Two Starwood Associates Receive Top National Awards

Moana Surfrider Resort
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Moana Surfrider Resort

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) honored two employees of the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, in Atlanta today for their exceptional accomplishments, services and leadership in the lodging industry. Nancy Gorospe, fountain dispenser, and Brian Hunnings, director of food and beverage, were recognized respectively as Outstanding Lodging Employee and Manager of the Year in the Large Property Category of 301 rooms or more.

Gorospe and Hunnings received this national recognition during the AH&LA Summer Summit Stars of the Industry Luncheon, which honored outstanding lodging employees and programs from across the country. In January, Gorospe was named Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year and Hunnings was named Manager of the Year at the Na Poe Pa‘ahana awards luncheon of the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association.


“We are extremely proud of Nancy and Brian’s recognition both locally and nationally, said Keith Vieira, senior vice president and director of operations for Starwood in Hawaii and French Polynesia. “This award is not only a testament to their individual exceptional work, but to the overall standard of service exemplified by our associates at Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii.”

“Brian and Nancy continue to carry on the Hawaiian hospitality legacy established at the Moana Surfrider more than 11 decades ago, maintaining the commitment to share Hawaii’s deep-rooted culture and heritage with generations of returning guests,” said Erik Berger, general manager of the Moana Surfrider. “Brian and Nancy go above and beyond every time – we are truly blessed to have such amazing people working with us.”

This year marks Gorospe’s 22nd anniversary at the Moana, and through the years she has developed a reputation for going the extra mile to ensure that guests have an enjoyable stay. She routinely contacts returning guests in advance to make sure all their needs are accommodated, which has developed into long-lasting relationships with many guests. For the past 21 years, Phil and Mary Merber have become unofficial ambassadors for the resort, spending up to six months a year living at the hotel and citing Gorospe as the sole reason for their repeat visits. Recently, using her relationship with hotel guests, Gorospe researched and test marketed a new ice cream for the pool area that has since generated more than $5,000 in additional monthly revenue for the hotel.

Hunnings has been known throughout his 21 years of hospitality experience as a visionary leader, a hard and passionate worker who is dedicated to his staff and colleagues. He frequently tells his staff “any day you don’t learn something new is a wasted opportunity,” challenging them to grow outside their comfort levels in preparation for professional advancement. Hunnings’ passion for local farmers prompted him to head a crusade and make it a priority for the hotel to use local products to not only support local businesses, but to provide guests with an authentic cultural experience. Today the property uses more than 65 percent of locally grown products in its menus.

“Nancy and Brian are truly deserving of the recognition of all their hard work and accomplishments,” said Mufi Hannemann, president of the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association. “Both are exemplary representatives of the hard-working men and women who make Hawaii one of world’s most sought-after vacation destinations.”

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii

With 11 properties across the diverse Hawaiian Islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii offers the best hotel destinations to celebrate romance, reconnect with family, focus on business or launch an adventure. Located on or just footsteps away from the Islands’ best beaches, Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii is a collection of iconic and historic hotels and resorts – properties with expansive and breathtaking backdrops, innovative guest programming and luxurious amenities representing internationally renowned hotel brands from Sheraton, Westin, Luxury Collection and St. Regis. For more information about Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii, please call (866) 716-8140 or visit

Submitted by Starwood