Downtown Anchorage seen with the Alaska Range to the north.
Ken Graham

Grande and Bluffs Shine at Stars of the Industry Awards Banquet

Monday, June 10, 2019

The visitor industry in Alaska celebrated their exemplary managers and properties at the 21st annual Alaska Hotel and Lodging Association (AkH&LA) Stars of the Industry Awards on March 30 in Anchorage at the Hotel Captain Cook.  Staff from the Grande Denali Lodge and Denali Bluffs Hotel won three awards for properties of 150 Rooms or more.

Deanna Thomson, Chef de Cuisine at the Mountaineer Grill and Bar at the Denali Bluffs Hotel, was named Best Kitchen Manager of the Year.  Deanna holds an AAS in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge, MA.  A native of Maine, Deanna worked at the Walt Disney Resort, Hard Rock Casinos, and Royal Blues Hotel, before coming to Alaska to work at the Grande Denali Lodge in 2015.  She was promoted to oversee the Mountaineer at the Denali Bluffs Hotel the following summer, and we value her wide range of experience as well as her ability to organize, plan and achieve in the challenging kitchen at the Mountaineer Grill and Bar.

Born in London and raised in San Antonio, TX by career Air Force parents, Danielle Arellano, awarded Guest Services Manager of the Year, credits her family with instilling in her the advice, knowledge and confidence to follow any career she chose.  Her family’s motto is, “Do your best, your very best, and do it every day!”  With an attitude like that, it is clear what an asset Danielle is to the team!

Julio Quinonez was named the 2018 Housekeeping Manager of the Year.  Julio hails from California and is well known for his great attitude. Julio has worked for our properties since 2013.  A truly talented Housekeeping Professional, Julio is a rare commodity:  he truly enjoys making messy things clean, getting items organized and tidy, and he often finds cost savings along the way! Julio is a meticulous person with an ebullient personality and an energetic eye for both dirt and detail and has served the Grande Denali Lodge as at the heart of our operations.

Joe Merrill, Vice President of Tourism for Old Harbor Native Corporation said, “The secret to our success is simple.  We’re a family out here at the entrance to Denali National Park.  Our core team comes back year after year, we improve every year, and we’re able to provide the best experience to our guests because of our commitment to the product and our hotel properties.”

Denali Hotel Properties -- Grande Denali Lodge and Denali Bluffs Hotel -- are open seasonally from mid-May to mid-September.  The properties include 336 guest rooms plus 6 private cabins, the Alpenglow Restaurant & Lounge, the Mountaineer Grill & Bar, the Peak Espresso Stand and the Perky Moose Pantry & Café. The properties feature magnificent views of the surrounding areas from their natural settings on the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain and offer special discount offers to members of the military, Alaska residents, members of AARP and AAA throughout the season. For reservations and information, visit our website: www.denalialaska.com or call us at:  855-683-8600.

Denali Hotel Properties are authentically Alaskan owned and operated by Old Harbor Native Corporation.