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Hilton names Rochester hotel as top in North America

Hilton Worldwide announced this week that the Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area, which opened in 2019, is being honored with the 2021 Connie Award by Hilton Worldwide. That means the Rochester hotel at 10 E. Center St. is deemed as the top North American Hilton hotel with 500 rooms or less.

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Jake Kaput with Hilton Hotel guest services takes a phone call Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at the downtown Rochester hotel.
Post Bulletin file photo
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ROCHESTER — Hilton Worldwide is naming a downtown Rochester hotel, considered to be the legacy project of the late developer Gus Chafoulias , as the brand’s top hotel for its size in North America.

Hilton announced this week that the Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area , which opened in 2019, is being honored with the 2021 Connie Award by Hilton Worldwide.

That means the Rochester hotel at 10 E. Center St. is deemed as the top North American Hilton hotel with 500 rooms or less. There are 300 hotels in that category.

“Rochester is a unique community, unlike most destinations. We make it our mission to find thoughtful ways to accommodate our guests,” stated Hilton Rochester General Manager Miki Radovanovic in the announcement of the award. “We are honored to receive this award and be recognized for the work that we do and for a spotlight to be shined on the city of Rochester.”

Hilton describes the Connie Award, named after founder Conrad Hilton, as “the highest award granted by Hilton Worldwide and showcases the ‘best of the best’ for each brand within the Hilton portfolio.”

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The award is based on a combined ranking of overall experience and overall service plus quality assurance audits to track cleanliness, hotel condition, compliance with brand standards and accommodations.

Radovanovic is also the chief operating officer for Avra Hospitality, which manages the Hilton Rochester, the Doubletree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Rochester. All three hotels were developed by the Chafoulias family led by the late Gus Chafoulias and his son Andy Chafoulias . The elder Chafoulias died in 2020.

The Hilton Rochester was built by the Chafoulias family’s Titan Development & Investments and Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors, of Chicago.

“This hotel was Gus’ legacy project from day one. He was super excited about it,” added Radovanovic.

The 264-room luxury hotel opened in 2019 just before the COVID pandemic derailed the hospitality industry. Radovanovic pointed out that while the hotel won the Connie for 2021, the Hilton Rochester was also ranked as the top North American hotel in 2019 and 2020.

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“In 2019, they didn't give this award, because we were not open for a full calendar year. And in 2020, they didn't present this award, because we were in the middle of the pandemic. Finally, in 2021, they felt we had recovered enough as an industry to present the award,” he said.

More than 100 employees work at the hotel.

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in "Heard on the Street." Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Jeff at 507-285-7798 or jkiger@postbulletin.com.
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