- Tell us about yourself and how you got into the hotel industry.
As a Western New Yorker and after graduating as a history major from Alfred University, I became involved with smaller properties until I acquired in 1983, a Sheraton hotel close to Niagara Falls. Since then, I have owned, developed and managed over 80 hotels. To say it’s been the greatest adventure is an understatement.
- Shaner Hotels recently received recognition from Conde Nast Traveler. Tell us about that and what it means.
Three of our hotels were among the winners in the magazine’s 2017 Readers Choice Awards. Playa Largo Resort & Spa was voted the #1 resort in the Florida Keys. This property debuted just last year as the first full-service hotel to open in the Upper Keys in 21 years. It’s an amazing destination, especially for South Floridians who are just a short drive away from Key Largo. The Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa in Barga, Italy ranked #8 in all of Europe. It’s located in Tuscany’s Serchio Valley, in a very remote and authentic part of the country, with some of the region’s most beautiful views. Our French Leave Resort in Eleuthera, home to The Bahamas’ pink sand beaches, was voted the #2 hotel in its category. We are really proud of this recognition, which is a direct result of our unique hotel and resort products and experiences, and our constant efforts to provide the best service to our customers in every market. The awards are a reflection of the great Shaner teams that operate our hotels.
- What are some of the hotels in your portfolio and what is in the pipeline for this year?
We have properties in fourteen states within the US and beyond, spanning a number of brands such as Marriott, Intercontinental, Hilton and Choice Hotels, as well as independent properties. Locally in Florida, we will be opening an Autograph Collection hotel in Sarasota and a Fairfield Inn in Daytona Beach. We will also be opening other hotels in Pennsylvania and Ohio. On an international level, we are expanding our French Leave Resort in Eleuthera by adding two brand new villas, bringing the total count to 14, and opening another Autograph Collection hotel in the heart of Lucca, Italy.
- What is the most rewarding part of being in the hospitality industry?
Over the past 35 years, being in the hospitality industry has been rewarding in meeting and learning something new from people all over the world. It’s also very gratifying to be able to have an impact on local communities through job creation and charitable initiatives.
- Why did you choose to call Boca Raton home?
Since moving to Boca eight years ago, it has given me the ability to expand our southwestern portfolio and enjoy the quality of life that Boca presents, which includes perfect weather for tennis, biking and fishing.