Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Crystal awards for
those who serve

For a concierge it's all about customer service. Last night, however, it was all about serving concierges with a gala dinner and awards for work well done as visitor-book publisher Guest Informant hosted its eighth annual Aloha Spirit Awards at Chai's Island Bistro at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

Sheraton Waikiki Hotel Chief Concierge Jane Bailon won the overall award, the "Guest Informant 2002 Aloha Spirit Award," as well as the "Greatest Length of Service" award, honoring her 31 years with the hotel. Her first day as Social Director was the day it opened in 1971. Since then her nominators say she's never been late to work.

Among her contributions was discreet assistance from Bailon to help a hapless husband purchase -- unmentionables -- for his wife after their luggage had been lost.

"Big Island's Best" winner Wesley Martinez of the Hilton Waikoloa Village was honored for going out of his way and using his own time and sometimes his own money to fulfill guest requests; he shops for Hawaiian souvenirs, birthday cakes, holiday and farewell gifts for guests.

"Kauai's Best" winner Tehane Perry of the Embassy Vacation Resort was called a "leader" by her nominators who credited her with the ability to spearhead programs and a willingness to go beyond the call of duty in providing services, including private hula lessons and lei for a luau.

"Oahu's Best" winner Sandi Minamishin of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider was honored for professional development through activity with the Concierge Association of Hawaii and continued membership in the invitation-only Les Clefs d'Or concierge organization; she is one of only five members in Waikiki.

The "Most Creative Solution" award was presented to Mark Omori of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa for his engagement of a salvage company to find the engagement ring of a newlywed bride lost during a swim in the ocean. The ring was recovered before the sun set on the day.

The "Most Knowledgeable" winner was Denise Kanda of the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island. She was cited by her nominators as being "a shining star," providing guests with special knowledge of the island and the hotel, for anticipating visitor needs and exceeding their expectations.

The concierges from Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island won crystal awards created by Murata Creative Inc. and Tiffany & Co. Winning counterparts on Maui, Molokai and Lanai will be honored during an event on Maui in June.

Pitching into the prize pool were corporate sponsors of the event, including luxury retailers and visitor industry companies such as Albert Dunhill, Benihana, Hilo Hattie, DFS Galleria, Louis Vuitton and Burberry of London.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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