Each year the Napa Valley sees thousands and thousands of tourists. It’s up to passionate experts like DON SHINDLE from The Westin Verasa Napa to ensure that their experience in the Valley is unforgettable. The hotel visitors choose has a much greater impact on their trip than just quality of a night’s sleep. “Even more so today, people have high expectations of their hotel experience and we need to over-deliver to create guest loyalty. My role, as General Manager, is to support and coordinate all the efforts of my entire team. Whether in a large or small hotel, the complexities of the business and dealing with guests’ needs do not change,” explains Don. The entire staff at The Westin is well educated on local wineries, restaurants, events, and experiences to ensure that guests continue to be impressed and gratified long after they leave the lobby. This exemplary service is not possible without a team leader with a genuine love of this Valley and commitment to service. And that’s Don. Don advocates that the most essential factors in hospitality.
This exemplary service is not possible without a team leader with a genuine love of this Valley and commitment to service. And that’s Don.
“I have been in the industry for 35 years and still have the same or greater passion for welcoming and serving guests than I did when I first started,” Don exclaimed. “It also doesn’t hurt that the Westin sits on a celebrated Napa River location, is just a short walk to Oxbow Market, the Wine Train, and Downtown Napa, and can boast a partnership with Chef Ken Frank. La Toque, Frank’s Michelin Star restaurant, is an integral part of the hotel itself.” Don will admit…he works really, really hard, and is lucky. However, Don and his team go above and beyond in ways we would never expect. Many people do not realize the amount of work that goes on to ensure that guests have a remarkable stay. Don points out that their finance and IT team is always on point to ensure technology throughout the hotel is effective and working, and departments from engineering to housekeeping that must keep everything clean and in working order. This is an all-team effort that is on 24 hours per day. And then there’s the fitness programs such as Run Concierge that offers a running map and even a running attendant, to pet hospitality programs, to Super Food menu items—all needs and desires for a healthy, happy stay are meticulously considered. Why all these specialized amenities? Because, Don tells us, he’s done his homework. When asked about The Westin’s clientele, Don explains, “They are a perfect combination of successful, driven professionals who understand the need to balance family and wellness in order to create a sense of contentment. Westin guests know what they want and aspire to live their lives to the fullest. They are seasoned travelers and appreciate that the Westin brand recognizes their individual tastes and personal choices. The core of the Westin brand speaks to the effort of rejuvenation, such that guests leave feeling even better than when they first arrived.”
Another key element of the Westin brand is its reverence and support for local cultural experiences, namely, the Napa Valley Film Festival. The Westin Verasa Napa will serve as this year’s festival headquarters in Napa. You’re most likely to catch Don and his wife at the short films programs, or at a documentary screening (their favorites). “It is incredible to see, in such a short period, how the concept (and vision) of the NVFF presented only 6 years ago has grown into such an international event. The Westin Verasa Napa is immensely proud of our commitment to and involvement in the NVFF and what the NVFF means for the Napa Valley.”