|PINE MOUNTAIN, GA (9/29/05) – Noble Investment Group and Callaway Gardens
have broken ground on The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens.
A four-star amenity to the property, The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens
will feature 150 oversized guest rooms and four-fixture baths along with
a state-of-the-art, luxurious 13,000-square-foot spa and health club.
The new Lodge and Spa facilities are designed to honor the rich traditions
and boundless natural beauty of Callaway Gardens while adding a new level
of luxury and comfort to the overall experience at the resort.
“When we first entered into our partnership with Callaway Gardens in
January of 2005, we did so with a shared vision to reinvent the Callaway
Gardens experience, while preserving its remarkable heritage,” said Robert
McEleney, vice president and managing director of Callaway Gardens Resort
for Noble Investment Group. “This includes the magnificent gardens,
the wide range of outstanding hospitality and recreational offerings and
more. Today, a mere nine months later, we reaffirm our commitment
to this remarkable property by ensuring that guests will enjoy Callaway
Gardens for generations to come.”
“This is truly an historic day for Callaway Gardens,” said Edward Callaway,
chairman and CEO of Callaway Gardens. “The Lodge and Spa at Callaway
Gardens takes my grandfather’s original vision for the property into the
21st century by matching our unparalleled natural beauty with a luxurious
lodging amenity. We are proud to work with our partners at Noble
Investment Group to provide guests to Callaway Gardens with the very best
comprehensive resort experience possible.”
The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens will be adjacent to the existing
Southern Pines Conference Center. As with all things at Callaway
Gardens, the project has been planned to meld with the spectacular natural
landscape. “When it came to designing The Lodge and Spa at
Callaway Gardens, we took on the challenge to honor the work that nature
has already done,” said Mit Shah, president and CEO of Noble Investment
Group. “With this in mind, we are creating a LEED (Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design) certified resort lodging amenity that
continues the sense of place that is so central to everything at Callaway
The interior of the Lodge will continue the commitment to place, making
every effort to, in classic Callaway tradition, bridge the gap between
man and nature. Each luxurious room at the Lodge will feature its
own balcony. All areas will feature an abundance of windows, providing
rejuvenating natural light. The natural theme will extend to interiors
of Lodge rooms, where soft colors and warm comfort mimic the world outside
while creating a sanctuary-within-a-sanctuary for guests.
The Spa at Callaway Gardens will highlight the property’s unique connection
to its natural surroundings by combining the timeless and soothing treasures
of its unique locale with the very latest in modern relaxation technology
and services. Spa guests will enjoy a wide array of classic and innovative
treatments delivered by a talented and experienced staff of relaxation
The 13 treatment rooms in The Spa at Callaway Gardens will accommodate
a wide range of offerings including traditional massage, hydrotherapy treatments,
Vichy showers, couples’ treatments and more. The facility will also
include a health club, a yoga and exercise room and a retail and salon
Partners: Noble Investment Group and Callaway Gardens
The announcement of the new Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens®
is the latest of many highlights in the successful partnership between
Noble Investment Group and Callaway Gardens.
The partnership began in January of 2005, when Callaway Gardens brought
in Noble Management Group, the operating arm of Noble Investment Group,
as a key part of the strategy to reinvent the entire Callaway Gardens experience.
Callaway Gardens includes the world-famous gardens, hospitality offerings
and wide range of amenities throughout the resort. Noble’s presence
began paying immediate dividends thanks to the implementation and execution
of leading systems and processes and a renewed service culture.
Since January, Callaway Gardens has seen a significant increase in
revenue and extensive improvements in its food and beverage operation.
In addition, the team has engineered a number of positive structuring changes
that have greatly improved efficiency in a variety of departments, and
is overseeing a number of revitalization and restoration projects, including
investments in the cottages, the Mountain Creek® Inn and more.
Golf, a staple of the Callaway Gardens experience since its inception,
is in the midst of its own renaissance. This includes ongoing enhancements
and upgrades to its world-class Mountain View course and an emphasis on
inclusive programming that caters to all types of players. The recent
refurbishment and rededication of the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center drew
extensive media attention from around the world.
And now, a mere nine months after their partnership began, Noble and
Callaway Gardens are breaking ground on a project that will help the resort
secure its place among the finest destinations in the Southeast.
“We have great respect for the natural beauty of Callaway Gardens,
for its remarkable history and for its unparalleled legacy as a land steward,”
said Mit Shah, president and CEO of Noble. “Our job is to ensure
that we can help reinvest in and protect the original vision of Cason Callaway,
and help to ensure that generations of future guests can enjoy all the
resort has to offer with four star lodging amenities.”
One key element of the Noble strategy has been the installation of
a talented and experienced leadership team at Callaway Gardens. Vice President
and Managing Director Robert McEleney has been instrumental in countless
hospitality success stories. His more than 20 years in the business
includes leadership roles at The Turning Stone Resort, ITT Sheraton Corporation,
The Resort at Squaw Creek Valley, Olympus Hospitality Group and Millennium
Hotels and Resorts. Director of Marketing Mary Sanders served on
the executive team that is widely credited with the rejuvenation of The
Homestead, one of America’s true classic resorts, in Hot Springs, Virginia.
Director of Food and Beverage Tony Labotos is an acclaimed F&B professional
with vast experience including operating his own chain of successful Georgia
One of the hallmarks of Noble is a commitment not only to its assets,
but to the people and places that surround them. “We have a strong
commitment to the communities in which we work and live,” said Shah.
“And we look forward to carrying this commitment through The Lodge and
Spa at Callaway Gardens. This project represents a significant benefit
related to job creation, marketability, tourism and revenue to Pine Mountain,
Harris County and the State of Georgia.”
Biographies of Project Team
Mit Shah - President and CEO, Noble Investment Group
Shah grew up on the lodging side of the family’s real estate business
where he worked in every operations position from rooms and housekeeping
to sales and engineering. After earning an economics degree from Wake Forest
University, where he is currently a member of the Board of Trustees, he
enjoyed a successful investment banking career in Atlanta. As the national
economy began to transition in the early 1990s, Shah formed Noble to serve
as a value driving hospitality investment, operating and development organization
to invest family capital in the lodging industry. Now a nationally acclaimed
organization, Shah has built a best in class team of professionals that
together have led Noble to achieve significant investment returns and equity
multiples, growth and prosperity - including the acquisition of Stormont
Hospitality in 2003 and the development of four investment platforms representing
capital of over $1 billion.
Shah is a member of the advisory board for Marriott International and
InterContinental Hotels Group and a member of the board of the Morehouse
School of Medicine, Calloway School of Business at Wake Forest, and the
American Hotel and Lodging Association.
For his leadership, the business press has named Shah one of the most
influential leaders in lodging and business. He has been profiled in Newsweek
magazine as one of the 20 Most Powerful and Influential South Asians in
the US, in the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the Most Influential
Leaders in Atlanta, and in Georgia Trend magazine as one of the “Top 40
under 40” leaders in Georgia. He also has been called one of the most influential
industry leaders in the 21st century by Lodging Hospitality magazine and
"Delivering the Greatest Customer Experience to Noble hotel guests
is not only our mission, it will be the means by which we will achieve
preeminence as a hospitality company,” states Shah.
Bob Morse - Chief Operating Officer, Noble Investment Group
Bob Morse is Chief Operating Officer of Noble Investment Group and President
of the company’s management division, Noble Management Group. Morse believes
that “for Noble to be the best hospitality organization in the business,
we must continue to be the best operator by consistently driving results
across all segments of our business.”
As Chief Operating Officer of Noble, Morse is responsible for all hotel
operations and for optimizing Noble’s balanced scorecard approach with
the delivery of management resources, processes and practices throughout
the organization. He also serves on Noble’s internal investment committee
as the organization continues to execute on its broad investment strategy.
As president of Noble Management Group, Morse directs the results and guidance
of the increasing operating portfolio, as well as actively seeks out new
opportunities for the company to provide value-added hotel, resort and
conference center management.
Prior to joining Noble, Morse was Chief Operating Officer for Interstate
Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:IHR), the nation's largest independent
hotel management company, where he was responsible for overseeing the company's
portfolio of more than 330 managed properties and over $2.3 billion in
annual revenue. Before joining Interstate in 2001, he was president, the
Americas and executive director of Millennium and Copthorne Hotels, plc.
He also has served as president of the Homestead Suites extended stay brand,
president of the franchise division of ITT Sheraton Corp., and president
of Four Points Hotels by Sheraton.
Morse has a successful track record with all asset types in diverse
geographies/markets throughout North America and abroad. He is regarded
as a tremendous leader and hotel operator throughout the industry and has
a huge bias for action.
He holds a B.A., Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration, University
of Massachusetts. Morse’s current affiliations include: Board
of Trustees - American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Foundation;
Board of Directors - Intercontinental Hotels Group – (IAHI); Chairman,
Board of Advisors - Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts; Board Member – Starwood
Hotels and Resorts North American Owners Advisory Council; Board of Visitors
– University of Massachusetts School of Restaurant and Travel Administration;
and frequent speaker at hospitality and real estate conferences and meetings
Steven Nicholas - Executive Vice President, Noble Investment
As executive vice president of operations, Nicholas oversees the day
to day leadership of Noble's assets with the processes, metrics and internal
resources that make Noble a preeminent balanced scorecard organization.
A graduate of Cornell University School of Hotel Administration with
an MBA from the Goizuetta Business School at Emory University, Nicholas
oversaw restaurant operations in New York City before becoming the youngest
general manager and then youngest area manager for PROMUS Hotels. Nicholas
began his career at Noble in 1997 as a Regional Director of Operations
where he led the opening and “Nobleizing” of over 20 Noble hotels throughout
the east coast. He also was a key member of the executive team to oversee
the development and implementation of numerous customized technology solutions.
These innovative solutions save time, ensure consistency and quality control,
shorten new team member learning curves, speed new hotel entries to market,
increase management control over vendors, and enhance Noble’s reputation
as a technology leader in the industry. Nicholas is quite clear in relating
“technology solutions empower us to make decisions faster and serve guests
better." As executive vice president, Nicholas is an integral part
of ensuring the success of the company.
Mark Rafuse - Chief Financial Officer, Noble Investment Group
“A streamlined, efficient organization like Noble reacts quickly to
changes in the market, allowing us to continually make investment decisions
that add value to our stakeholders.”
As Chief Financial Officer of Noble, Rafuse directs ongoing financial
activities of the company as well as evaluate risk. Rafuse is the lead
contact for Noble's financial relationships and is committed to Noble being
the best hospitality company in the industry.
Rafuse has a proven track record of utilizing his financial expertise
to expand high growth public and private companies and positioning them
to a higher level of performance. He has held senior finance positions
with publicly traded Liuski International as their CFO as well as private
companies, BMW Wood technology and Pratt Industries. As vice president
and treasurer of Lodgian, Inc., he successfully completed a $565 million
balance sheet recapitalization.
John Cooper - Senior Vice President of Development, Noble Investment
John Cooper is senior vice president of development for Noble.
The company and its predecessors have developed over $750 million in hotels,
conference centers, and resorts. Cooper began his career with Stormont
Trice Development Corporation in 1997.
Cooper ensures all of the development aspects are tailored to meet
needs of each project, which include Financial Services, Technical Services,
Development Services, Project Management, Asset Management, and Consulting.
He has successfully lead many projects to completion such as: the 750-room
Marriott Biltmore Waterfront and Conference Center, the 300 room Marriott
and Cool Springs Conference Center, the 400 room Memphis Marriott expansion
and renovation and the award winning Marriott Hotel and Embassy Suites
Hotel conversion in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Cooper attended school
at Arizona State University where he earned a degree in construction management.
Robert McEleney - Vice President/Managing Director at Callaway
Gardens, Noble Investment Group
McEleney has been instrumental in countless hospitality success stories
during his more than 20 yearsin the business. After beginning his
career with ITT Sheraton Corporation, where he rose to Vice President,
Area Director of Operations, he has held leadership positions with The
Resort at Squaw Creek Valley (CA), Ihilani Resort and Spa (HI), American
Skiing Company, Olympus Hospitality Group and Millennium Hotels and Resorts.
McEleney’s experience, leadership skills and determination are a driving
force behind the revitalization of Callaway Gardens.
Mary Sanders - Director of Marketing at Callaway Gardens, Noble
Mary Sanders is a highly respected industry professional who served
on the executive team that was widely credited with turning around the
venerable Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia. During her tenure
at The Homestead, Sanders gained invaluable experience managing the sort
of organizational and institutional change that is happening at Callaway,
and demonstrated a consistent ability to grow revenue in a complex environment.
Sanders brings a solid understanding of the unique mix of history, tradition
and first-class recreation and hospitality that Callaway represents, and
is a strong asset to the leadership team.
Noble Investment Group is a leading national hospitality organization
that owns luxury and upscale hotels and resorts, is a prominent developer
of first class lodging, resort and mixed use projects, and is an acclaimed
operator of independent destination resorts, convention and conference
centers, and upscale hotels affiliated with Marriott, Hilton, Starwood
and InterContinental Hotels Group. Noble currently operates over 5,000
hotel and resort guest rooms, more than 600,000 sq. ft. of meeting space
as well as championship golf, spa and fine dining operations together with
approximately 7,000 hotel rooms operated by Alliance Hospitality Management,
a majority owned affiliate of Noble.
Since 1979, Noble and its predecessors have developed and acquired
over $1 billion in hospitality assets. In the past year, the company began
development on and acquired an aggregate of $300 million in hospitality
Callaway Gardens®, is in Pine Mountain, Ga., 60 minutes southwest
of Atlanta and 30 minutes north of Columbus. Callaway Gardens, a man-made
landscape in a unique natural setting, was conceived and created by Cason
J. Callaway and his wife, Virginia Hand Callaway, for the benefit of mankind.
The purpose is to provide a wholesome family environment where all may
find beauty, relaxation, inspiration and a better understanding of the
Callaway Gardens, a public, educational, horticultural and charitable
organization, is owned by the non-profit Ida Cason Callaway Foundation?.
Its wholly-owned subsidiary, Callaway Gardens Resort, Inc., a regular business
corporation, includes the recreational, lodging and retail facilities at
Callaway. After-tax proceeds go to the Foundation to support its