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Benchmark Hospitality Assumes Management of Historic
Berry Hill Plantation Resort, William H. Carder
Appointed General Manager

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THE WOODLANDS (HOUSTON), TEXAS, February 24, 2005 - Benchmark Hospitality International, which manages 28 award-winning resorts, conference centers and hotels in the United States and Japan, has announced the addition of the historic Berry Hill Plantation Resort, located in South Boston, Virginia, to its management portfolio.  The elegant Greek Revival-style property, originally built as an antebellum mansion in 1842, will reopen in June of this year.  Burt Cabanas, chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement.

The stately Berry Hill Plantation Resort is one of the most distinctive properties in the Southeastern United States.  Situated on 750 scenic acres, the former tobacco plantation has been home to some of Virginia's most distinguished families, including Benjamin Harrison and Colonel Edward Carrington.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The plantation house features 3-foot thick walls in the original construction and eight massive white columns supporting a commanding front portico.  The large reception hall is flanked by a circular staircase rising up both sides of the hall and continuing up as one at the landing.  The mansion's parlor and library offer exceptional mantles of carved Italian marble.  Hardwood floors are throughout the main public spaces.

Berry Hill now offers 92 luxurious guestrooms, several with dramatic Italian canopy beds.  The remarkable property provides world-class cuisine in The Dining Room restaurant and casual dining and beverages in the Colonial Tavern, which features an extensive private wine cellar.  Twelve meeting and event rooms make the property ideal for social events and corporate meetings.  Extensive recreational facilities include an indoor pool, tennis courts, jogging and biking trails.  In-room spa services are also available. 

William H. Carder Appointed General Manager

An accomplished hotelier and restaurant professional with over three decades of experience, William Carder was appointed by Benchmark to formally reopen and manage the Berry Hill Plantation Resort, a circa 1842 antebellum estate that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Mr. Carder is well qualified for this position, having previously served in the capacity of general manager for the Berry Hill Mansion & Conference Center, which is what the property was known as when managed by Marriott Corporation. 

Prior to the appointment with Marriott, Carder served as general manager for Affirmative Equities Company of New York City, and was responsible for the operations of the company's Hospitality Division, which included restaurants as well as apartment complexes located the Midwest.  While general manager of Affirmative Equities' Patrick Henry Hotel, a National Historic Landmark property located in Roanoke, Virginia, he also delved into the world of politics and served as vice mayor and city council member for the City of Roanoke.

Before his Berry Hill tenure with Marriott Corporation, Carder worked for the company's food & beverage division, where he was responsible for this department at 196 Marriott Courtyard Hotels.  Prior to this appointment, he was general manager of the Bethesda Marriott Suites Hotel of Bethesda, Maryland.  While there, the hotel achieved the highest overall customer & employee satisfaction ratings in the MidAtlantic Region.  Previous to this, Mr. Carder served in various positions of increasing managerial responsibility for Marriott Corporation, RDG Restaurant Group and Red Lobster Inns of America.

In addition to his responsibilities at Berry Hill Plantation Resort, Carder is also affiliated with Hall and Associates Realty in the Commercial Real Estate Division.

William H. Carder is a graduate of Valencia Community College, located in Orlando, and attended the Florida Technological University.  He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors during his remarkable career, including the Martin Luther King Award, Virginia Pat McMahon Tourism Promotion Award, several community service awards, and the Marriott Regional Director of Catering of the Year Award, which he earned earlier in his career.  He resides in South Boston, Virginia.

Expansion Plans

Plans call for the addition of 100 guestrooms, a full service spa, an 18,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art conference center, as well as 18 holes of golf.  Corporate teambuilding progams will be made available at the Virginia International Raceway's Corporate Motor Sport Experience, located nearby.  The acreage will eventually see mixed-use residential development.

Berry Hill Plantation Resort offers a superb destination for special events and corporate meetings as well as unforgettable weekends of recreation and leisure.  The property is the perfect blend of 21st century luxury and 19th century southern hospitality.  It is situated between Richmond, Virginia, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.  Berry Hill is easily accessible by air through the Raleigh-Durham Airport.

Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers and hotels both domestically and internationally. 

 
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Contact:
BENCHMARK HOSPITALITY INTERNATIONAL
The Woodlands (Houston), Texas
www.benchmarkhospitality.com

Ken Ellens
KEN ELLENS COMMUNICATIONS
201-758-2864-Phone  /  201-758-2865-Fax
KenEllens@aol.com

Also See: Benchmark Appoints Ken Jesina General Manager of Stonewall Resort, Weston, West Virginia / January 2005
Greg Parsons Appointed General Manager of Eaglewood Resort & Spa / January 2005
Benchmark's Top Ten Meeting Industry Trends for 2005 / January 2005


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