Carlos J. Rodriguez Sr. Receives 2020 Hilton Lifetime Achievement Award


MIAMI—Driftwood Capital, a vertically integrated commercial real estate investment, development, and lending platform specializing in hospitality, announces its Founder and CEO Carlos J. Rodriguez Sr. has received the 2020 Hilton Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his contributions and achievements with Hilton and the hospitality industry as a whole.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition by Hilton, an organization that has been an important partner throughout my career,” said Rodriguez. “We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Chris Nassetta, Bill Fortier, Matt Wehling, and the entire Hilton team—I am proud to call them friends—and we have built, acquired, or managed many Hilton properties over the years. Hilton embodies all the values I care for and is a company with a vision, trajectory, and reputation that is second to none. To be recognized by Hilton with this award is a true honor for me as well the entire Driftwood team.”

The annual Hilton Legacy Awards program celebrates owners and development partners in the Americas for their contributions toward brand and development efforts. The awards recognize the passion, creativity, and innovative spirit of Hilton’s partners who are committed to projects that meet or exceed brand standards and have a positive impact on communities around the world. The leadership of Hilton’s development and brand teams select the winners based on strict criteria including, but not limited to, hotel quality and commitment to the guest experience.

Rodriguez is the founder and CEO of Driftwood Capital, which allows investors to co-invest in a cash-flowing institutional hotel property post-closing. He is also the former chairman and CEO of Cardel Hotels, a group of affiliated hotel management, ownership, and development companies based in Miami, Florida. In 2003, Cardel merged with Driftwood Hospitality Management (DHM), and Rodriguez helped grow that company into one of the largest hotel operators in the country. Today, DHM is an award-winning operator that employs over 5,000 associates and manages more than 15,000 rooms.


Rodriguez holds a BA in Finance from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He also serves on the Board of Advisors of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Advisory Board of the University of Miami Master of Real Estate Development and Urbanism Program. He is also a member of Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Golden Angels and Baptist Health’s Founder’s Society.

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