Two of Bristol’s Hilton hotels are celebrating after staff members were named winners in the city’s annual hospitality awards.

Chelsie Talbot, from the Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre, was named Rising Star of the Year while Uriah Smith, from DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol City Centre, was named Employee of the Year – Heart of House.

Both establishments are managed by Focus Hotels.

Chelsie actually started her career in 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, first as receptionist and then night auditor.

She then left to work in a different sector for three months before returning to hospitality in January, 2019, this time at the Hampton by Hilton, initially as a receptionist before becoming Guest Services Manager just under a year ago.

She said: “It feels great to be recognised within such a big industry. I love my job here, due to it being different every day, and always unpredictable. It keeps me on my toes.”

Greg Csikos, General Manager of Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre, said: “Chelsie has done very well in the past year. Her ‘always smiley’ attitude is contagious and her upbeat approach every day has a positive impact on the morale and performance of the whole team.

“She started with us as a receptionist but, within a few months, when a guest services manager position became vacant, we had no hesitation in promoting her. She has quickly become a key member of our small management team.”

“I’m very happy that she has won this award, she really deserves it.”

Uriah has worked as a maintenance grounds person and a painter and decorator at DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol City Centre.

He has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years, firstly in Jamaica.

His first job in the UK was at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bristol, joining in March 2017 for a year. He then returned in September 2018 and has been there ever since.

He said: “I felt very excited to win this award, it meant a lot to me. I had tears of joy in my eyes.

“My family in the UK and Jamaica are very proud of me. I love working here because of the people, the guests who come into the hotel and the team I work with.

“I always like meeting people, I like to help and take care of people.”

Imran Ali, General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol City Centre, said: “Uriah’s smile and positive attitude exemplifies the Hilton Effect, bringing the light and warmth of hospitality to all who meet him.

“We have a semi-official policy here that, if any staff member is feeling a bit down in the dumps, they go and spend 30 minutes working alongside Uriah, as he is one of the warmest and friendliest human beings you will ever meet.”

The pair were presented with their awards at the third annual Night of the Stars event, hosted by the Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA).

The evening began with BHA Chair Raphael Herzog presenting a special award to John Dowling, who retired earlier this year as General Manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol City Centre after more than 17 years.

The award recognised the special contribution John has made to the city’s hospitality industry.

Mr Herzog said: “John is an ambassador and has been the face of hotels in Bristol for many years.

Lynn Hood, Chief Operating Officer of Focus Hotels, said: “I would like to congratulate Chelsie and Uriah on their awards, and Greg and Imran for nominating them.

“It’s extremely satisfying to know that we have staff of this calibre working in our hotels, setting a shining example for their colleagues, and this can only reflect positively on the level of service we provide for our guests.

“When someone like John Dowling retires, who has had such a positive impact on the hotel industry, it would be easy to feel there is a huge gap left in his wake.

“But with talented people like Chelsie and Uriah developing their careers, I believe the hospitality industry in Bristol is in good hands.”