City center hotel gets new management – The Suffolk News-Herald
The new Managing Director of the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront & Suffolk Conference Center arrives in downtown Suffolk after more than 30 years of experience with the Hilton brand.
Richmond native Kevin Wolfe took charge of the hotel and conference center earlier this year with the departure of longtime manager Brian Williams.
“I’m happy to be here,” Wolfe said. “It’s a great company, I’m happy to work for them and I’m really proud of our team. We have beefed up our staff over the past two months and are really happy to be back.
Wolfe said he turned to hospitality early in his career, starting out in the restaurant and bar industry and then moving into management.
He was General Manager of the Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel before joining John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts in 1998. He has managed Hilton and IHG properties in Raleigh, North Carolina; Charleston, West Virginia; San-Francisco; Montgomery, Alabama; and Baltimore.
Wolfe likes to tell people that he and his wife, Courtney, left Virginia as a newly married couple in the late ’90s and returned home with three children. In 2005, the Wolfe family returned to Virginia and settled in Suffolk as part of the management team that opened the Embassy Suites Hotel and the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton.
These three children, all young men, are Thomas, now a junior at Nansemond River High School; Sam, a freshman at Clemson University in South Carolina; and Jack, a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Wolfe said his favorite part of his job is the people.
“I like the people I work with,” he said. “I love interacting with customers and I love interacting with employees and staff. This is really what it is.
As the General Manager, that means Wolfe is responsible for everything at the hotel, but he certainly doesn’t do it alone.
“It really takes everyone – the guy doing the dishes, the ladies and gentlemen who take care of the rooms every day, the people ahead who check people in and say hello. We are like a small town; we have our own laundry, we have our own housekeeping team. It takes everyone.
Wolfe said the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for the hospitality industry and keeps coming back. While the hotel business at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront has never completely closed, the restaurant has closed, and conventions and events have been severely curtailed since March 2020. Now that part of the industry is returning, the problems supply chain for items like linens are becoming more of a problem.
“It was the biggest change of all time,” he said of the pandemic in relation to his career. “But I think this part of Virginia has weathered the storm much better than New York or Baltimore, and other big cities with really big hotels.”
Overall, Wolfe said he was happy to run the Hilton.
“I was delighted to have the opportunity to work at this beautiful property here,” he said.