Santaniello leaves Steamboat Grand |

Santaniello leaves Steamboat Grand

Hotel manager off to Ritz-Carlton

John Santaniello, vice president and general manager of the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel and Conference Center, has resigned to become general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Club, Bachelor Gulch near Beaver Creek.

In addition, Santaniello will have responsibilities for newly developed Ritz-Carlton “residence and club” facilities in San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas, Kapalua, Maui and Ko’Olina, Oahu.

Santaniello began working at the Steamboat Grand in August 2002 and made improving customer service his mission. The hotel has been awarded the AAA four-diamond rating the past two years.

Before coming to Steamboat, Santaniello was general manager of lodging operations for Keystone. He has spent nine years with Ritz-Carlton earlier in his career.

The Ritz-Carlton Club, Bachelor Gulch comprises 54 residences in which owners acquire a 1/12-interest at prices ranging form $150,000 to $290,000 for two- to three-bedroom units.

The 15-month-old Ritz-Carlton Club is a companion to the 237-room Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch resort. Members of the club enjoy access to the resort hotel’s dining rooms, golf privileges and spa facilities.

Santaniello took a very methodical approach to improving customer service during his tenure at the Steamboat Grand. His goal was to create “magic moments” for hotel guests. However, there was nothing magical about the way he set about training his employees to work their magic.

His approach was based on putting well-thought-out policies into writing.

“That was my greatest challenge when I got here,” Santaniello said during a speaking engagement last year. “You’ve got to get this stuff in writing. If you have unwritten policies and procedures, they are never going to be understood by employees. We have to know how to prepare our staffers to know when the moment is magical — getting to the moment is critical.”

Magic moments in customer service take place when hotel guests perceive that their interaction with employees is genuine, Santaniello said. Another key element is exceeding customers’ expectations.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond is consulting with Santaniello about the leadership transition at the Steamboat Grand and has begun the search for a replacement, Ski Corp. spokesman Mike Lane said.

Santaniello is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a degree in European history, French and linguistics. He also holds a master’s degree in professional studies in hotel management from Cornell University.

— To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail

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