Vail Valley Hospitality Professional of the Year!

Last Friday night, January 31, The Vail Valley Partnership held their annual Success Awards Gala.  It’s the same event at which the Antlers won the Business of the Year Award in 2003 and the Green Business of the Year in 2009.  This year, our very own Magdalena King was nominated for Hospitality Professional of the Year.  Out of several dozen nominees, Magda was then chosen as one of three finalists going into the awards ceremony.  Two nights ago at the Vilar Center, we erupted in cheers when her name was called from the stage as the Vail Valley Hospitality Professional of 2014.

Magda award

We could simply not be any more proud of Magda.  It’s so nice to know that others recognized what we already knew … that nobody could possibly be more deserving of this recognition. I could go on and on (and would be happy to).  However, let me just say that in addition to the countless examples of her professionalism (and everything that entails), Magda constantly inspires me and everyone else around her, to be more professional as well.

Magda & Cristina

It was quite fitting that upon receiving her award, she offered a brief “acceptance speech” which was both gracious and thoughtful.  Almost as many people (probably a hundred) congratulated her on her “award winning” public comments, as on the actual award itself.  It was great!

Shame on us for one thing … we didn’t think to get a good picture of Magda in her time of grandeur.  I took this one of her and her sister Cristina (on the left) with my phone.  It will have to do for now, but that’s a shame because there is also a great story behind her beautiful dress.

At the party afterward when Jill Lammers, the Vice-President of the Partnership, complimented Magda on that dress, I had to jump in and point out that Magda told me she had designed it herself, back when she lived in Ecuador.  Jill’s reaction was immediate, humorous and perfect … “Shut UP!” she exclaimed, “You win this award AND you designed your own dress!  You’re killing me.”

All in all, thanks to Magdalena, the whole evening made all of us at the Antlers feel super proud.

Rob

“As the Antlers Turn….” scene 12

Who is Marie Roberts?      

In scene 11, I had mentioned an item I bid on at the Vail Valley Partnership Awards Banquet.  It was a silent auction and I never bid on anything for several reasons.  First, I don’t need a ski vacation package and second, I’m a very frugal (cheap) individual.  But I did fall in love with one particular item that was innocently lined up with all the other items.      

As I walked by the tables looking at the donated vacations, massages, chiropractic visits, CME rides, dinners at various restaurants, hot air balloon rides and so on, I stopped and began to stare.  I was frozen to the floor in my borrowed Italian loafers and my eyes focused on the only item I would ever bid on.       

I looked at my friend and said “I’ve got to have it.”      

Just a couple of regular joes at the golf course

A Fifty Dollar bill was a lot of money in '67.

She said “It must be a guy thing.”       

The clipboard that held the sheet to offer a bid on this treasure simply stated “Minimum Bid – $250.  (increments of $25 please).       

I thought to myself and then explained to my friend  “I’m going to scare the hell out of any one else that would even consider bidding on this.”      

“What’s your plan” she asked.       

“I’ve got to get rid of the high rollers” I explained.  “I’m going to bump this bid to $275.  That will put people in their seats.”     

She looked at me stupefied, and to kind to say what she was thinking.  She did, however, say “I don’t think it will hold up.”     

I then explained “This money is coming from my new skis fund.  It’s all I have.”     

She then said “If you plan on buying new skis for $250, you better take a time machine back to 1967.”    

“Your brutal sarcasm is beginning to test me.  Why don’t you go and get us a couple of martinis.  I have some paper work to fill out.”    

I then scribbled in my bid and printed my name legibly on the clipboard.  It was 6:30 PM.   

I went back to our table.  It was time to eat.  Then it was time to check the bid sheet.  No more names. Then it was time to dance.  Then it was time to check the bid sheet.  No more names.  My plan was working.  I did scare the hell out of the high rollers.  It was 8:30 and the bidding closes down at 9:00.  I announce to everyone at our table that I wasn’t getting new skis this season.  I started to cry.   

I looked at Chris and said “I need new skis. I don’t need a picture of Arnie and Jack.”   

Everyone at the table overheard my conversation with Chris and no one had any pity for me.  I reasoned with myself and told the group “I need to give something  to my son when I die.  This will be perfect.  I’m going to buy it like a man.  Lets dance.”  

It was now 9:30 PM and went back to check the bid sheet.  Low and Behold!  Another name and a $300 bid.  It was Marie Roberts.  I looked at my friend and said “I don’t believe this.  She’s probably a trust-funder. Lets dance.”  

My friend said “I saw this Marie when she collected the item.  She was not a pretty women.”  I was puzzeled by that remark.  

The hours passed and the night was through.  I quietly walked home and thought about the only thing I ever wanted to give my son when I die.  How disappointed he will be.  

I managed to get a hold of this picture of Marie.  If you see her, could you tell her how disappointed I am.  

Let the truth be told…….When I returned home that evening I opened my door and threw my keys on the kitchen counter. Right beside the picture of Arnie and Jack. 

I, again, was frozen to the floor.  A Post-It Note was on the picture and it simply said “Thanks for being you.”  

Marie Roberts

NO MARIE….THANKS FOR BEING YOU 

A Field Report from the Sustainable Sleuth

I just returned from a vacation to Disneyland, and while we were in Anaheim we stayed at a hotel owned by a large, well-known chain. I was curious about this corporate hotel’s eco-friendly initiatives – both from a personal standpoint and professionally, as I do public relations work for the Antlers at Vail. The Green Star-rated Antlers has been committed to environmentally conscious practices long before ‘green’ was cool, and was named the 2009 ‘Green Business of the Year’ by the Vail Valley Partnership Success Awards.

Fulfilling a lifelong dream of being an Important Undercover Corporate Spy, I donned my disguise (in this case, dark glasses and Mickey Mouse ears) and informally conducted my own eco-research. The first green evidence I discovered in our hotel room was a typical card in the bathroom affirming the hotel’s dedication to saving water; it instructed us to re-hang towels if we wanted to reuse them. Another card by the bed advised us that the hotel only changes sheets every third day, unless we set the card on the pillow indicating that we wanted the sheets changed. I also discovered Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) in some of the light fixtures and a low-consumption toilet (which, unfortunately, catapulted water out of the bowl when it flushed – but that’s another story) in the bathroom. In seeming conflict with the alleged dedication to water saving, the shower was fitted with a regular flow showerhead and I noticed that housekeeping ran the dishwasher when they cleaned our room even though it only contained four items.

At the hotel’s breakfast buffet, Styrofoam was in use everywhere – dishes, bowls and cups. Boy, was it tough to drink coffee from a Styrofoam cup knowing the dangers – but such is the depth of my caffeine addiction. There were no recycling bins in the breakfast area, and I didn’t see any in the room, lobby or public areas; in fact, each afternoon the housekeepers stacked up so many huge bags of trash along one of the outdoor paths we had to walk a different route.

Like the Wendy’s commercial says, “You know when it’s real.” If you’re trying to live in a more environmentally conscious way, your radar can pretty quickly pick up when a business is mainly adopting eco-friendly practices that happen to save money. Visiting this chain hotel made me even prouder of the Antlers’ authentic and long-standing green practices, because many of its eco-friendly programs actually cost the company money and additional staff time.

For instance, the Antlers recycles 15 tons of waste annually. Along with an in-office recycling system, the property makes it easy for guests to recycle by putting different colored trash bags in the rooms for glass, plastic and aluminum recyclables as well as collection bins on each floor of the hotel. Since 1988, the Antlers staff has adopted a two-mile stretch along the I-70 corridor near the top of Vail Pass, volunteering their time to pick up trash from the area.

The Antlers Vail covers the entire cost of bus passes for its employees who opt to take the bus rather than driving to work. The company also made a significant capital investment in environmentally friendly in-house laundry equipment in 2007. The ozone washing machine allows the hotel to use cooler water temperatures and save energy, while the phosphate-free detergent is biodegradable and far less polluting than typical phosphoric acid-based cleaning products.

If you’d like to know more about the Antlers green programs, click here. Meanwhile, rest assured that I’ll continue to be ever watchful and vigilant in my corporate eco-espionage; my new secret code name is Antlers Agent 99.

Eliza Cross, WordenGroup Public Relations

P.S. Leave a comment if you’re old enough to remember which television show featured Agent 99!