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KSL Resorts Appoints Donna Smith as Director of Leisure and Travel Industry Sales
and James Buck as Digital Marketing Manager for Two Properties

Responsible for The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina and The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia


May 22 , 2013 (Asheville, NC and Hot Springs, VA) - The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, and The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, have announced dual appointments to two key sales and marketing roles in time for the summer travel season. The two luxury resort properties operated by KSL Resorts have much in common including southern charm, historic legacies, and locations just over 300 miles apart.

Donna Smith, Director of Leisure and Travel Industry Sales
As Director of Leisure and Travel Industry Sales, Donna Smith oversees industry-specific sales and marketing efforts for the two resorts, working closely with wholesales tour operators, retail travel agents and consortiums such as Virtuoso, Signature, Ensemble and American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts.

Smith has more than 25 years of experience in hotel and hospitality sales. Before joining KSL Resorts, she headed Leisure & Industry Sales for North America and Canada for Salamander Resorts & Hotels, where she was instrumental in the opening of new properties in Florida and the Caribbean. Previously, she earned her reputation for her role as North American Accounts Executive for Half Moon Resort in Jamaica, where she was responsible for developing and implementing a sales plan that incorporated all aspects of leisure travel. Smith also directed sales and marketing efforts for Couples Resorts/Issa Hotels and was a Sales Manager at Club America Vacations. She has represented numerous hotels and resorts throughout the Caribbean and has worked for Continental Airlines.

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Smith earned a Marketing degree from Memphis State University. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

James Buck, Digital Marketing Manager
As Digital Marketing Manager, James Buck focuses his expertise in online marketing and social media to achieve strong visible online presences and promote the success of The Grove Park Inn and The Homestead.

Transferring departments, Buck started at The Grove Park Inn in 2012 and was previously the In-Room Dining Captain. He will use his knowledge of the hotel to develop compelling digital content.  Previously, he was Co-Owner/Managing Partner of The Ford Theatre in Conway, Arkansas, developing the theater's online presence and generating traffic through implementation of marketing and advertising campaigns via Facebook, Twitter and Google. As Event Coordinator and Online Marketing Manager of Silent Events, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee, Buck maintained the company's website, social media accounts and oversaw events for clients including Jet Blue, Coca-Cola, Vanderbilt University and LSU.

Born and raised in Hope, Arkansas (birthplace of former president, Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee) Buck received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.  He resides in Asheville.

About The Homestead
Open since 1766, The Homestead is one of America's most storied resorts, offering unparalleled hospitality and southern charm in a 3,000-acre setting within the Allegheny Mountains of southwestern Virginia.  In June 2013, Canyon Ranch SpaClub at The Homestead will debut and be the company's first venture in the mid-Atlantic region and the first SpaClub to introduce family spa services. Renowned for its natural healing springs, The Homestead is distinguished by 483 luxurious guest rooms and suites, 72,000 square feet of meeting space, a wide array of fine and casual dining choices, championship golf courses that include one of the nation's finest mountain courses (The Cascades), Allegheny Springs, a two-acre family-friendly water attraction complete with lazy river, water slides and water play zone. The resort also offers the South's first downhill ski area, a 48-stable Equestrian Center and show ring, top-rated Shooting Club, Back Country Driving School, off-road Segway tours and a wealth of other recreational attractions.

About The Grove Park Inn
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains just minutes from downtown Asheville, North Carolina, The Grove Park Inn provides a one-of-a-kind escape. Currently undergoing a $25 million renovation, the award winning 514-room resort was acquired by KSL Partners in May 2012, becoming the third National Historic Landmark property in the KSL collection. Originally opened in 1913, the Inn showcases a wide range of Arts and Crafts furnishings from Stickley and Roycroft throughout guest areas, guestrooms and suites. There are four restaurants - including Horizons Dining Room, the only AAA Four-Diamond dining experience in Asheville, and their iconic chophouse, Sunset Terrace, which has earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence eight years in a row. The world-class Spa is an experience like no other, with 43,000 square feet of subterranean space and a menu of unique treatments incorporating indigenous elements. The resort's historic 18-hole Donald Ross golf course is considered among the top golf experiences in North Carolina, and the Sports Complex includes indoor and outdoor tennis courts. The Grove Park Inn is well suited for meetings and events, with 25 meeting rooms and two ballrooms totaling 55,000 square feet, including the Skyline Room and Mountain View Terrace. Adjacent to the Inn, The Fitzgerald at Grove Park is an intimate collection of luxurious condominium residences available for ownership, featuring spectacular mountain views and access to resort amenities through a Community Membership program.

About KSL Capital Partners

KSL is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises in five primary sectors: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL has offices in Denver, Colorado and New York. KSL’s current portfolio includes some of the premier properties in travel and leisure, including The Grove Park Inn, The Homestead, Montelucia Resort & Spa, Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, The Royal Palm, La Costa Resort and Spa, and ClubCorp, one of the world’s largest owners of private golf and business clubs. KSL also owns other premier recreation businesses, including Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, two of the leading ski resorts in North America; Western Athletic Clubs, the owner and operator of luxury fitness clubs on the West Coast of the United States; and Orion Expedition Cruises, a luxury expedition cruise operator based in Sydney, Australia.

For more information on KSL, please visit


Laura Lopez
Hawkins International
(212) 255-6541

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Also See: The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina Names Todd Sicolo as Executive Chef / April 2013

The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina Names New Leadership for it Food & Beverage Team; Appointing David Edwards as F&B Director, Duane Fernandes as Chef de Cuisine of Horizons Dining Room, and Robert Alger as Executive Pastry Chef / October 2012

The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina Restructures its Sales Division with Tryg Brody, Director of Sales, Leading a Nine Member Team; The Historic Property was Recently Acquired by KSL Partners / September 2012

KSL Capital Partners Acquires The Belfry, a Renowned Hotel and Golf Resort in Wishaw, Sutton Coldfield, North Warwickshire, England; Resort to be Managed by De Vere Group; Comprehensive Renovation Planned / August 2012

KSL Resorts Officially Assumes Management of the 512-room Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville, North Carolina; $25 million Renovation Planned for 2013 / May 2012

KSL Capital Partners Enters Into Agreement to Acquire the Historic 512-room Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Ashville, North Carolina From an Affiilate of Sammons Enterprises, Inc.; $25 million Renovation Planned for 2013 / April 2012

KSL Capital Partners Acquires the Royal Palm Hotel in South Beach, Florida for $130 million, or Roughly $318,000 per key; Plans Include Complete Renovation and Rebranding as The James Royal Palm; Denihan Hospitality to Remain as Property Management Firm / April 2011

Strategic Hotels and Resorts Completes Recapitalization of the Hotel Del Coronado; Establishes New Joint Venture with Blackstone Real Estate Advisors and KSL Resorts / February 2011

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