During the widespread power outages that swept through Texas in February, Dallas resident Ezell Holley was displaced from his home and stayed at a local hotel, which the family jokingly nicknamed the “Waldorf Astoria.” Holley would end up receiving an incredible surprise when Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, one of Waldorf Astoria’s 32 global luxury properties, gifted him with a future multi-night stay at the hotel.
The Rome Cavalieri hotel took notice of Holley when his granddaughter started documenting Holley’s difficult situation on her social feed and was immediately inspired by his incredibly positive attitude and cheery disposition. The thoughtful and quick-thinking hotel team was able to connect with the family through social media and offer Holley a complimentary three-night stay in Rome as soon as it is feasible and safe to travel again. Holley’s granddaughter, who happens to be FOX29 Philadelphia Anchor Alex Holley, captured his reaction to the gift on video and shared it on a subsequent “Good Day Philadelphia” segment and on her social media channels.
Known for their elegant and anticipatory service, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s iconic luxury brand, decided to take this one step further and offer Holley an additional three nights at any Waldorf Astoria property globally as well as round trip airfare to Rome for him and a guest.
“I fell in love with Rome while being stationed in Germany and traveling throughout Europe with the U.S. Army many years ago,” Holley said. “When I was there last, I threw coins in the Trevi Fountain, and they say if you throw coins in, that means you will return to Rome. I was never sure I would get back to that beautiful city. To have received such an amazing gift from a hotel in a place that I hold very dear in my heart was an incredible surprise and I’m very grateful.”
Holley had been planning his first trip back to Rome right before the pandemic hit but was unable to make the trip due to the global travel restrictions. This will be the first time he has stayed in a Waldorf Astoria property and as he says, “I never dreamed I would stay in a place like this.”
“When we saw Ms. Holley’s segment about her grandfather, we were taken by his humor and positive spirit during the extremely challenging times in Texas,” said Alessandro Cabella, general manager, Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. “The hotel’s marketing team had the idea to reward Mr. Holley’s infectious smile and support of the Waldorf Astoria brand with a ‘surprise and delight’ stay at Rome Cavalieri. We would be honored to welcome him back to Rome and look forward to his good cheer lighting up our hotel.”
Knowing that Holley might not be able to travel to Rome in the near future, the Rome Cavalieri team decided to bring a luxury hotel experience directly to him by sending a care package including a hotel bathrobe, slippers, luggage tag and more to use while he plans ahead for his upcoming trip.
Once Holley is able to safely travel to the destination, the Rome Cavalieri team stands at the ready to welcome him with an authentic Roman experience, in true Waldorf Astoria fashion. Awaiting him at the hotel will be an elegantly appointed guestroom with breathtaking city views, delightful dining showcasing the best of Rome’s recipes and ingredients, a dazzling museum-worthy art collection, world-class spa, keys to local culture and much more.
Over the past year, Hilton has launched several new initiatives to adapt to the needs of guests – from adjusting flexible cancellation policies and extending Hilton Honors benefits to introducing Hilton CleanStay, an industry-leading cleanliness and disinfection program.
UDPATE: This fall, Holley and his granddaughter Alex were able to safely book and travel to their trip to Rome — rooms and airfare courtesy of Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and the Waldorf Astoria brand. The hotel staff was very excited to plan a memorable itinerary and overjoyed when the family arrived at the property. Holley experienced a VIP welcome, with the property team greeting him upon arrival and checking him into the Penthouse Suite, the hotel’s premier accommodation that features a private rooftop hot tub with amazing city views.
“This is an incredible story for us and for the Holley family,” said General Manager Alessandro Cabella. “This is what hospitality is all about: warmth, comfort, and the human touch. We are thrilled to have played a part in this memorable travel experience and think our Italian hospitality helped to make it even more unforgettable."
Highlights of the trip for the Holleys include seeing the incredible sites of Rome, like the Trevi Fountain, as well as impromptu moments provided by Rome Cavalieri, like taking a spin around the hotel driveway in a vintage converted electric FIAT 500 Spiaggina, and a spur of the moment hot chocolate tasting at the Imperial Lounge.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 19 world-class brands comprising more than 7,100 properties and more than 1.1 million rooms, in 123 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for six consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the more than 150 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
About Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is a portfolio of more than 30 iconic properties that creates a unique sense of place with a relentless commitment to elegant service, one-of-a-kind experiences and culinary expertise in landmark destinations around the world. Inspired by their timeless environments and sincerely elegant service, Waldorf Astoria hotels deliver an effortless experience seamlessly, creating a true sense of place for guests through stunning architecture, iconic Peacock Alley, refined art collections and elevated in-room amenities. In addition to the brand’s world-class hotel offerings, Waldorf Astoria boasts a global residential portfolio that provides the comfort of a private home combined with unsurpassed amenities and high-touch service. Waldorf Astoria is part of Hilton, a leading global hospitality company. Experience an unforgettable stay at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts by booking at waldorfastoria.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts at stories.hilton.com/waldorfastoria, and follow the brand on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.