|By Marguerite Higgins, The Washington Times|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Nov. 15, 2004 - Stephen Bello is working to keep Classic Hospitality's properties "timeless" as the newest president of the Washington hospitality operator.
Mr. Bello, 45, oversees operations at Classic Hospitality's properties in the District: the Washington Plaza Hotel, Hotel Lombardy, State Plaza Hotel, Henley Park Hotel and Morrison-Clark Inn as well as the company's Sea Catch Restaurant and Raw Bar in Georgetown.
He has held the position since September, and his primary goal is identifying the brand for each property and improving its overall environment and customer service.
Mr. Bello said he also is preparing data for employees to help improve the image of the hotels and restaurant.
Details from a hotel's exterior to its customer service and restaurant menu should flow together in one environment for the guest, he said.
"It all comes down to who we are as a company," he said.
Mr. Bello plans to renovate some of the locations over the next two years. The company will start by spending an estimated $10 million on two properties, but Mr. Bello said the plans have not been finalized.
Additionally, Mr. Bello is considering some acquisitions.
"We're not promising anything major, but we are looking for hotels that fit the individual traveler who wants a unique experience," he said.
Classic Hospitality's hotels cater mostly to upper-class customers and business travelers, Mr. Bello said.
"We're really the untrendy hotel chain in town. And when I say untrendy, to me that means timeless," he said.
Lisa Hornstein, sales and marketing vice president, said the company was impressed with Mr. Bello's background in the hotel and food and beverage industries.
"He comes from large companies and he's knowledgeable. We're very much looking forward to getting our company to the next level with his assistance," Ms. Hornstein said.
Mr. Bello came to Classic Hospitality from the Madison Hotel at the intersection of 15th and M streets in Northwest, where he served as general manager.
Prior to that, he was general manager of the Hershey Hotel in Hershey, Pa. Mr. Bello also spent 10 years working with the Ritz-Carlton, serving at several properties in the United States and abroad.
Mr. Bello lives in Burke, Va., with his wife, Sabrina Smith, and their daughter.
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