Business students aid in first opening of city luxury hotel

For the first time, a group of students from the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management help open a hotel in Center City Philadelphia.

The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management is putting its students’ skills into action. For the first time in Temple’s history, STHM is assisting with the opening of a local hotel.

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia is located in the heart of Center City near Rittenhouse Square, on 17th Street between Walnut and Chestnut streets. It is scheduled to make its grand opening this Thursday, Oct. 15.

The STHM program reached out to the hotel when members learned of its planning.

“Essentially, what we wanted to do was begin the cultivation of a long-term relationship,” said Managing Director for Corporate Relations Gregory DeShields, who facilitated the relationship between the university and Hotel Palomar.

“The relationship could include everything from placement opportunities, special projects, research collaboration and volunteer work.”

Hotel Palomar is a pet-friendly hotel, featuring 194 guestrooms, 19 spa rooms and 17 suites. It boasts an eco-friendly design and atmosphere, which will soon receive certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design.

It will be the first Philadelphia hotel to be LEED-certified.

“A LEED certification means that the materials used to build the building are recyclable materials,” Hotel Palomar Director of Sales and Marketing Bradley Pacana said.

Labeled as a luxury hotel, Hotel Palomar provides usual amenities like complimentary newspapers and coffee, as well as overnight shoe-shining and a 24-hour fitness center. The hotel also includes a wellness and spa program.

“They gave us a tour, and it’s beautiful,” freshman tourism and hospitality management major Emilie Davis said.

Several groups of Temple students were involved with preparation of the hotel’s opening. The students were charged with tasks, such as a media marketing campaign and a six-week mass marketing campaign.

Davis volunteered three times for the Center City hotel.

“We would stand in different places in the city and hand out brochures and bookmarks with the hotel logo on it,” Davis said.

Another group served as hotel ambassadors, who “worked to provide first impression information about the hotel for visitors who are inquisitive about the property,” DeShields said.

Currently, two Temple graduate students are employed with Hotel Palomar. Senior hospitality management major Edward Redding is currently working as an intern for the luxury hotel.

“When I started, it was just me and all the department heads,” Redding said. “It was interesting watching them staff the hotel and watching them work from the ground up, seeing stuff I’d usually never get to see.”

Redding is working with the housekeeping department to prepare rooms – completing inspections, categorizing and directing problems and ensuring that “everything from the garbage cans to the clock radios” is in place.

“Housekeeping is one of the most important parts of the hotel, and staff wise, it’s the largest,” Redding said. “I’m really getting a good idea of what that takes and how to keep it organized.”

Redding said he would consider working at the hotel after he graduates.

“Everyone at the hotel is ridiculously friendly, and it’s just fun to be there,” he said. “The management is great, and they have a great staff.”

Future volunteer opportunities include giving tours of the hotel.

“It gets me excited for what I’m majoring in,” Davis said, “and shows me the different aspects of what I can do with my major.”

Grace Dickinson can be reached at grace.dickison@temple.edu.

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