Acquisitions & Hotel Openings

Mohonk Mountain House Appoints Barbara Stirewalt Spa Director

New, $13 million, 30,000-square-foot Spa

NEW PALTZ, NY, February 28, 2006. Barbara Stirewalt has been named Spa Director of the new, $13 million, 30,000-square-foot Spa at Mohonk Mountain House. Her devotion to indigenous spa programs and earth-friendly spa principles provides a perfect complement to the 137- year-old property, with its rich history of ecology. Located in the Shawangunk Mountains overlooking the Hudson Valley and set on 2,200 spectacular acres, Mohonk Mountain House is only 90 miles north of New York City.

With more than 20 years of experience, Stirewalt has helped open spas and fitness centers, provide concept and design development, and train hospitality staff. She most recently served as Spa Director of the Wintergarden Spa and Fitness Center at the Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

"Stirewalt's extensive career in spas and hospitality, her love of nature, and her desire to provide guests with an experience that will nurture body, mind, and spirit in our unique setting blends all of the qualities we had hoped for in this position," said Bert Smiley, CEO and fourth generation descendant of the hotel's 19 th century founders.

Stirewalt holds a Masters of Professional Studies from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, along with multiple certifications in group and aquatic fitness instruction.

Coming Up In The March Online Hotel Business Review


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Human Resources: Strategies to Find and Keep the Best Employees
The hotel industry is notoriously rife with employee issues and human resource professionals are typically charged with the task of solving them. These issues can often seem daunting, given the myriad of problems HR departments encounter every day. Increasingly, issues such as workplace violence, workplace safety, workforce diversity, drug and alcohol abuse, labor shortages, inter-departmental conflicts, and compliance with all legal, employment and government regulations have become more prevalent in recent years. However, according to a recent survey, the biggest challenges human resource professionals face involves recruiting, training, retaining and rewarding employees. More than one-half (59%) of HR professionals believe that recruiting, training and rewarding their best employees, and developing the next generation of corporate leaders, will be their greatest challenges. About one-third (34%) predict the challenges will be creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees, and finding people with the specialized skills the organization requires. Of course, all of these efforts are part of a strategy to reduce employee turnover - an issue that continues to plague the industry. An average hotel spends 33 percent of its revenues on labor costs, but employee turnover in the industry can be as high as 31 percent. A high rate of turnover dramatically disrupts operations and profitability, and it falls to HR professionals to address and resolve this area of concern. The March Hotel Business Review will document some of the biggest challenges HR professionals are currently facing, and will report on some of the best practices they are employing to achieve their goals.