Tailwater Connie Award Winner
Success Rooted in Outstanding Customer Service
Altmar, NY – Hilton honors the Tailwater Lodge with the Connie Award, the highest award for customer service.
A Tailwater-Hilton collaboration means guests will find even more services and amenities at the upscale Tailwater Lodge, a popular Altmar, NY, lodge known to fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. Consequently, the partnership is a win-win for long-time customers of both hoteliers.
The word lodge often denotes rustic but at the Tailwater, expect Connie Award-Winning unparalleled attention to details and unrivaled customer service.
A fellow angler recently told me, “I’m done with scaled-down fishing lodges. I stay at the Tailwater because I want comfort and great food.”
About the Connie Award
Jenna Hackett – Tapestry Collection by Hilton global head
“The Connie Award is the highest hotel award for all brands across Hilton. The winning hotels are the perfect balance of product and outstanding service scores. There are only a few Connie Awards per brand awarded annually, making it extremely competitive to win,” says Jenna Hackett, Tapestry Collection by Hilton global head. “These hotels embody founder Conrad Hilton’s dream of spreading the light and warmth of hospitality and living his shared values each and every day. This distinguished award is presented to properties who have excelled in customer satisfaction and loyalty based on guest feedback and quality assurance standards.”
Before my arrival at the Tailwater two weeks ago, after four previous visits to the lodge in less than five years, I was curious how the Tailwater-Hilton collaboration affects the lodge’s overall theme. I reached out to Tom Fernandez, Woodbine Group representative, for answers.
Scroll down to read my interview with Tom Fernandez, Woodbine Group representative.
How do you describe your company’s relationship with the Hilton?
We are part of the Hilton Tapestry Collection. Tapestry is a Hilton Soft Brand meaning that the hotel maintains it’s ownership, branding, original fit, and finish. We are still owned by the Woodbine Hospitality Group and we continue to be an Orvis Endorsed Lodge.
What’s the significance of the Tapestry Collection and how does the Tailwater fit into that category?
Tapestry is a grouping of hotels that are very similar to independent properties. The focus of the brand is creating a high level of guest experience in nontraditional properties. Tailwater Lodge is a perfect example of the Tapestry collection – adaptive re-use of an elementary school re-purposed into a high-end lodge. We are the epitome of the brand.
How did the relationship evolve?
Tailwater Lodge’s sister property Hotel Skyler was asked to be the first hotel for Hilton’s Tapestry Collection. In conversations, both Hilton and Tailwater believed the brand would be mutually beneficial for Tailwater. So… Tailwater was Hilton’s third Tapestry hotel and we were awarded the Connie Award, the highest award Hilton gives for Customer Service. We have had a wonderful time being part of the Hilton Family and helping to grow the Tapestry Brand.
What Tailwater qualities have you retained and where will your longtime guests notice the changes?
I would say all qualities were retained. The only customer-facing differences are the online booking engine and the ability to be part of Hilton’s Honor Program.
How did your designers incorporate the new addition, spa, and pool design, so it remains consistent with the Tailwater’s lodge-like atmosphere and the antiquity of the original building?
The Third Phase of Tailwater focused on bringing additional amenities and guest rooms. We wanted to make sure that the addition was of the same feeling as the original space but highlighted some new aspects. Guests will find similar finishes, but some different tones throughout the space. We also wanted to make sure that our amenities and common areas worked well, for families, fishermen and women, bridal parties, and corporate guests.
How do the original rooms in the Altmar school differ from the new guest rooms?
I would say they are very similar. We were no longer working within the confines of the school building so we were able to have some fun with the space. The biggest change to the guest rooms was the addition of desks and desk chairs for either some business or maybe some fly tying. We also were able to create two suites that are truly standouts at the property.
There’s so much discussion about branding. How did the change affect the Tailwater brand or is your brand a work in progress?
Hilton doesn’t really change our branding, we are still Tailwater Lodge and we are continuously adding to our brand.
How did the spa’s name evolve and who would you say is your target audience? Bridal parties? Fishermen? Do you have any anglers’ specials or deals my readers should be aware of?
Our Spa is a Hilton Spa. Eforea can be found all over the world. Again, it was inspired and designed by our team, especially the small touches like the steelhead tiles throughout the cobblestone floor in the space. We are part of a global brand but designed and operated by Woodbine Hospitality Group. Our clientele ranges from day-use, overnight leisure guests, bridal parties, and our fisherman specials will actually begin next week.
Overall, I’m curious how your teams – Tailwater and the Hilton – agreed upon the upscale fishing lodge idea? Does the Hilton partner with other lodges?
Tapestry is an interesting brand. I do believe we are the only lodge as part of the Hilton Collection but that’s not say there may not be more in the future.
Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit. The Tailwater Lodge pool is a wonderful way to wind down after a long day outdoors.
Want to Learn More About The Lodge?
Jenna noted properties in both the Curio and Tapestry Collection portfolios must feature a unique story and honor that story by weaving extraordinary elements, not limited to design components and an array of top-notch on-property amenities throughout the hotel. She explained,
“Properties in both the Curio and Tapestry Collection portfolios must feature a unique story and honor that story by weaving it into elements throughout the hotel – from design components to on-property amenities. As a result, we have been able to provide guests with one-of-a-kind experiences at over 100 unique destinations, like those available at Tailwater Lodge Altmar. This off-the-beaten-path location is ideal for the Tapestry Collection guest, who we know is an adventure-seeker that wants to experience and explore a destination to its fullest. After a long day of fishing on the Salmon River, explorers can wind down with a craft beer at The Tasting Room or treat themselves to a massage at eforea spa.”
– Jenna Hackett
As the seasons evolve from fall to winter, plan a weekend of salmon or steelhead fishing or map out a hike in Altmar. Contact the Tailwater to book your weekend getaway and inquire about upcoming events at and around the lodge.
Take a few minutes to read my Tailwater companion stories.
My accommodations at the Tailwater were comped but my opinions are my own and based on my experiences.
Joan Mead-Matsui is a five-time award-winning freelance journalist; travel writer and photographer. She covers news and features’ stories that range from unique travel accessories and products to destinations and attractions. Prior to launching her websites, https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com and https://chigirie.com, Joan was a full-time freelance content and features writer for print and digital news sources and magazines.