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HLTA honors Hawaii’s top hospitality industry employees

By Staff | Jan 24, 2013

Awards were presented in nine categories at the annual statewide luncheon honoring Hawaii’s best hospitality industry employees.

HONOLULU – Robert “Kui” Wright, head bartender at the Mai Tai Bar at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort, was recently named the “Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year” at the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s Na Po’e Pa’ahana (the hardworking people) awards luncheon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

Wright was selected to receive the lodging industry’s top annual award based on his exceptional professionalism, service on the job at The Royal Hawaiian and outstanding community service.

Wright’s honor was one of nine awards presented at the annual statewide luncheon honoring Hawaii’s top hospitality industry employees.

Recipients of HTLA accolades are selected based on nominations submitted by their supervisors and coworkers, and they are judged on the basis of outstanding and exceptional service to lodging guests, coworkers and the community.

Maui workers won awards at the 23rd annual luncheon.


Eric Borges of The Westin Maui Resort and Spa was honored as the “Bell/Valet Person of the Year.”

Nestor Alvarez of the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa took second place in the “Engineering/Maintenance Person of the Year” category.

Darlene Gomes of The Westin Maui Resort & Spa finished second for “Food & Beverage Person of the Year.”

Cheryl Takahashi of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa came in third in the “Housekeeper of the Year” awards.

William “Willie” Kanekoa Jr. of The Westin Maui Resort & Spa was named the “Security Officer of the Year,” and Sean McNeill of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel came in third.