Los Abrigados Resort & Spa’s Red Rock Fantasy has been honored as the nation’s outstanding ongoing hospitality special event in the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s 36th Annual Stars of the Industry Awards Program, sponsored by Visa U.S.A.
The award was accepted by Joe Martori, chairman of ILX Resorts, operator of the 185-room resort and spa complex at an awards luncheon during the AH&LA Annual Conference & Leadership Forum/The Lodging Expo at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.
Los Abrigados was the only Arizona property to win an award in this year’s competition.
The awards, created in 1966, acknowledge individual properties that have developed outstanding public relations campaigns. Categories include community service; enviro-management; guest relations; special events, one-time only and ongoing; and hotels of promise—reflecting the industry’s commitment to America’s Promise -The Alliance for Youth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building the character and competence of the nation’s youth.
“We are deeply honored to receive this award of such high distinction,” Martori said. “Over the past 11 years Red Rock Fantasy has become an important annual holiday celebration for all of Arizona. This past year was especially significant because of the fact that substantial proceeds from the event benefited the Twin Towers Orphan Fund for the children of those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, as well as the Jazz on The Rocks Youth Music Education Programs in Sedona.”
Red Rock Fantasy, an annual light extravaganza hosted by Los Abrigados, runs from Thanksgiving through mid-January. Over the past decade, the event has raised more than $100,000 for selected charities. Originally a small light show hosted by the 22-acre resort, it has grown to feature more than one million lights and 50 individual displays built by Arizona families and organizations. The resort provides each display creator with 15,000 lights and assorted other materials to fuel “their labor of love.” The contestants have one week to set up their displays, during which time accommodations, meals, and entertainment are provided. The resort tallies the ballots of the 200,000 visitors to determine the winner, who wins a one-week vacation ownership with ILX Resorts in perpetuity.
Other winners in the annual competition included some of the nation’s leading hotel and resort properties, including: The Sherry-Netherland in New York, N.Y.; The Doubletree Hotel & Warren Place in Tulsa, Okla.; The Admiral Lehigh Golf Resort & Spa in Lehigh Acres, Fla.; The Comfort Inn & Suites Boston; The Glorietta Bay Inn in Coronado, Calif.; The Peabody Orlando in Orlando, Fla.; The Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, Mass.; The Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.; and The Lenox Suites Hotel in Chicago, Ill.
Many of AH&LA’s member state associations choose their own property award winners, that are then submitted to the association for national judging. Making the decisions in this year’s competition were Phil Hayward, publisher/editor, Lodging Magazine; Ginger Croce, director of communications, American Bus Association; Allan Kay, manager of industry relations, Travel Industry Association of America; and Bill Dobbins, vice president of merchant sales, Visa U.S.A.
AH&LA is a 92-year-old federation of state lodging associations throughout the United States with some 13,000 property members worldwide, representing more than 1.7 million guest rooms. AH&LA provides its members with assistance in operations, education, and communications, and lobbies on Capitol Hill to provide a business climate in which the industry can continue to prosper. Individual state associations provide representation at the state level and offer many additional cost-saving benefits.
ILX Resorts Incorporated (AMEX: ILX) develops, operates and markets upscale vacation ownership resorts. The Company’s current portfolio of resorts consists of six resorts in Arizona, one in Indiana, one in Colorado, one in San Carlos, Mexico, and land adjacent to an existing resort in northern Arizona for which the Company holds development rights. It also, through Premiere Vacation Club, has acquired and continues to acquire inventory at The Carriage House in Las Vegas. The Company markets its vacation ownership interests primarily through its Premiere Vacation Club. Internet users can visit the ILX Resorts Incorporated web site at http://www.ilxresorts.com.