The AAA Four Diamond Atlantic Hotel & Spa, Fort Lauderdale's premier luxurious boutique hotel, is pleased to announce that it has promoted Heidi Dennis to the position of General Manager. Ms. Dennis originally joined The Atlantic Hotel & Spa in 2013 as Director of Operations. In her new role as General Manager, she will be responsible for overseeing and directing all of The Atlantic's day-to-day operations, budget planning and management, events and guest relations.
"I am pleased to announce the promotion of Heidi to General Manager of The Atlantic Hotel & Spa," said Rob Kaliner, owner of The Atlantic. "She instinctively goes above and beyond to ensure guest satisfaction and has worked diligently during the past year at The Atlantic, making this advancement well-deserved."
A few Q&A's with Heidi Dennis, general manager of The Atlantic Hotel & Spa
Q: You were named general manager June 4. How were your first days?
I've been at the hotel for just over a year as director of operations, so it was an easy transition. I know the property, I know the team. The hardest part has been the number of people on the outside who want to touch base with me right away -- and moving my office.
Q: What did you do before the Atlantic? I was assistant general manager and food and beverage director at the Marriott Coral Springs.
Q: What are your goals for the coming year?
Since the new owners (the hotel was bought in December 2012 by Robert Kaliner and other investors) came in, we've been trying to get a handle on operational methods used in the past -- for example, we're upgrading our accounting and just got a new software program. We already have a phenomenal team in place, the moral is good and we are taking great care of our guests.
Q: You have four diamonds from AAA. What does that mean, and how do you keep it up?
There is a set criteria for different amenities -- what you have to offer. There are very strict guidelines for four diamond status -- one small example, you have to offer luxury shampoo, and our linens are upscale. Our smallest room is 620 square feet, and the average (of other hotels) is about 300 square feet. When you walk into a four-diamond hotel, you feel a sense of luxury. You get inspected every year, including rooms and the entire property.
Q: How do you keep that up?
It's a lot of work, and it takes really good in-house talent to maintain it all the time. We have a saying around here: We are going to do whatever it takes for our guests.
Q: Are you breaking a glass ceiling? Is it unusual for a woman to be GM of a luxury hotel?
For years and years, it was definitely a man's world. Interestingly, just now we actually have women GMs in four top hotels on Fort Lauderdale Beach. It's the first time and a new trend.
Q: You will likely be asked to support community causes. What are some that interest you?
I want to get involved in efforts to improve the beach area. I also lost my best friend to breast cancer, so our hotel will likely be involved in that. I'll see what matters to my team and to the community.
Q: What is on your iPod?
Honestly, it's funny, I'm a big country music fan. I never was before -- I liked Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, but when my children were teenagers, they got me hooked on country.
Ms. Dennis is a client service professional and has worked within the food & beverage, hospitality, broadcasting and public service industries for over 30 years. She has held numerous leadership positions within these industries, spanning across the United States, the Pacific Islands and throughout Southeast Asia. Prior to joining The Atlantic Hotel & Spa, she served for two years as Assistant General Manager of the Marriott Coral Springs at Heron Bay. Ms. Dennis has also served as a Front Office Manager, Rooms Manager and F&B Director with Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriott franchises and several other independent properties.
In addition to her hospitality leadership roles within the United States, Ms. Dennis has held esteemed positions internationally. On the tropical Pacific island of Saipan, she served as the Chairman of the American Red Cross of the Mariana Islands, General Manager of the largest radio station in the islands as well as acting as an on-air personality on her own morning radio show. She has directed the development and operation of several golf resorts in Vietnam and has also served as Events Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City. During her time with the American Chamber of Commerce she facilitated charitable efforts of American donors including Federal Express, PepsiCo, Heart to Heart Foundation, Eli Lilly and Bank of America.