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New hotel boss believes casinos would attract more visitors

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The new general manager of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess believes the “many benefits” of gambling would help to resurrect Bermuda's tourism industry.

Len Czarnecki, who has 25 years experience, is predicting “exciting times ahead” now that making gambling legal in Bermuda “is back on the table.”

The hotel veteran says the opening of casinos would “undoubtedly attract more people” as many people considered gambling when deciding on travel destinations.

Mr Czarnecki, who is now in his fourth week at the helm of the 410-room hotel, said he was looking forward to working with Tourism Minister Patrice Minors and the Bermuda Hotel Association to “promote tourism as a whole.”

He said: “I want to play an active role in the larger tourism community.

“We are all in this together. We need to work together as given the small size of the Island, what one does affects the other.”

Mr Czarnecki says “Bermuda is not alone” as the hospitality industry is suffering “some very challenging times” as people cut back on vacations.

However, he said the way to increase occupancy rates was to come up with “unique solutions to the global problem.”

Having worked at some of the East Coast's biggest hotels, he said he would use his experience of what American guests wanted out of a vacation.

Mr Czarnecki said people's expectations of travel were always evolving as people “rushed to keep up with the latest and greatest things.”

But he said he would continue to strive for the one thing that people always wanted; “creating a memorable experience for every guest.”

Mr Czarnecki said: “A large segment of people do consider gaming when they are making travel plans.

“For that very reason I welcome the idea of putting the issue of gambling back on the table.

“I can definitely see the many benefits as it brings in so much revenue. The Minister is doing the right thing by putting her personal beliefs aside to let the public have their say.”

Mr Czarnecki spoke out after

The Royal Gazette yesterday reported Ms Minors would put

gambling back up for discussion if the public wanted it, despite her own personal anti-gambling views.

Mr Czarnecki, 44, moved to Bermuda at the end of July with his wife and three children, after various short trips to the Island for business and pleasure.

He said: “Nothing beats working here. I'm already in love with the colour of the ocean, you have that unique greenish-blue thing.

“You are immediately taken in by the Island's beauty. It's a gorgeous place and everyone is so welcoming.”

Mr Czarnecki, who has been with the Fairmont group for more than seven years, described his first few weeks on the job as “incredibly exciting.”

He has been spending a lot of time getting to know the hotel's staff and talking to guests to ask them why they have visited and what they like most about Bermuda.

Mr Czarnecki, who said he had a hands-on management style, said: “The hotel has a really, really great feel to it and a great team of staff.

“The history of the landmark hotel is amazing, it has such a rich heritage and storied past and I want to carry on all the traditions.

“But my main focus is to provide an excellent service for our guests.”

Mr Czarnecki was keeping tight-lipped about what he had planned for the hotel, only saying that he had several ideas “percolating away in my head.”

But Mr Czarnecki said he was all for connecting with the Bermuda community, joking that he had become quite partial to a Dark n' Stormy.

Wearing his Bermuda shorts and knee-high socks, he said: “It's definitely cooler, but I'm still in the self-conscious phase, I think I need to hit the gym a bit more.”

Mr Czarnecki was born in Sacramento, California and brought up in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. He holds a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Mr Czarnecki got into the hotel industry “quite by accident” as he picked up a job as a hotel bellman between semesters in school. He said he “absolutely loved the social aspect and the interaction.”

He worked in all hotel departments including the laundry, restaurant and front office before working his way up to management level.

He formerly worked as the opening general manager of the Fairmont Pittsburgh. He was also a member of SKAL, an international association of travel and tourism professionals, and the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association. He also served as board member of the Greater Pittsburgh Hotel Association and regularly partnered with VisitPittsburgh, the city's Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Mr Czarnecki said it was “quite a juxtaposition” coming to one of Fairmont's oldest properties the Fairmont Hamilton Princess celebrated its 125th anniversary last year.

Prior to the Fairmont Pittsburgh, Mr Czarnecki worked as manager at The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. Before then he held managerial positions at New York hotels including the Plaza Hotel, The Regency, The Hilton New York, The Waldorf Astoria, and New York Renaissance Hotel.

Mr Czarnecki replaces former General Manager Jon Crellin at The Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

The two men remain friends having worked together at the Copley Plaza in Boston. Mr Czarnecki jokingly refers to Mr Crellin as “Mr Boston.” Mr Crellin now heads up The Boston Harbour Hotel.

Paul Tormey, regional vice president of Fairmont Northeast US and Bermuda, said: “Len will be a wonderful leader for the talented team of colleagues.

“As the former general manager of The Fairmont Hamilton Princess, the property is a special one to me, and I know that Len's commitment to guest service and quality will ensure that the hotel is successful and maintains its prominence in the community.”

Leonard S. Czarnecki the new General Manager at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.
Exiting times ahead: The new boss of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Len Czarnecki.
Leonard S. Czarnecki the new General Manager at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. (Photo by Mark Tatem)
Leonard S. Czarnecki the new General Manager at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published August 24, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 24, 2011 at 8:11 am)

New hotel boss believes casinos would attract more visitors

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