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Doubletree Guest Suites in Naples again named 'best of best' by Hilton

The Doubletree Guest Suites Naples has found a recipe for success.

It serves its chocolate chip cookies just the right way — warm and moist to every guest.

Mix that with its service and community-mindedness and you've got an award-winning hotel that makes others salivate.

The hotel recently won the Connie Award for the third time in four years. The award, named after Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels Corp., recognizes "the best of the best" within each brand in the Hilton family. The local hotel competed with more than 150 other Doubletree hotels in the United States, Canada and Latin America for the honor.

"Time and time again, this hotel has shown excellence in delivering exceptional service to travelers when they come to visit the Naples area," said Thomas Wingham, a spokesman for Doubletree Hotels.

For the Connie Award, the hotel is evaluated on everything from customer satisfaction scores to the appearance of its rooms. Since opening in 2001, it has added free high-speed Internet service in every suite and the Doubletree Sweet Dreams sleeping system, which includes ultra luxurious mattresses and pillows.

In choosing the best hotels every year, Hilton even audits the cookies they give to guests, making sure they are served at the right temperature and moistness. The cookies are as big as hamburgers, and to some they could be a whole meal. They are cooked fresh daily at every Doubletree hotel.

Thanks in part to how it delivers its cookies, the 101-suite Doubletree in Naples swept the awards ceremony in February recognizing the best hotels in its brand for 2004. Besides winning its third Connie Award, it took home a Doubletree Pride Award for creating an outstanding hotel experience and the prestigious CARE Cup. CARE stands for Caring, Attentive, Responsive and Empowered service to hotel guests, employees and the community.

Hotel manager Vikki Fritz likens the CARE Cup to the Stanley Cup, the professional hockey trophy. The CARE Cup rotates between hotels and goes to the most deserving hotel at year's end.

Fritz is given a lot of the credit for earning it. She has a passion for giving back to the community and she's committed to providing the best experience to guests.

And her employees say there is another reason for the hotel's success, her competitive drive.

"I guess I'm a little competitive," Fritz acknowledged.

She said the awards also reflect that every worker takes great pride in what they do.

The Naples hotel is the only Doubletree to win the CARE Cup in two straight quarters since Hilton reintroduced its CARE program in 2001. It earned the award in the second and third quarters of 2004 before winning it for the year.

Every spring and fall, the hotel teams up with Laurel Oak Elementary to teach students about the importance of community service and volunteering.

In November, Fritz and Kelley Fox, president of the hotel's CARE committee, gave fifth-grade students lessons on the importance of voting. The students voted to donate 2,004 of Doubletree's signature chocolate chip cookies to the U.S. military, and they wrote poems for the troops.

The cookies will be sent by helicopter.

In January, the hotel hosted a two-day showing of a 9-11 Victims' Quilt. The event raised money for the making of the quilt and for the Collier County Freedom Memorial Task Force.

Every year for Arbor Day, hotel employees help students plant trees at Laurel Oak Elementary.

For Easter and Christmas, the hotel gives out baskets and gifts to needy children. Last Christmas, hotel workers snatched up all the sleeping bags they could find at Wal-Mart to make the holiday brighter for young children who didn't have much else to open.

The Naples Doubletree turns five in July. Sig Front, a consultant with Guest Services Inc., which owns the hotel, said he's impressed that it has won so many awards in such a short time.

"There are 46 people that make up this hotel," he said. "And they are all working overtime to make this a better community to live in."

Guest loyalty ranks near 100 percent. The hotel, located off U.S. 41 near Immokalee Road, has strong bookings for its rooms and its conference center, which seats about 175, Front said.

In 2004, the hotel's occupancy rate was 77.6 percent. This year has been even stronger and summer looks good.

"I think the whole industry has come back after 9-11," Front said.

"You can really see it with all the traffic around town."

And you can see it in the number of cookies the Doubletree in Naples is giving out every day.

© 2005 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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