The Grand Island Holiday Inn Resort and Conference Center is in the middle of significant upgrades in both personnel and accommodations while it sorts out its bottom line in receivership.
The hotel announced that Michele Hudson has been hired as the new general manager. A graduate of Niagara University, Hudson said she has come "full circle." Two years after she graduated from NU, she worked at the Grand Island Holiday Inn, and she has returned after several managerial jobs across the nation.
"I actually worked here as the assistant front desk manager back in ‘97 for a year," she said. Though she noted Whitehaven Road has been built up since she was here last, she said the commitment from hotel staff has remained the same. Hudson said from check in to check out, the new management is committed to higher service levels.
"The associates are great. It's the best bunch of associates I've ever worked with, really positive and willing to do anything," she said. "I couldn't ask for a better staff."
After managerial stops in Denver, Lansing, Mich., Valdosta, Ga., East Hartford, Conn., and most recently at a Crowne Plaza in Cleveland, the Rochester native said she's glad to be working closer to home.
The 263-room hotel is the homeport of the Grand Lady dinner cruise ship. The hotel features 26,000 square feet of space, including a fitness center with workout classes that boasts 900 members.
GF Management, a hospitality management and development company, has announced that its affiliated company GINY Associates LLC has been selected to take over management of the Holiday Inn Grand Island.
With more than 95 hospitality assets under its management, GF Management "specializes in long-term management contracts as well as receivership assignments for a variety of private, institutional and banking clients," according to the company.
Despite the negative publicity of having its finances noted on local business news pages, the hotel has remained open and is investing in its future. Hudson said the hotel is putting money into the new corporate-wide Holiday Inn relaunch that includes new lighting, signage, bedding standards and decor. The company continues to employ about 125 local workers.
The hotel's Dale Van Alstine said the issues are more perception than reality; something the management is dealing with head-on.
"We've had calls here asking us questions, and we've been very honest in answering those questions and just confirming with folks that, yes, we are open, and we're going to continue to stay open," he said. "We've been here 38 years and I do expect to be here another 38 years."