Kimpton Cottonwood, other hotels announce appointments

Hotel Management company Blue Sky Hospitality Solutions named Mark Kulekci GM of the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, N.Y. Photo credit: Blue Sky Hospitality Solutions

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa announced that Doug Ridge has been appointed as the new general manager for the 1,002-room resort. Ridge joined the resort team in March 2020 after previously serving as the general manager for Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. Ridge has more than 35 years in the hospitality industry, having served in nearly all hotel and resort departments.

Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel, a 205-room historic hotel is operated by Pivot Hotels & Resorts and is scheduled to open in August in Omaha’s Blackstone District, appointed Mara Bouvier to GM and James Schelnick to director of sales & marketing. Bouvier brings more than 20 years of experience working in boutique hotels in destinations such as Antigua; Cape Cod, Mass.; and Turks and Caicos. She began her career in hospitality as a sommelier. Most recently, Bouvier served as general manager at Sunrise Springs Resort in Santa Fe, N.M. Schelnick has held leadership positions at hotels in a number of cities. He has been leading the sales efforts for Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel since June 2019. As director of sales & marketing, he will continue to oversee all sales and marketing efforts.

Hotel Management company Blue Sky Hospitality Solutions named Mark Kulekci GM of the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, N.Y. The 615-room hotel is the largest in Blue Sky’s portfolio. Kulekci has more than 30 years of hotel experience in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean and South America. His expertise includes 15 years of general management and five years of multiproperty management over upscale brands comprising Sheraton, Hilton, Radisson, Renaissance, Crowne Plaza and Marriott.

Enchantment Group, a family-owned and operated hospitality management company, announced the appointment of Evan Vargas as vice president of human resources. In this role, Vargas will plan, develop, coordinate and implement all human resources policies at Enchantment Group and provide guidance to leaders at the company’s four resorts. Vargas most recently was managing director of human resources at The Little Nell Hotel Group, a hospitality management company in Aspen, Colo.

Donna Tackitt is the new director of sales and marketing at Cotton Court Hotel in Lubbock, Texas. Tackitt brings many years’ hospitality-industry experience to her new position, having worked with Marriott Hotels in Houston, the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio and Lubbock Plaza Hotel and Barcelona Court (now Embassy Suites) in Lubbock. Most recently, Tackitt was a retail coverage merchandiser for Acosta Sales & Marketing, a retail sales and marketing agency.

Brenton Hotel, a new 57-room luxury boutique hotel in Newport, R.I., named Kevin Wood executive chef and Emily Brakenhoff food and beverage director. With nearly 35 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Wood previously was executive chef at Newport’s White Horse Tavern. He also has held executive chef positions at Le Bistro-Newport and Café Zelda in Newport. Brakenhoff brings nearly 10 years of front-of-house restaurant operations and guest relations expertise to her new position. Before joining the Brenton, she was restaurant manager at Newport Vineyards. Before Newport Vineyards, Brakenhoff was restaurant manager at Gurneys Newport Resort & Marina. 

Marcus Hotels & Resorts announced that Carl Dees will assume additional duties as general manager of Hilton Madison (Wis.) Monona Terrace, while continuing his role as vice president of operations at Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Dees joined Marcus Hotels in 2018 as vice president of operations. Before that, Dees served as vice president of operations for third-party hotel management company Crescent Hotels & Resorts. His 35-year hospitality career also includes positions with HEI Hotels & Resorts, Interstate Hotels & Resorts and Richfield Hospitality.

Ambassador Chicago, a Joie de Vivre Hotel, appointed Jenna Haymond director of sales and marketing. Haymond brings over a decade of hotel experience and expertise in boutique hospitality to her new role. Before joining Ambassador Chicago, Haymond worked for Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago-Downtown, starting as a group sales manager in 2010 and most recently holding the position of area director of sales. Haymond also held sales positions with the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott St. Charles (Ill.) and the Herrington Inn and Spa in Geneva, Ill. 

Hyatt Residences Club Carmel and Highlands Inn, which are located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., named Rance Ryan GM. Ryan has worked for Marriott International and Marriott Vacations Worldwide for 34 years. He served as director of finance at several hotels and resorts in the U.S. before transferring to Europe in 1996. After leading several Marriott hotels in the finance and operations areas, Ryan served as regional vice president, responsible for all operational aspects of MVW resorts in Europe and Asia. Ryan returned to the United States, managing a major Las Vegas resort before transferring to Carmel.