The Kent State University Hotel Celebrates Five Years of Service
More than 100,000 rooms reserved, nearly 146,000 guests served, more than 2,000 events hosted and 89 weddings booked. Those are some of the achievements of the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center since it opened its doors on June 14, 2013, in downtown Kent.
“Opening an independent boutique hotel is a challenging venture,” says Michael Riccio, general manager of the Kent State Hotel. “Our success has been achieved through incredible efforts of team members, the university and the community, all of whom embraced the project. And considering the many interests and challenges along the way, everyone seemed to stay focused on the partnerships and mutual success. This has been tremendously rewarding in that it has provided success for the entire Kent community.”
Two Kent State alumni, Nate Sargent and Sadie Kelly, made history as the first couple to hold their wedding at the hotel, only a few weeks after it opened. Since then, 21 other Kent State graduates have celebrated weddings at the hotel.
Kent State students who want to get their feet wet in the hospitality industry use the Kent State Hotel as a training ground, learning valuable skills to propel their careers. Seventy-eight Kent State students, many from the university’s Hospitality Management program, have served in various roles at the hotel over the years, including as banquet and restaurant servers, cooks, front desk agents and housekeepers.
The hotel’s director of operations, Chris Hebebrand, and wedding and sales coordinator, Andrea Sutton, are graduates of Kent State’s Hospitality Management program. Mr. Hebebrand and Ms. Sutton are using their Kent State education and applying their knowledge to ensure quality service and highly satisfied customers.
Whether it is an after-work gathering, date night or private party, the hotel’s Nineteen10 restaurant and lounge offers a luxury dining experience with a menu that features everything from certified Angus beef steak to soups, salads, fire-grilled pizzas and more.
What is the hotel’s most popular appetizer and dessert?
“House-made sauerkraut balls with cream cheese and fresh-made Italian sausage, and an array of flatbread pizzas for appetizers,” Mr. Riccio says. “And without a doubt, the Kent Signature Torte is our best-selling dessert, which is a delectable, gluten-free chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing and white chocolate flakes.”
The Kent State Hotel goes all out to promote social networking opportunities, bringing families and community members together through some of its events, such as the annual Easter Brunch, happy hour gatherings and art exhibitions that feature works by Kent State students, faculty and staff.
“We are always discussing ways to advance our operation, and we strive to continue to stay ahead of the competition,” Mr. Riccio says. “We are part of this community and look forward to strengthening our relationships.”