This article was originally published on TimesFreePress.com.
A Chattanooga hotel that recently won honors for outstanding reviews on travel websites has been crowned the best of its own brand for 2014.
Embassy Suites Chattanooga-Hamilton Place won “Hotel of the Year,” meaning it outranked all other 217 Embassy Suites on the globe. Owned by Hilton Worldwide, Embassy Suites has locations in the United States, Canada and Latin America.
Excellent marks for specific criteria pushed the Shallowford Road hotel to the top, a big honor considering the enterprise is less than two years old, said Paul Mezick, the hotel’s manager.
The specifics that Hilton considered for giving accolades include: Hilton-administered guest reviews, quality-assurance inspections, sales goals, amenities and successful sustainability efforts.
The hotel, which opened in June 2013, had a 73 percent occupancy rate for 2014, compared with 54 percent during the six months it was open in 2013. This year, occupancy was at nearly 68 percent for the first two full months of 2015, compared with 62 percent for the first two months of 2014, Mezick said.
The Hamilton Place location also is involved in the community, supporting the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. Once a year during Hilton’s global week of service, one-third to one-half of staff and all managers offer manpower to the charity, Mezick said. His hotel also is a sponsor of Ronald McDonald House Charities, cooking meals for inhabitants.
Other touches unique to the hotel probably helped too, said Mezick and Ken DeFoor of DeFoor Brothers Development, which developed the hotel in partnership with Legacy Property Group LLC.
“We do more … than the average hotel,” DeFoor said.
MoonPies, a local treat, get placed on nightstands. Another touch: Staff wash the windshields of guests’ vehicles, leaving under wipers a note that reads, “Your windshield has been cleaned because you deserve the best view of Chattanooga! We look forward to seeing you again soon.” There’s also free bottled water available at check-in and Peet’s coffee in the lobby.
“We took our story a little bit further,” said Mezick, who personally responds to every piece of feedback from guests on travel website TripAdvisor. Last summer, the 203-room hotel was among the top 200 hotels for Expedia’s annual ranking of the best-reviewed hotels worldwide, 290,000 of them.
Embassy Suites Chattanooga-Hamilton Place has 40 full-time employees and contracts with a company to provide housekeeping labor, which employs about 20 people full-time, Mezick said.