Meetings Professionals Name the “Best Overall Boutique & Lifestyle Hotel Brand”

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, November 6, 2018… BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, announces its signature brand, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®, has taken top honors in Northstar Meetings Group’s prestigious 2018 Stella Awards. Meetings and events professionals and a panel of judges named it the Best Overall Boutique & Lifestyle Hotel Brand. The distinguished brand portfolio of BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels spans 26 distinguished properties in unique domestic and international destinations. Benchmark Resorts & Hotels surpassed major established and respected global lifestyle brands for the award.

With nearly 10,000 votes cast in the United States and globally, honors are awarded in 18 categories celebrating overall excellence, superb food and beverage, professionalism of staff, technology innovations, and other critical aspects of the meetings and event experience. Finalists in each category are determined by industry professionals during an open voting period, while winners are selected by an expert panel of judges overseen by the editors of Northstar Meetings Group's leading publications, Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings. The complete list of winners can be found at

“It is an extraordinary honor to receive the Stella Award and to be recognized as the Best Boutique & Lifestyle Hotel Brand,” said Ted Davis, Benchmark’s chief sales and marketing officer. “It’s a wonderful tribute to our incredible staff who fulfill our mission of providing inspiring, memorable and transformational experiences for our meeting and leisure guests. We are especially proud that in a business environment of formidable competition from larger and highly respected brands, America's meeting planning professionals and media experts recognized Benchmark Resorts & Hotels’ exceptional destinations, superb facilities and pioneering contributions to the meetings industry," he said. Mr. Davis notes that the awards process is very thorough and demands careful preparation in order to meet the rigorous standards established by Northstar Media Group. “The competition is really in two phases – first, to be voted as a finalist by one of our most important audiences – meeting planning professionals. The next step is to present a comprehensive overview of every aspect of our meetings product to a prominent group of meetings experts, guided by the editors at Northstar Media’s foremost meetings magazines.” In creating a winning presentation, Benchmark focused on the industry’s demand for innovative conference support, flexible, productive meeting spaces, creative teambuilding programs and events, and immersive experiences in extraordinary destinations. Once an afterthought in the conference business, culinary excellence and innovation are expected. In 2017, Benchmark launched a total revamping of its culinary product and positioning spanning all restaurants bars and banquet facilities with the support of award-winning and celebrity chef Stephan Pyles.

“A Stella Award is the finest symbol of excellence for suppliers in the meetings industry,” said Lori Cioffi, senior vice president and chief content director for the Northstar Meetings Group. “Meeting planning is a methodical process, and attention to detail is a critical factor for success. We’ve brought that ethic to the Stella Awards. It’s a competitive, year-long nomination and evaluation process to identify and honor excellence in the meetings industry. This year’s winners are a stellar class.”

A pioneer in the global meetings industry, Benchmark has 40 years of experience in managing and marketing resorts, hotels and conference centers. A founding member of IACC, Benchmark continues to work with industry leaders, spearheading projects such as the IACC Meeting Room of the Future. Many Benchmark Resorts & Hotels’ properties are certified by IACC, meeting the association’s stringent standards for excellence in technology, facilities, dining and program innovation. Many have also been recognized with the coveted Benchmark Conference Centers® certification of meeting excellence.

Ted Davis notes that Benchmark’s success is based on its commitment to creating unique experiences in every aspect of the meeting or event. “Our teams carefully curate experiences that stimulate guests’ imaginations and offer a strong sense of place, capturing the character and allure of the destination. For example, inventive teambuilding exercise can include a wolf encounter in Colorado, paragliding in Wyoming, boat building in California, a surfing lesson on Oahu, plus an array of exercise from golf and culinary contests to Improv theater. Since Benchmark’s properties are located in diverse and dynamic locations, the company has developed memorable offsite events that give attendees a chance to explore their ideas in unique settings. Planners can host a board meeting in the captain’s cabin of a WWII battleship, a dinner under the Statue of Liberty or a brainstorming session in the middle of ancient red rock formations in Colorado.

Says Ted Davis,” After nearly forty years delivering unrivaled meetings and conferences, some might say Benchmark is an institution. But we’re far from institutional. As our Stella Award for Best Overall Boutique & Lifestyle Hotel Brand would suggest, we’re keeping things fresh, forward-focused and always centered on creating extraordinary and transformational experiences that inspire, surprise and delight attendees.”