This Week’s Comings & Goings

Comings & goings

Choice Hotels International, Inc., has appointed Sally Bartas to the position of chief talent and culture officer. In this newly created role, Bartas will work closely with the company’s leaders to expand talent programs, HR strategies, and more.

Island Hospitality Management announced that Kate Bleakley has been promoted to vice president of operations, WaterWalk division. Prior to joining Island, Bleakley held multiple positions with Millennium Hotels & Resorts.

Virgin Hotels welcomed Martin Sinclair as corporate director of operations, North America. Based in Miami, Sinclair will be responsible for managing guest experience as well as creating strategies for the brand.

JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group announced Ketan Patel has joined the firm as a managing director in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. In addition, Phil White will be joining JLL’s New York office as a vice president.


BWH Hotel Group announced that its Board of Directors has elected Danny Lafayette as Board chairman for 2023. Lafayette, who previously served as vice chairman, brings over 40 years of Best Western ownership to his role as chairman.

Hilton announced the appointment of John Kukreja as general manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton Abilene Downtown Convention Center. Most recently, Kukreja served as general manager of The Oasis at Death Valley Resort.

Fairmont Dallas welcomed David Sher as general manager. Sher is returning to the property after previously serving as director of operations from 2015-2020. In between, he was general manager for Fairmont Pittsburgh.

Smyth Tribeca announced Brianna Birtles has been appointed as director of sales and marketing. In her new role, Birtles will oversee the hotel’s sales and marketing efforts and will look to drive new business opportunities and revenue growth.

Hyatt Place Chelsea announced two new appointments to its managerial team. Hilton Willoughby joins the team as director of food and beverage, and Michael Newman is area director of sales and marketing.

Daxton Hotel announced the appointment of Cosimo Bruno as beverage curator. In this role, Bruno will oversee all aspects of creating the hotel’s wine and cocktail program, including its restaurant Madam and Geode Bar and Lounge.

Grand Hyatt Vail has appointed Miki Hirakawa as spa director. Prior to her role at Grand Hyatt Vail, Hirakawa spend several years as spa director across Hyatt properties both in the United States and internationally.

Detroit Foundation Hotel has welcomed three new hires to its executive team: James Dannecker, general manager; Jaimie Skriba, director of lifestyle; and Laia Whitfield, director of sales.

Durango Casino & Resort announced its executive team: David Horn, vice president and general manager; Kai Speth, vice president of hospitality, and Daniel Ye, executive chef.

Salamander Hotels & Resorts announced an expansion of its leisure sales team: Carolyn Rebeck Allen is vice president of leisure sales for Salamander Hotels & Resorts; Carly Cox is area director of leisure sales for Aurora Anguilla Golf Resort & Spa and Half Moon Resort; Olivia Gawronski is travel industry sales manager for Hotel Bennett; and Margaret Thwaites is area director of leisure sales for Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, and Salamander Washington DC.

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