Nobody throws a party like Hyatt Regency Saipan. This was evident Monday night when the islands’ only international brand name hotel celebrated its 33rd anniversary.
With black and gold the dominant hues inside the cavernous SandCastle Theater, a total of 203 well-heeled guests—well above the expected 160—poneyed up the $100 per plate fee for admission.
By all accounts, it was a well-spent Benjamin Franklin note as guests not only got to savor a sumptuous seven-course meal meticulously prepared by Hyatt executive chef Gabrielle Colombo and his team but also enjoyed an enthralling magic show by SandCastle’s award-winning magicians Chris Zubrick and Ryan Makowski, with their lovely assistant Jessica.
Guests, which also included officials from the travel and hotel industry and Hyatt partners, also got to bid on several items and join a raffle for, among others, lunch and dinners buffets, massage sessions, hotel stays, and the likes.
In-house music for the evening was provided by Hyatt’s resident band, Mario and Friends, while Brad Ruszala served as the evening’s host.
Heart of Gold benefits MINA
Hyatt’s 33rd anniversary party was also held for a good cause, as proceeds from the event will be donated to the non-profit environment group Mariana Islands Nature Alliance.
“Tonight the Heart of Gold concept is being revived after 20 years. Twenty years ago, Hyatt Regency Saipan held the Heart of Gold fundraiser with the American Red Cross-NMI Chapter as the benefiary. Tonight we do the same with the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance,” said Hyatt general manager Nick Nishikawa, who’s been with the landmark Garapan site the past five years and five months.
“On behalf of the leadership team of Hyatt Regency Saipan, I would like to express my many thanks for the overwhelming support toward our 33rd anniversary celebration to benefit MINA. We look forward to many more years of authentic hospitality in the CNMI! I would also like to say thank you to all of you and thank you to all associates and travel agents of Japan, Korea, China, and Russia. Without your support, Hyatt Regency Saipan wouldn’t be here today,” he added.
MINA board chair Frankie Eliptico said the money donated by Hyatt will help the group sustain its many projects, including mitigation efforts to keep trash away from the islands’ waters and an ambitious plan to ban the use of plastic bags by 2015.
Hyatt also took time to honor three of its wait staff who were present the last time the hotel held its Heart of Gold signature fundraising event in 1993.
Sally Delos Santos, Ernie Garcia, and Arnie Casaclang were invited on stage and were recognized for more than 20 years of service to the hotel.
In an interview, Garcia said that Hyatt Regency Saipan has undergone a lot of changes since 1993 but one constant is Hyatt’s high standard of customer service.
For her part, Delos Santos said it’s been a privilege to work for Hyatt and she has enjoyed the more than 20 years she has worked for the hotel chain.
Casaclang, meanwhile, regards Hyatt as part of his extended family. He also likes the way the hotel chain always trains people to improve and get better.
Hyatt human resources director Josephine Mesta, who was also was present during the inaugural Heart of Gold two decades ago, seconded her staff’s sentiments.
“I couldn’t also imagine working here for the past 20 years. It’s a place where I finally found my passion. Like them, this is home for me and we’ve really made a pretty good family here at Hyatt.”