By Cary Shuman
Hilton Garden In Boston Logan Airport has tabbed Rick Roberto as its new general manager.
Roberto, who along with current Hilton Garden Inn sales manager Steve Haley helped pioneer the resurgence of the hospitality industry next door in Chelsea, began in his new position on Dec. 29 at the 178-room hotel that has become a treasured addition to the East Boston community since its opening in August, 2015.
“It feels great to be a part of the team and I’m very excited to be here at this beautiful, new hotel,” said Roberto, a graduate of Bentley University. “We have a great staff that is very professional.”
Roberto is very familiar with Eastie, having been on board as the general manager when the Wyndham Hotel in Chelsea opened in 2001. He served as the GM for 14 years, overseeing the first major hotel in Chelsea that became the centerpiece of the urban renewal district that now includes the headquarters for the Boston office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Roberto and Haley were a very successful team at the Chelsea hotel. They also became well-known personalities in the area, attending Chamber of Commerce events, participating in community service projects, and hosting local organizations’ meetings and functions at the hotel.
The two longtime hospitality industry professionals are pleased to be reunited at the Hilton Garden Inn.
“It’s good to have Rick Roberto here because he knows the market, knows the area, and knows the airport,” lauded Haley. “To have another person with experience in this market is key.”
“The contacts that Steve and I have developed over the years make it easier for us to secure business,” said Roberto.
Prior to his arrival at Hilton, Roberto was the general manager for two independent hotels. Wishing to return to the area, he decided to pursue the managerial opening at Hilton Garden Inn.
“I enjoyed working in the airport market in the East Boston/Chelsea area, and the Hilton being one of the leading brands out there today, this was a great opportunity,” said Roberto, who is married and has three children. “Hilton is one of the leaders in this market.”
Haley, a graduate of UMass/Amherst, said he was happy with Hilton Garden Inn’s instant reception by travelers in the market. The hotel’s Garden Grille has become a popular destination for breakfast and dinner while the function room has been host to weddings, quinceañeras, Sweet 16 parties, bar mitzvahs, campaign receptions, and installations.
“Considering that we have only been open for a year-and-a-half – 2016 was out first full year – we have come a long way to become one of the top hotels in this market by far,” said Haley. “It’s happened because of ownership, management, excellent staff, and great corporate support. We finished in 2016 in the top five percent of all Hilton Garden Inns in brand performance.”
“Our ownership is very involved and wants to do whatever it can to make sure the hotel is successful, a great place to stay, and a great place to work,” said Roberto.
Hilton Garden Inn has made its impact with its generosity toward the Salesian Boys and Girls Club and its participation in the East Boston Chamber of Commerce.
“We pride ourselves on being a part of the community between all the charity work that we’ve done and our involvement in civic events,” said Haley.
At the hotel Roberto oversees a staff of approximately 75 employees, many of whom live in East Boston.