Kimptons, other hotels name GMs in April

A number of hotels have named new leaders in April:

Adero Scottsdale Resort

In Arizona, Michael Valkos is the new GM of Adero Scottsdale Resort, an Autograph Collection hotel. Valkos brings more than 18 years of hospitality experience to his new role, including Moxy general manager at Twenty Four Seven Hotels and other leadership positions at Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Evolution Hospitality. 

Valkos received a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management from Montclair State University in addition to a bachelor’s in business administration and marketing.

W Miami

The W Miami named Gonzalo Maggi Bescos as the new GM. Maggi has worked in the luxury hospitality industry for more than 20 years in leadership roles across multiple continents, companies and Marriott International brands. He joins W Miami from Aloft Madrid Gran Via, where he kicked off a 280-room expansion that is still underway. Maggi has also worked for Le Méridien, Marriott Vacation Club, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Radisson Hotels. 

Henderson Beach Resort

John Carns is the new GM at Henderson Beach Resort in Destin, Fla. With more than two decades of hospitality industry experience, Carns will oversee daily operations of the beach resort. 

Carns joins the Henderson from Saddlebrook Resort, where he was the general manager. Carns also was GM at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort and Waldorf Astoria Orlando at Bonnet Creek. He held leadership roles at Ritz Carlton Naples and New Orleans Marriott Hotel.

Kimpton Brice

Jason Gifford is the new GM at the 145-room Kimpton Brice in the historic landmark district of Savannah, Ga. Gifford joins The Kimpton Brice following a nearly two-year stint as GM at The National Hotel Oklahoma City and, before that, at The Last Hotel St. Louis. He has held executive-level positions like director of rooms and director of housekeeping at The Stella Hotel in Byron, Texas; the Warwick Hotel Denver; and the Viceroy Snowmass in Aspen, Colo. He started out as a midnight bellman in 1992, then moved up to guest service manager, sales manager and director of front office operations.   

Timbers Kauai at Hōkūala

On Hawaii's Kauai island, Chris Gampon is the new GM at Timbers Kauai at Hōkūala. Gampon's career in property management spans over 30 years. In Hawaii, he has held general manager positions at Kona Bali Kai, Banyan Harbor Resort, The Point at Poʻipu, Kiahuna Plantation Resort and Aston Hotels, Kauai properties.

In addition to his professional experience, Gampon has also been involved in community organizations, holding past positions as chairman of the board for the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, chairman for the Chamber Government Affairs Committee and president of the Poipu Beach Resort Association. He currently serves as a board member of the Royal Coconut Coast Resort Association and board director for Kauai Hospice.

AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria and Residence Inn by Marriott Dallas by the Galleria 

Pacific Hospitality Group hired Kellie Womack as the dual GM for the AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria and Residence Inn by Marriott Dallas by the Galleria. Womack has more than 15 years of leadership experience in the hospitality industry, including her most recent position as senior operations manager at Sonder in Dallas. Womack has also been GM for other North Texas properties, including the AC Hotel & Residence Inn by Marriott Dallas/Downtown, Homewood Suites by Hilton Dallas/Downtown and Hilton Garden Inn Frisco. 

Westin Atlanta Gwinnett

Concord Hospitality appointed Mark Castriota as GM of the upcoming The Westin Atlanta Gwinnett on the campus of the Gas South District in Gwinnett County, Ga. The hotel is slated to open in spring 2024. 

Castriota has more than 25 years of hospitality management experience and will work closely with Concord Hospitality’s leadership team to assemble and train a team that will be responsible for the hotel’s grand opening. 

Before joining the team at Concord Hospitality, Mark was managing director of the JW Marriott Savannah (Ga.) Plant Riverside District where he oversaw the hotel’s grand opening in 2021. Before that, he held positions at Loews Hotel Atlanta, Renaissance Atlanta Midtown and Atlanta Marriott Marquis. 

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

In Florida, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa named John Allan the new general manager. Before joining Little Palm Island, Allan most recently was managing director of the Westin Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Beach Resort and the Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort where he directed the efforts to earn more than $80 million in combined revenue. He also managed Little Palm Island’s sister property, Solé Miami, a Noble House Resort, in which he assembled an executive committee through performance transitions after a multimillion-dollar resort renovation and reposition. He spent more than 15 years with Hilton at four South Florida properties, including GM of the flagship Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. 

Conrad Washington, D.C.

Adam Heffron is the new GM at the 360-room Conrad Washington, D.C., joining the property after opening the 305-room Conrad Los Angeles hotel last year. As a hospitality veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Heffron has held a variety of senior leadership roles with Hilton, including GM of the Waldorf Astoria Park City and hotel manager of the Conrad New York Downtown.

Heffron holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Towson University and a certificate in sdvanced hospitality revenue management from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. 

Thompson Playa del Carmen

Matías Tugores is the new GM at the Thompson Playa del Carmen in Mexico. With more than 22 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Tugores has worked with hotels in Spain, England and Morocco. His career has focused on lifestyle properties and five-star hotels in the ultra-luxury category.

In his new role, his strategy will focus on initiatives that will “further enrich the experience of all guests.”

Kimpton Gray Hotel

In Chicago, the Kimpton Gray Hotel appointed Lisa Ares the new GM. Ares has more than 22 years of experience working in hotels. She worked as a room attendant at a ski resort in Whistler, British Columbia, while training to become a competitive snowboarder. She remained in hospitality and worked in guest services, operations and housekeeping.  

In 1999, Ares began her career at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts as a night manager before joining Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2001 where she was assistant front office manager at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. In 2004, she became director of guest services at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver. In 2007, Ares rejoined the Fairmont team to serve as front office manager at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver before transitioning to director of rooms at Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta, in 2009. During her almost nine-year tenure at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Ares also was director of rooms at Fairmont Royal York in Toronto and director of operations at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Fairmont San Jose, Calif. In 2016, Ares became resident manager at JW Marriott Austin, Texas, before joining the IHG team in 2017 as executive assistant manager at InterContinental Boston.

In 2019, Ares assumed her first GM position at the Crowne Plaza Milwaukee West. The following year, she was GM at Sonesta Milwaukee West and in 2021 at Sonesta Denver Downtown. Most recently, Ares was part of the team at InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile as hotel manager.

Beverly Hilton

The 566-room Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., named David Ecija the new GM. With more than 20 years of experience, Ecija joins The Beverly Hilton from Hilton West Palm Beach and The Ray Hotel, Delray Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton in Florida, where he was cluster general manager. 

Ecija also held management and hotel operations positions with Hilton throughout Europe, including GM roles at Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa in Portugal, Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona in Spain, Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok and DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok in Thailand and Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi in Brazil.