Security 4
Together Everyone Achieves More
The Denihan Security Team’s saying is that “if you see something, say something,” which often is sent to serve as a reminder from those charged with the task to maintain the safety of our associates and properties to never take any instance or occurrence that we might come across for granted. At a recent Security Team Meeting the saying was used in a slightly different way; to recognize the effort and outstanding Teamwork shown by the staff on a day-to-day basis. Recognition was given in the form of awards for past Values Champions and Nominees, for excellent work under difficult measures, for great leadership, shift reporting and communications. They each have proven to not only be a great asset to the Security Team but the Denihan Team at large

Boston Strong

If you have been following you already know that Affinia reached out to support our fellow Stash partner and good friend The Lenox Hotel in Boston. We did this by introducing our Affinia customers to the Lenox and asking them to support the hotel them after they closed for over a week during the terror that occurred on Marathon Monday.

Last week an article was written in Lodging Magazine which quotes our very own Tom Botts. Click Here to give it a read and share your thoughts with the rest of the chitchat community.

Teamwork in Action every day

…by Laura Slater, AHRD.

As part of my job at The James Chicago, I am used to reading Market Metrix customer feedback and Trip Advisor comments to update our customer service training. Through those comments, I’m aware how great and guest centric our team is.

However, even after 7 years of working  here, the team never stops surprising me.

I had a chance to experience the hotel as a guest this past week when my family came to visit me from Argentina. On Wednesday night we had dinner at David Burke’s Primehouse. As my family is chatting and bragging about the excellent food, I decided to observe the team as they work. Needless to say I find myself amazed about the teamwork that is displayed by everybody. Every Server, Runner, Busser, Sommelier and Manager owned the floor. Nobody left tables unattended despite how busy it was. Matt, our Sommelier, for example took orders at our table to help the Servers and to avoid any waiting period. Everybody created this seamless experience unseen at other places. Every guest at every table seemed to be enjoying themselves and this created a great upbeat atmosphere.

My family had a great time and was amazed by the great and genuine service we had received. Attached is a little drawing that my 5 year old niece did during her stay at The James.

I felt like any mother feels when somebody praises her kids! I have such a great sense of pride for being part of this amazing team.

From Ernie, 5 years old.

From Ernie, 5 years old.

Early Mother’s Day Gifts at the Affinia Dumont!

Early Mother's Day Gifts at the Affinia Dumont!

Associate Satisfaction is a huge effort at the Affinia Dumont and ensuring our team has the tools and supplies needed to do their job efficiently is key! New vacuums were a major need at the Dumont for the room attendants, so what better way to surprise them than to give out 20 new vacuums all at the same time right before mother’s day! They were even wrapped in pretty bows! The new vacuum makes their job alot easier. One room attendant’s comments were “Just like a new BMW, the vacuum glides smoothly. I love it!”

Great News to Share!

By Lisa Zandee
CN Hot List

You might have already heard but just in case you haven’t, I wanted to share with the denihanchitchat community.

Our newest member of the Denihan family, The James Royal Palm, was selected by the editors of Conde Nast Traveler for the world’s best new hotels and spas of 2013. We were honored to have made the Hot List in both the US and the UK!

Congrats to everyone who contributed to this exciting accomplishment. The very first time a James has been awarded a CNT Hot Hotel in both editions! Click here to read more about it.

Please share your favorite hotel with us or which of the Hot List Hotels look most enticing to you.


A special note from Joseph Kelly, General Manager at the Affinia Manhattan:

One of our Denihan values is TEAMWORK. I can tell you that there was no better example of TEAMWORK than the efforts made by all of you this past 6 days. IFJAG is an important piece of business for us and the organizers were amazed at the professionalism and never say NO attitude of our team. They are committed to returning next year and hopefully for many years to come. Thank you for all your hard work this past week. This is truly a talented and dedicated team we have here and it shows that we are capable of doing great things to take care of our guests.



New York Times | Corner Office

Yesterday, Brooke Denihan Barrett was featured in the popular Sunday New York Times column, ‘Corner Office’.

Click here to read the article if you didn’t catch it in the paper yesterday.

Please share any comments you have on the write up.

Denihan in the News

By Lisa Zandee

Part of the Brand Management teams job is to make sure that each of our Hotels and key leaders are recognized in relevant publications which will help us grow as a company, get customers in the door, meet and retain great partners and most importantly create some good old fashion Buzz. This past Friday you received an email called Denihan in the News which covered the company’s best media coverage from the week prior.


This is the first time this information has been shared and celebrated across Denihan and ALL hotels. We know that each one of you adds to the overall buzz with Word of Mouth marketing… So we promise you that moving forward you will receive Denihan in the News or see it printed in your back of house so that each one of you knows what the media is saying about our company. Do you have a favorite media placement from last week?

Race for the Cure

The James Chicago Team races for the Cure

On today’s chilly Mother’s Day morning, The James Chicago joined 10,000 other supporters in the Race for the Cure. Team members and family walked and ran any distance from 1 mile to 10k. Great Job and thank you for honoring mum and helping the community!

Race for the Cure 2013

Stash Showdown

Stash Showdown

Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? This month is Stash Hotel Rewards Showdown… Just a reminder to those Hotel Teams that are participating each of you can win a serious Stash of points or who doesn’t love some good old fashion bragging rights!

As of now the results are extraordinary:
Liaison Capitol Hill is blowing it out of the water. They have almost met the total enrollments they achieved in the whole of April and we’re only in the 6th day of the contest.

James Chicago has come to life with over 4x the enrollments to date compared to the whole of April.

Affinia Manhattan is at almost 2x their April pacing.

Unfortunately, some of the hotels are not pacing as well- You know who you are and its still early enough in the competition to WIN.

Operation Smile Partnership

Logo of OS

Written by Oneca Hitchman from Affinia Shelburne

Based on media coverage, personal interest, and Affinia Hotel’s initial work with Operation Smile, I had a general idea of the organization’s effective efforts toward the healing of cleft lip, cleft palate, and other health-effecting facial deformities. Despite previous knowledge, I felt an intense sense of anew despondency upon viewing the Denihan-created, Operation Smile presentation, shown to all Affinia associates. Babies and young children malnourished, often ostracized, and in both physical and mental pain based on a condition they could not help, felt philosophically wrong. Upon learning that $240 pays for a single surgery, thereby rectifying the physical ailment and changing a life, I became excited to help and proud that Denihan chose to collectively support the organization’s important mission.

As such, when I learned that Joshua, a courageous little boy who underwent over 30 surgeries via the compassionate care of Operation Smile, would be staying at Affinia Shelburne, I was overjoyed! The Shelburne Team pulled out all the stops to make sure Joshua was comfortable by providing a hearty, happy welcome, communicating consistently, as well as assigning (and triple checking) a beautiful room for the family. We were able to gift Joshua with an Xbox, Games, beverages, a ‘Welcome Joshua’ cake and a personal note from our General Manager as a surprise upon arrival. He was thrilled! Though Joshua had a great time staying with us, the truth is, his joyful innocence, honorable experience, and rambunctious nature, added new life both to the Shelburne, and to me, personally.


It was an honor and privilege to attend Operation Smile’s 30th gala last week at Cipriani Wall Street. Though the ambience was beautiful and the food delicious, the environment was no match for the beautiful, shinning, children (all apart of the Operation Smile movement) who performed and enjoyed the evening’s festivities. Joshua was there! When I saw him he gave me a big hug and his grandma, Candee, said that her family was having a fantastic time at the Shelburne. Indeed, to me, the most memorable experience of the night was seeing Joshua on stage thanking all of those who helped make the charity possible. Grandma Candee spoke about how the charity forever changed her grandson’s life and Joshua presented Doctor Bill and Cathy McGee with a check for $1,000 that he raised by hosting several garage sales throughout the year. It was an amazing, tear-inducing, moment that I will never forget. In Joshua’s public moment of thanks, regarding an organization that helped to change his life forever, he reached out to ensure this possibility for other children all over the world. It is safe to say that this has been an incredible experience thus far and we have only just begun! In the early stages of our company’s initiative Joshua has taught me so much about the power of generosity in spirit. A truly amazing lesson from a very special little boy ? EVENT OS Group

Why I Don’t Have to Work!

My wife  looks at me with such curiosity most mornings. She is amazed that I am in such a good mood considering it is still dark out when I’m getting ready for work.  But if you love your job, does it really count as work? Confucius said something along the lines of “if you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”  I can honestly say that’s how I feel, and I know how incredibly fortunate I am. (Just don’t let payroll know, because I do still want the paycheck – kids have to eat and such…)

I think it is because this job combines all of my passions. I grew up in my family’s food and catering business, and then spent the next two decades in real estate finance with a broad exposure to hotels. The past 10 years I’ve loved learning and becoming involved in the hotel operations side with Denihan. Now as we grow our portfolio, I get to integrate all those disciplines into one job.

It is the perfect combination. I get to focus on hotel operations, real estate acquisitions and restaurants and bars. It is everything I love, and I get to do it with over 2,000 other people as passionate as I am about our company and what we do. I get to see you in action at 14 of the greatest hotels and some of the most amazing bars and restaurants in the world. Every day is fast paced and hectic, but it is always interesting.

That is why I love what I do, and it is why I wanted to start this blog. We are doing so many great things these days and have such momentum to share with you all. This blog will be a great way to keep everyone informed of what is going on inside our offices, at our properties throughout New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Miami and what is coming next.

Every day I am inspired by our teams, who have come to define the “Art of Hospitality”.  This is more than just an expression for us—it is the way we approach the business. Everywhere I go I hear such great feedback on all the work each of you are doing. I want to share those accolades with everyone.

I hope you enjoy your job as much as I do – you will if you put your heart into it. The days can be hard and sometimes longer than I would  like, but this is what I love to do. I would not trade it.

Please check out this space every now and then, and if the mood strikes, send me some feedback or an idea for another post. Or stop by and tell me in person. My door is always open.

Affinia Gardens – Teamwork Values Champion

Affinia Gardens - Teamwork Values Champion

At Affinia Gardens, our team is beyond excited about Denihan’s 50th Year Celebration! Our deep rooted history and passion for hospitality couldn’t be stronger. The team here is truly like a family, and it always feels like a second home.

Annibal Caballero, our painter, is pictured here sporting his stylish 50th Anniversary hat while ensuring that our hotel looks tip top for our guests. “AC” is our Values Champion winner for February and was recognized for his incredible teamwork.

Town Hall at Affinia Manhattan

photo (5)

Over 300 Denihan associates have attended… Have you?

There is still time to attend our Town Hall Meetings! We have 2 more sessions scheduled at the Affinia Manhattan for your to participate in. One is being held today, May 10th, at 2pm, and we have another scheduled on Monday, May 13th at 9am. Check your schedules as we would love to see you there!

We also have a need for a Videographer who is available Monday morning to assist us in recording our Town Hall Meeting. So if you have hidden skills in this area – please reach out to Jennifer Baldwin at the Corporate Office (212)465-3531 to discuss an opportunity to showcase your talent today!

Thank You From The Lenox Hotel


Our Hotel has sat on the corners of Exeter and Boylston in the Back Bay of Boston for the last 113 years. This past Marathon Monday marked the first time in that 113 year period that we did not have one guest checked into our Hotel. As we evacuated late that Monday afternoon and it turned to evening, the thought become a little overwhelming. Under the guise of night, we thought our life, and the safe sanctuary of our Hotel was forever transformed.

The acts of Marathon Monday were horrific. As a people, we can do nothing to change the acts themselves. What we can do is resolve to ensure that the intent of those acts, to instill their hate and disdain for our way of life, for the sacredness of life, not be tolerated. As we look back now on what will be, next Monday, a month since the cowardice acts of two, we can see we were right to think we were forever transformed. But not in the way we thought. Our Hotel, and our City, has been forever transformed, certainly, but in the best sense of the word. We have come together even stronger as a Hotel, as a neighborhood, as a City, and, if I dare, as Americans. Never have we witnessed such genuine acts of kindness, such selfless acts of help without thought of consequences.

You need to only look at the multitude of emails sent by our Stash partners to their guests asking that they support The Lenox to understand this in the purest of form. It started out Wednesday morning with an email from the Denihan Group asking such, and has come since from every one of our Stash Partners. We stand in awe of each of you and your ability to look beyond your four walls and help a partner. We have not had the benefit of meeting all of you reading this. But know two things. Your genuine spirit to help, has turned to our resolve to be worthy of your effort to help and that effort, had a great impact. We are back up and ready to serve, getting fuller by the day.

When we met with Jeff Lowe some four years ago and wondered if a partnership with Stash would have the impact they proposed, we were hopeful, but skeptical. I stand before you today knowing that that hopefulness has turned to cemented confidence that Stash and its partner Hotels, has made an impact beyond what I could ever have hoped.

Know that should any of you have a need, we are as ready as you were to help!

Warmest of regard,


Daniel Donahue
V.P. and Managing Director
The Lenox | Back Bay
61 Exeter Street at Boylston | Boston, MA 02116

Click Here to read Affinia Hotels Email supporting our Stash Partner.

“Pool Party” at James New York

Although the weather did not cooperate, it certainly did not dampen the team spirit at the James New York at their Annual Pool Party this week! Dancing shoes replaced bathing suits as the group enjoyed great music, delicious food and raffle prizes on the Roof. Teamwork was evident as the smiles and laughter of the James New York associates brightened up an otherwise gloomy day here in New York. Great Job Team!072066

Monthly Mash Up @ Affinia Shelburne!

Monthly Mash Up @ Affinia Shelburne!

The Affinia Shelburne just wrapped up our “Monthly Mash Up” honoring our associates’ Birthdays, Anniversaries and our last two Values Champions- both of whom were celebrated for representing multiple Values including teamwork!

Our Office Manager, Oneca Hitchman, was honored for her outstanding display of Teamwork as well as her continued Recognition of one of her coworker’s who set out on a personal challenge to get healthy and fit this year. It was brought to our attention that Oneca provided daily encouragement and healthy tips to this colleague and even got the entire team together to sign a card for him in recognition of keeping at it in achieving his goal!

Additionally, one of our Room Attendants, Barbara Lugo, was honored for her Commitment, Passion and continued efforts at creating Teamwork amongst her colleagues! The nomination that we received in support of Barbara was tremendous and in fact was signed by almost every member of the Housekeeping department in a joint effort to let Barbara know how much they appreciate her!

Keep it up Affinia Shelburne!

SPiN Event NYC

For those of you who I haven’t met yet, I’d like to use this opportunity to reintroduce myself… Tom Botts otherwise known as Chief Customer Officer. We recently hosted our first team get together at SPiN where Business Intelligence, Revenue Management, Sales and Brand Management all came together to review our overall mission as a team, listen to some great jokes from well-known comedian and most importantly to duke it out on ping pong tables. While we had some real life champions in the group (shout out to Colleen Heslin circa 2006!) the final game was a close match between Tracy Parrillo & Jeanette McKenzie-Johnson vs. Tiffany Chin & Leslie Wolf. Leslie and Tiffany are the two to beat! Nicely done.

Why Calligraphy?

After several town hall meetings last week, many people have asked about the new calligraphy that is being used to represent our values and The Art of Hospitality. We purposely selected calligraphy because much like hospitality, it’s more than a smile or a simple brush on paper. Calligraphy is a developed and refined skill that takes many years to learn and perfect. When calligraphy is done right there is a meticulous attention to detail and the same applies to hospitality.

What personifies The Art of Hospitality to you?

Casino Royale at The Benjamin

It was a full house at The Benjamin this week with the Casino Night Mission Reception! The Denihan teamed hosted our distinguished clients and all bets were on. Poker, roulette and craps tables peppered the Lexington Room. Each guest received $1000 Denihan dollars which were exchanged for stacks of chips.

Despite some unfortunate hands of poker, our guests were assuaged by a sumptuous meal of assorted cheeses, hummus, Cesar salad, gnocchi and desserts by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s The National.

When the dealers finally closed their tables, chips were swapped for raffle tickets–which were then worn as accessories by some. Prizes included weekend stays at The James Royal Palm Miami, The Surrey, The Benjamin and Affinia properties! We had multiple winners, and even some guests who certainly had lucky by their side. It was an evening of big wins for all. Which couldn’t have been done without Teamwork!

Joe Gaeta
General Manager
Casino Night

Liaison & Art and Soul TDA Graduation Dinner


Congratulations to the 8 Talent Development Academy graduates from the Liaison and Art and Soul! The team celebrated their successful completion of the TDA program at Smoke and Barrel restaurant this week. This brings the total number of 2013 Denihan TDA graduates to 24 associates!! We look forward to starting the next TDA application process in June. Will you be one of our future TDA graduates?? Stay tuned…..














Teamwork at The James Royal Palm

James Royal Palm TeamworkTeresa Boccara, Executive Housekeeper from The James Chicago (pink shirt), spend the last 6 weeks on OUR team, working with Edilma Reyes, Executive Housekeeper of The James Royal Palm, to support us during our busiest month and turnover of mid-management. She is a true team player! To thank her for her efforts, the Housekeeping team threw a surprise “pot luck” lunch for her today featuring homemade empanadas, Puerco asado (roasted pork), congri (black beans and rice), yuka con mojo (Yucca salad) and a strawberry cake with Thank you! Gracias! Merci! written on top. The team gave Teresa a framed photograph of her favorite room in the hotel (The Two Bedroom Ocean Front Suite) and all signed the border with notes of gratitude. A perfect example of how the Denihan Family works together!

Town Hall Meetings!

We had a great day yesterday with over 160 team members attending our first Town Hall Meetings.  So much work goes on “behind the scenes” so we would like to thank the teams at the Affinia Shelburne and The Benjamin for all their efforts.  We are excited to head back to the Affinia Shelburne tomorrow afternoon for our third meeting.  Hope to see you all there!!


As I thought about our values I was happy to kick off our 50th celebration with one of the most important things that has made our company successful. Teamwork. For we are celebrating you, our team members, for the extraordinary care and attention to detail you deliver every day to service our guests.

In the daily grind of life we sometimes fail to recognize all of the good that is done on our behalf. Here is an inspirational teamwork story I heard the other day that demonstrates that there are many working on a team that we often times fail to recognize for their good work.

This teamwork story is about a US Naval Academy graduate and jet fighter pilot in Vietnam by the name of Charles Plumb. He had completed 75 combat missions when he was shot down. Plumb was ejected and parachuted into enemy hands afterwards spending six years in a Vietnamese prison. Fortunately he survived and today lectures on the many lessons he learned.

One day while eating at a restaurant with his wife a man came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Charles Plumb, in surprise and gratitude had to catch his breath.
The man then shook his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him it had and said, “If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

That night Plumb could not sleep. He said, “I kept pondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform – a Dixie cup hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said good morning, how are you, or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”

Plumb thought a lot about that man who had packed his parachute and the hours he spent at a wooden table at the bottom of the ship carefully packing his and others chutes. He held in his hands the chute; the fate of someone he did not even know.

Charles Plumb is now a motivational speaker telling this story to hundreds. He always ask his audiences after telling it, “Who’s packing your parachute?”

In our life many people have a hand in our parachutes. Are we taking the time to acknowledge them, thank them, reward them? It is very easy to overlook the work of many. When an athletic team has won a championship do you ever hear them thank the trainer, the cook, the bus driver? Do they take the time to reward them too? It takes a lot of people to create a championship team.

Who on your team works on your parachute?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this story. Success always comes down to teamwork. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about it, and about teamwork in general.