When Tim Reardon was growing up in Dudley, Mass., he never imagined he’d work in the hotel industry. But shortly after becoming a bartender at an Orlando resort, he began to see the appeal “I knew with conviction this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life” he recalls.
Cutting his teeth in Orlando proved instrumental. “Hospitality is engrained in the culture of [the city], so I was able to learn not only service basics from the ground up, but what it really meant to go above and beyond for guests.”
Today, the GM of the mammoth 977-room Westin Harbour Castle, overlooking Lake Ontario in Toronto, gets to put the principles of hospitality into practice, helping create memorable experiences for his guests. The 17-year veteran of the Starwood hotel chain has been at the helm of the iconic waterfront property for the past two years.
“The hotel is unique and Westin is an engaged brand focused on “a better you” for both guests and associates, centered on wellness and well being,” he says.
Among its myriad initiatives are the Run Concierge, Westin Gear Lending, SuperfoodsRx and its signature Westin Heavenly Bed and Bath, which Reardon calls “amazing programs and services that differentiate and elevate our guest experience, while focusing on the six pillars of well-being.”
One of the hotel’s unique features is its more than 74,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a free-standing conference centre located across the street from the hotel. “We facilitate meetings and events for groups as small as 10 persons to conventions and signature galas for thousands of attendees,” Reardon explains. Reardon is quick to point out the hotel’s location on a parcel of prime real estate is part of its appeal. “There is significant growth and development on Toronto’s waterfront and we are positioned at the crossroads of this impressive evolution.”
Like all hoteliers, Reardon understands the importance of innovation. “We continue to have programs that focus on both front and heart-of-the-house areas.”
A couple of years ago, the hotel teamed up with celebrity chef Corbin Tomaszeski to give additional cachet to its F&B department. “He’s been a phenomenal addition to our team and brought an entrepreneurial spirit to our food-and-beverage experience.” Looking ahead, the hotel is scheduled to undergo a major renovation of its North Tower guestrooms and corridors with completion set for early 2017.
Always pivotal to the hotel’s success, says Reardon, are its 620 associates “They’re the ones who have made the hotel what it is. When we look for solutions to questions, to solve problems or enhance a current practice, the best answers, suggestions and ideas come directly from team members.”