag that had been thrown away and returned them to their rightful owner.
Ana Mendoza*
Room Cleaner, Donatello
Ana is the definition of a selfless person. She will always do more than is required to make guests feel appreciated and welcome. The most poignant example was when the husband of a disabled guest in a wheelchair was hospitalized. Anna took it upon herself to look after the disabled guest, clothing, bathing, and assisting the guest for three consecutive days as if she was the person’s nurse as well as the Room Cleaner. She did all of this without sacrificing and of her normal duties at the hotel.
Joel Sale
Bartender, Palace Hotel
Joel is the type of person who will go beyond the call to do what he thinks is right be it in his role as a Bartender at Maxfield’s or raising $16,000 for the annual AIDS Ride on behalf of the Palace Hotel. A clear example of his going beyond the call was when he found a wallet in a taxi that happened to belong to a Palace guest. He not only contacted the guest, but refused to let the guest come and collect it from him. Instead, he drove all the way back to the Palace immediately to return it to the guest.
Donald Seidel
Front Desk Supervisor, Canterbury Hotel
The positive feedback that is received from guests about Donald is immeasurable. He consistently goes beyond the call of duty. A clear example is when a Japanese guest who did not speak English was having a heart attack. Don rushed to the room and called an AT&T operator to translate and determine what was wrong. As soon as he discovered what was wrong, Don called 911 and probably saved the guest’s life.
Steve Shively
Concierge, Argent Hotel
Steve is always looking out for hotel guests, whether it is at work or in his free time. The best example of Steve’s kindness was when an elderly guest who was on her first trip since her husband passed away. Steve discovered that she was an avid Red Sox fan. Although the A’s game was sold out, Steve gave up one of his season tickets and took the guest along to the game on his day off.

Rising Star

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 Concierge in 1999 he was promoted to Chief Concierge and since then he has won numerous accolades including prestigious membership to Les Clef’s 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.
Jeanne Hizon
Front Desk Agent, Best Western Tuscan Inn Fisherman's Wharf
Jeanne has only been in the hotel industry for just under a year, but she has already made a significant impact at the Tuscan Inn. Jeanne is always looking to take on extra responsibility and most recently took a leadership role in company-wide roll out of the Kimpton in Touch loyalty program. Jeanne’s ambition and drive set to make her a future leader in the San Francisco hotel community.
Michael Maher*
Revenue Manager, Hotel Nikko San Francisco
New Zealander Michael Maher has advanced in leaps and bounds since his beginnings as a bellman at the Montcalm Hotel in London. Since transferring to the Hotel Nikko San Francisco in 1999, he has progressed from Guest Relations Manager to Reservations Manager for the hotel. In February 2004 the Hotel Nikko Executive Committee named Michael the 2003 Manager of the Year.
Susan Efendi
Assistant Director of Services, Omni San Francisco
Susan has come a very long way in a short time from her position as a trainee at the Marina Mandarin in Singapore in 1995-1996. Since joining the Omni San Francisco in January 2001, she has progressed from Guest Services Representative through Assistant Front Office Manager to Assistant Director of Housekeeping Services. Susan is committed to training her co-workers and is always looking for innovative ways to improve the customer experience at the Omni.
Trina Ackelman
Sales Account Director, Palace Hotel
Since 1995, Trina has been progressing quickly in the hotel industry from her first days as a Front Desk Agent at the Dubai Hotel in Switzerland, through her time as a Public Relations Intern at the Sheraton in Waikiki to her recent promotion to Sales Account Director at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. In 2003 she had the highest number of bookings of the Palace Hotel Sales Team.

Unsung Hero

Allan Mosqueda
House Person, Four Seasons Hotel
Nicknamed “The Mosquito” Allan is neither annoying nor blood sucking. However, he is always in motion and has developed a reputation for being the go-to guy in housekeeping. Allan is happy to help wherever he is needed and goes out of his way to ensure everything is perfect for the guests even if they may never be aware he has even been there. Allan is one of the main reasons the hotel can keep the highest standards. If the guests knew of everything Allan does they would surely sing his praises.
Francisco Acosta
Convention Services Houseperson, Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf
Francisco has been with the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf since its opening in 1990. Since then not a week has gone by without a client mentioning the outstanding Convention Services Team and Francisco is a clear leader in that team. Francisco is consistently detailed and committed to making sure every client’s set up is perfect and is more than willing to be flexible when the inevitable last minute changes happen.
Mi Ho Yao*
Room Attendant, Renaissance Parc 55
Mi Ho’s work ethic equates to five-star service, showing 100% dedication to the Parc 55 and its guests. Mi Ho’s work area is vast, including the cleanliness of the four street blocks around the hotel and the public restrooms. On a busy day, the 1,000 people who use these restrooms benefit from Mi Ho’s cleaning and restocking without even knowing it. This is just one example of Mi Ho’s dedication. On top of that, she takes on many other roles from Room Attendant to basket maker. Mi Ho is a true Unsung Hero.
Mike Wisham
Facilities Engineer, Hotel Triton
Mike will do whatever it takes to help out the guests and fellow co-workers. He thrives on helping others rather than the praise he deserves but so rarely gets directly. The clearest example is when he helped retrieve a sentimental diamond stud back for a guest who had dropped it down the sink. Despite having to take apart the whole sink, he left no trace and simply put the earring on the bedside table for the guest who had no idea of the effort it took to get the stud back.
Yu Chun Wong
Room Attendant, Hotel Nikko San Francisco
Yu Chun has been a room attendant in the San Francisco hotel community for 19 years. Her most recent 16 years have been spent at the Hotel Nikko where she has not only kept the highest standard in the VIP rooms she is responsible for, but has also been a constant source of inspiration and training for her co-workers and peers at other San Francisco based hotels. In 2002 Yu Chun was named Nikko Hotelier of the Year.

Lifetime Achievement (Manager)

Alma Beasenburg
Director of Services, Omni San Francisco

Alma has been in the hotel industry for 24 years, with the last 17 of them in San Francisco. In all the hotels she has worked she has made an incredible impact on the hotel and the colleagues to which she is a role model. Not only has she earned a reputation for keeping the ceaning hotel her GM has ever seen, but she motivates and coaches her staff to do the same.
Gerard Turner
Chief Engineer, Palace Hotel

During his 31 years at the Palace Hotel, Gerard has worked for six General Managers who have invariably found him an incredible asset to the Palace. From his intricate knowledge of teh old 1906 boiler room to installing the latest high tech equipment and overseeing the intricacies of the 1989 renovation and re-opening, it is hard to imagine where the Palace Hotel would be without Gerard. On top of all this he is an excellent coach to junior members of his team and other engineers across the city.
Jeanne Gafar
Executive Housekeeper, Renaissance Parc 55

Jeanne has been an important figure in the San Francisco hotel community since her beginning as an intern at the Stanford Court. For the last 19 years she has shown dedication to customer service at the Parc 55 and has proved an inspiration for both her co-workers and associates. On top of her commitment to the Parc 55, Jeanne takes every opportunity to contribute to the broader San Francisco hotel community.
Mark Everton
Financial Controller and Director of Room Operations, Renaissance Parc 55

After 24 years of service in the hotel industry, Mark is still dedicated to every aspect of customer service. From working alongside the valets in the parking lot to preparing monthly reports for the hotel, Mark makes a tremendous impact on every aspect of hotel operations. Above all of this, Mark’s biggest asset is his ability to coach, inspire, and motivate not only his direct reports, but employees from every department in the hotel.
Pat Sorber*
General Manager, Hilton Fisherman's Wharf

Pat has made a significant impact on the hotel communities of the various cities she had worked in throughout her 23-year dedication to the hotel industry. Pat is not only an inspiration at the Hilton Fisherman’s Wharf; she is also a board member at the SFCVB, an Executive Board Member of the Hotel Council, and co-chair of the Marketing Committee for the Fisherman’s Wharf Association among many other roles within the industry.

Lifetime Achievement (Non-Manager)

Alicia Carian
Front Desk Agent, Hilton Fisherman's Wharf
Alicia began at the Hilton Fisherman’s Wharf (formerly Ramada Plaza) over 29 years ago. Alicia “wows” guests and team members alike with her helpfulness and dedication to customer service. Alicia was recently selected out of Flagstone’s 5,000 employees and honored as Team Member of the Year, and received the Associate of the Year accolade in 2001. Her commitment and ability has been a source of inspiration in the broader Fisherman’s Wharf hotel community.
Balda Maldonado
Club Level Breakfast Server, Prescott
In her 15 years at the Prescott Hotel, Balda has made herself an indispensable member of the team. Most recently as Club Level Breakfast Server, Balda is the reason many guests return not only to the Prescott, but to San Francisco as a whole. Balda receives an incredible number of comments and letters from guests who are quick to notice when Balda is on vacation. Balda’s dedication to the San Francisco hotel community is second to none.
Barney Garcia
Doorman, Omni San Francisco
Barney Garcia is a 30-year veteran Doorman in the hospitality industry. He is recognized as “one of a kind” and has the ability to make our guests feel as if they are a part of the family. Barney continues to do his job with enthusiasm and expertise. His passion for hospitality is contagious and his dedication to the success of our team is evident in his feedback to improve our level of service. Not only does Barney uphold our high standards, he is a second pair of eyes for the managers and recognizes opportunities for training our staff.
Tom Cheung*
Bellman, Mandarin Oriental
Tom began at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong as a Bellman 25 years ago, and has been a pivotal figure at the San Francisco Mandarin since 1987. One of Tom’s incredible facets is his encyclopedic memory of guests. Tom was the recipient of the Mobil 5-Star award, one of only two employees in the US to receive such an accolade. Tom is also an incredible coach, so much so that every new member of the guest services team is scheduled to spend at least eight hours with Tom when they join.

Tom Sweeney
Doorman, Sir Francis Drake
A San Francisco icon and goodwill ambassador, Tom Sweeney has been Sir Francis Drake’s legendary doorman for 31 years.  He has shaken the hand of five presidents and countless other dignitaries and luminaries, but he extends the same VIP service to each and every guest and passerby. He has been photographed almost as much as the Golden Gate Bridge, yet he’s always eager to take a photo with a tourist. Tom lets one and all know how much he loves San Francisco, his hotel and his job, and that he wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Tom says that the secret to his success is staying calm, and “that you have to love dealing with the public.”

Community Spirit

The Argent Hotel
The Argent is truly dedicated to the community and environment of San Francisco. Every employee who joins the Argent is trained on the hotel’s recycling policies which have resulted in the Argent recycling almost 50,000 pounds a month or almost 48% of all waste. To save energy, the hotel has introduced variable frequency drive motors, improved insulation, fitted energy efficient fluorescent bulbs wherever possible, and introduced a hot water reclamation system in the laundry department to name but a few initiatives. On top of this, the Argent donated almost 37,000 pounds of food (over 700 pounds per week) to Food Runners to sustain the community.
Best Western - Tuscan Inn
Giving back to the community is a way of life at the Tuscan Inn and comes all the way from the top. Once a year, the Kimpton Group celebrates Bill Kimpton’s life by hosting Kimpton Karma Week. This week involves going out into the community to volunteer time and resources. The Tuscan Inn has helped with reading classes at the Yick Wo elementary school, delivered meals for Project Open Hand, and helps annually with the planning of Fleet Week. In 2002 the Tuscan Inn helped the Telegraph Hill community organize a Thanksgiving dinner for over 350 residents of Telegraph Hill.
Club Donatello
In 2003, despite testing times, the Club Donatello donated over $43,000 to various community organizations including: United Cerebral Palsy, Newman Community Centre, USF Women’s Soccer Club, American Red Cross, El Dorado Women’s Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Alzheimer’s Association, and Widowed Persons to name but a few. Club Donatello is clearly committed to the local community in San Francisco as well as the Greater Bay Area in general.
Hilton Union Square*
Community Involvement is clearly a priority for the Hilton San Francisco, especially given its location near the North of Market area (Tenderloin). Senior Management at the hotel have made a commitment to area service agencies to improve the quality of life for area residences, which include 5,000 school aged children and nearly 3,000 frail elders. Since the introduction of the “Hotel with a Heart” community volunteering program in 1995, over 7,000 hours of community service have been performed by Hilton employees. The list of local organizations that have benefited from Hilton’s volunteer hours, cash and in kind donations is extensive and the Hilton is recognized throughout the local area as a hotel which truly cares about the local community’s welfare.
The Phoenix Hotel
The vibrant and creative spirit of the Phoenix and the indomitable spirit of the Tenderloin, a neighborhood in transition, sustain each other for a stronger community. A mural at the Phoenix proclaims that, “music breaks barriers and speaks languages everyone can understand.” The Phoenix not only has a “Celebrity Pool Toss” to raise money for the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, but also sponsors a neighborhood clean-a-thon and has sponsored the Tenderloin Olympics. The Phoenix is a true stakeholder and contributor to the local community.

Innovation

Hotel Triton
The Hotel Triton is clearly one of the most innovative hotels in San Francisco. It is considered standard to find a Bloody Mary, an Alka Seltzer and a feather boa waiting for guests in the lobby after their hectic Saturday night. The Brookstone “Chill Out” room features massage chairs, relaxing music and air purifiers. The celebrity-decorated suites feature celebrities from Santana and Jerry Garcia to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Pets are welcomed by a Triton pet bed and a selection of Triton pet treats. On top of all these features, guests can revel in the fact that the entire hotel has been cleaned using biodegradable, environmentally friendly and non-toxic cleaning supplies and participates in an extensive recycling program.
Joie de Vivre*
Joie de Vivre Hospitality’s innovation in the face of increasing online hotel room purchases is a truly remarkable one. While booking online makes a lot of sense for rental cars and airline tickets, it provides challenges for choosing a hotel room, which is a much more personalized product. Yvette, Hotel Matchmaker is an online hotel-matching engine designed to match people with their ideal hotel. After a simple personality test, Yvette, Hotel Matchmaker serves up five hotels, two locales, and six things to do in the Bay Area that match the personality of the consumer. This is the important first stage in the complete Joie de Vivre experience for which the company won the 2001 “Experience Stager of the Year” award in Las Vegas.
Juliana Hotel
The Juliana has always been a pet friendly hotel with special pet beds and treats provided for guests’ pets to make them feel welcome. In the last six months, however, the Juliana has taken pet friendliness to a whole new level by adopting a 15 month old Boxer as a mascot. Nya, as she is known, is at the hotel four days a week and has proved an instant hit with guests who miss their pets at home or for pets that need somebody to play with. Nya now has her own brand of dog treats with her photo and the hotel’s story on the packaging.
Orchard Hotel
The Orchard used incredible business innovation to survive the near impossible economic times in the San Francisco hotel community in 2001 and 2002. The Orchard negotiated favorable terms with its business partners and re-invested the proceeds in providing improved services to hotel guests. This innovation resulted in an incredible increase in hotel occupancy and proved to be a win-win outcome for the Orchard Hotel, its guests, and its business partners.
Serrano Hotel
It was no accident that SF Weekly voted the Serrano Hotel “Best Boutique Hotel (with a theme)” for 2003. The theme, which flows through the entire hotel, is “Fun and Games”. The first element of this theme is the check-in challenge where guests are invited to challenge “the house” at a hand of blackjack dealt by the staff. If they win, guests receive free upgrades, discounts at the restaurant, or even free parking. If they lose, they are invited to make a donation to the local SPCA. On top of this, the Serrano has over 50 board games in its Game Library that are available to the guests. For the more spiritual guest there is a yoga basket including a mat, block and strap plus 24-hour on-screen instruction.