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Preferred Hotel Group Announces Winners Of Seventh Giftts Initiative

November 10, 2014

Program Recognizes Hotels and Resorts that Embrace Community and Social Responsibility

CHICAGO – November 10, 2014 – Preferred Hotel Group™ is pleased to announce the winners of its 2014 GIFTTS (Great Initiatives for Today’s [Tomorrow’s] Society) program – Regal Kowloon; The Houstonian Hotel, Club, and Spa; Hotel Nikko San Francisco; Inn by the Sea; and Porta Antigua Hotel. These properties were presented with the coveted “Pineapple Award” for taking the meaning of genuine hospitality beyond their front doors and showcasing an outstanding commitment to philanthropy, sustainability, education, and community. The 2014 GIFTTS awards ceremony took place last week during Preferred Hotel Group’s global conference, which was held at The Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, California.

“It is imperative for everyone involved in the travel process – from hoteliers to their guests – to proactively embrace community and social responsibility, as these collective actions foster change and bring great value to our global communities,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, President & CEO of Preferred Hotel Group. “We are proud to recognize these inspiring member hotels for their significant acts of selfless giving and for proving that every step can have a big impact on the hospitality industry’s sustainable footprint.”

Below are highlights of the winning programs:

  • Pineapple Award Overall Winner – Regal Kowloon Hotel (Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
    With a theme of “Love Our Community,” Regal Kowloon Hotel makes corporate social responsibility a group effort, encouraging guests, business partners, associates, friends, and families to participate in its ongoing campaigns. Over the past 12 months, the hotel has set an honorable example by executing an array of initiatives, such as donating US$10,000 to the Hong Kong Federation of Handicapped Youth and more than 240 toys to the Salvation Army; inviting 50 students from a local secondary school to gain valuable career advice from executives during a hotel site tour; and helping disabled local residents participate in events such as the Hong Kong Flower Show and a sightseeing visit to Lantau Island. The hotel continued to implement a series of eco-friendly measures, which include a property-wide program to recycle materials from notepads to glass bottles; the establishment of an in-house organic herb garden; and efforts to reduce its carbon footprint such as the use of environmentally friendly paint and Indoor Air Quality certification.
  • Philanthropy Winner – The Houstonian Hotel, Club, and Spa (Texas, USA)
    Local residents and businesses would all agree that The Houstonian Hotel, Club, and Spa is a beloved “fairy godmother” to the area’s less fortunate residents. The hotel selflessly provides monetary support for causes that range from animal rescue to veteran affairs. Since January 2013, the hotel has donated more than $183,750 worth of “Bed & Breakfast Getaways” packages as auction prizes to benefit local and national non-profit organizations. The hotel also underwrote all expenses for a variety of local events, which ranged from the Houston Food Bank’s annual Recipe for Hope Luncheon to the annual “Cycle for Life” event by the Periwinkle Foundation. In addition to supporting the local community monetarily, the hotel’s staff also donated its time to host a “Glam Camp” for 20 boys and girls from Shiner’s Hospital for Children, treating the teenagers to a full day of pampering at Trellis Spa, complete with haircuts, makeup, nail treatments, and more.
  • Sustainability Winner – Inn by the Sea (Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA)
    At the cornerstone of the SILVER LEED®-certified Inn by the Sea is a commitment to environmental responsibility, which the resort showcases through several year-round initiatives: Captivating Cuisine, which supports local ecosystems by only serving underutilized and abundant local seafood and fresh produce, meat, and poultry from local farms on the hotel’s dining menus; Green by Design, which represents the hotel’s energy-efficient design and construction elements that range from recycled sheet rock walls to preferred parking for hybrid vehicles; Habitat Restoration, which helps restore the habitat for endangered New England Cottontail Rabbits at Crescent Beach State Park; and Indigenous Landscape, which provides gardens for endangered butterflies and other wildlife. Inn by the Sea also engages guests in its sustainable efforts by hosting a regular series of fun and educational classes.
  • Education Winner – Porta Antigua Hotel (La Antigua, Guatemala)
    Embracing the power of education, Porta Antigua Hotel launched a program called “Cooking for Hope” to help develop the community and offset its social and health problems by teaching residents valuable skills in the art of running an important business – the kitchen. Managed in coordination with a local non-profit, the hotel ran its first series in April 2013, inviting students from a neighboring fishing village to learn how to prepare, cook, and present local and international cuisine for both individual dinners and large-scale events such as food festivals. The first class of 20 students graduated in December 2013, and many of them have already secured work with hotels and restaurants across the city. Several other groups of students have participated in the program since then, and the hotel plans to continue the “Cooking for Hope” program for several years to come.
  • Community Service Leader – Hotel Nikko San Francisco (California, USA)
    A true champion and active advocate of its local community, Hotel Nikko San Francisco dedicated more than 1,200 hours over a 12-month period to assist charitable organizations in maintaining the vitality of the surrounding neighborhood. From rounding up books, blankets, and stuffed animals to comfort homeless children through Project Night Night to singing Christmas carols in Union Square in support of the Salvation Army’s holiday charity drive to hosting fun events such as pie throwing contests (with members of the hotel’s executive committee being the targets!) to raise funds for the American Heart Association, team members at Hotel Nikko San Francisco continuously opened their arms and hearts to support San Franciscans in need.

As part of GIFTTS, Preferred Hotel Group has fostered a partnership with Clean the World, a non-profit organization that recycles and redistributes partially used bars of hotel soap and shampoo bottles to third world countries. So far this year, more than 87,000lbs of soap and amenity bottles have been donated by 61 participating hotels within the Preferred Hotel Group portfolio, resulting in the distribution of more than 265,226 bars of soap and the recycling of nearly 30,000lbs of plastic. Preferred Hotel Group would like to recognize The Peninsula Chicago (Illinois, USA), The Heathman Hotel (Portland, Oregon, USA), and The Villas of Grand Cypress (Orlando, Florida, USA) for making the largest per-room donations thus far this year.

For additional details on each property’s winning submission, please e-mail

About Preferred Hotel Group™
Preferred Hotel Group represents more than 650 of the finest hotels, resorts, and serviced residences in the world. Preferred Hotel Group’s brands include Preferred Hotels® & Resorts, Summit Hotels & Resorts™, Sterling Hotels™, Summit Serviced Residences™, Sterling Design, and Preferred Boutique™. Travelers gain valuable benefits through branded programs iPrefer™, Preferred Family, Preferred Pride, Preferred Golf™, and Preferred Residences™. For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook and Twitter.

Caroline Michaud
Director, Public Relations
Tel: +1 312 542 9218

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