Name: Cristian Vasquez
Title: Food and beverage director
Company, city: The Westin New York Grand Central, New York
Number of employees: Approximately 100
Recent project: We implemented a new point of sale system that allows us to better service our guests by making it easier for associates to input orders in the restaurant, bar and room service.
First job: Food and beverage intern, Atlantic City Trump Hotel and Casino
Little-known fact about you: I love the outdoors. I compete in Spartan Races, an obstacle course challenge that tests your strength and endurance.
Essential business philosophy: Treat associates the way you expect them to treat guests. Happy Associate = Happy Guest.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Stay on top of what competitors are doing by experiencing it. Use that information to continually improve what you offer your own guests.
Yardstick of success: Success is more than achieving goals — it’s about learning from your mistakes. As long as I have truly given my all and dedicated 100 percent of myself to a project, I feel a sense of accomplishment.
Cristian Vasquez as a Traveler
What is the most important item you take when traveling? An extra pair of contact lenses; I once tore a contact lens on vacation and spent the week wearing only my left lens!
How do you spend your time on board? Enjoying a glass of red wine and an in-flight movie
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? Daniel by Chef Daniel Boulud serves modern French cuisine with an American touch. It has the best wine list in N.Y.C. — more than 2,000 bottles from all over the world — an incredible seasonal menu and service that’s just extraordinary.
What is your favorite destination in the world? Dominican Republic
About The Westin New York Grand Central
Tell us about THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen, the hotel’s on-site restaurant.
THE LCL or “local” offers creative cocktails and a seasonal menu in a contemporary setting. The name is inspired by the many local elements we offer, from small-batch spirits and regionally brewed craft beers to seasonal dishes with market-fresh ingredients, including items from our rooftop garden. We feature global wine offerings and a rotating selection of Gerber Group’s classic and modern cocktails, alongside a kicked-up comfort food menu with signature favorites like deviled organic eggs, LCL LaFrieda burger and kale salad. We also serve Starbucks coffee, Liquiteria juices and fresh grab-and-go items in the morning. The restaurant’s design is inspired by nature, with a curtain wall of vertical natural walnut planks, soft-colored reflective glass and an illuminated “forest wall” which transitions from day to night.
What can hotel guests expect from the property’s food and beverage experience in 2015?
Weather permitting, we look forward to serving a larger variety of fresh, organic vegetables and salads this summer from our rooftop garden. We’re also excited to offer more interactive food stations in banquets and catering, providing a truly unique experience. We are preparing to roll out a room service program that will enable guests to order through an in-room smart TV. At THE LCL, we’ll continue experimenting with new cocktails and expanding our menu with innovative options while offering the comfort food guests crave when they’re away from home.
What do you see as the latest trends in on-site dining in the hotel industry?
As part of efforts to minimize cost and labor, I think more properties will expand their restaurants to include a grab-and-go option for all meal periods that will eventually reduce or completely replace room service. Hotels can offer guests more variety and fresh, healthier options because products would be made to order and they offer items already prepared. It also has the potential to increase bar revenue by encouraging guests to come down and eat at the bar or pick up a fresh pizza to bring up to their room.
COMO Hotels and Resorts offers travelers new immersive luxury retreats for 2022. Perfect for couples, small groups or solo travelers, the new COMO Journeys are available to book in Australia, Bhutan, Indonesia and Thailand.
There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*
Anantara Chiang Mai, the deluxe resort on the banks of Thailand’s Mae Ping River, relaunched the city’s most famous high tea experience, served on the terrace of the 100-year-old British Consulate that today houses the resort’s Service 1921 Restaurant & Bar.
The Hotel Bel-Air hosts a new end-of-summer BBQ with Master Chef Wolfgang Puck on the lawn of the hotel. The event is back after a three-year hiatus, set to take place Sept. 6. Guests will be able to enjoy an evening featuring backyard-style barbeque and seasonal summer favorites.
Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.
The Oberoi, Marrakech introduces its new holistic wellness program, SAHA. Meaning health in Arabic, SAHA aims to help guests reach their full wellbeing potential. The program operates on four key cornerstones: soul & spirit, active body, holistic treatments and a better plate.
From 24-Hour Butler Service to a Sky Pool: Boutique Luxury Awaits at Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences in Los Cabos
Set on a seaside bluff overlooking Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences is a Baja paradise specializing in serene vistas and impeccable hospitality, offering a Pacific coast lifestyle with authentic Mexican touches. Guests can now earn a fourth night free at the stunning resort, plus a $100 resort credit, when booking through March 20, for travel through June 15.
Emerald Cruises christened its newest Star-Ship, Emerald Luna, in a ceremony in Amsterdam as it prepares to sail the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers of Europe. Equipped to host up to 180 guests, Emerald Luna saw many members of Scenic Group, the parent company of Emerald Cruises, attend the ceremony, including U.S. travel industry advocate and educator Vanessa McGovern, who took honors as godmother during the ceremony.