Twenty Years in Vancouver

by Bryan White

Thanksgiving, and the transition to Christmas and the New Year

Thanksgiving was just days ago. Now, many are getting into the Christmas spirit. We have placed our Christmas decorations on display. If you haven’t seen our lobby decked out for the holidays, you need to visit. If you haven’t been to Hudson’s for a Grand Buffet, it’s time to change that. The holidays are here and we’ve made the transition. And now, we want to take a moment for one more thing for which we are thankful. This month marked a significant point of gratitude for us: Twenty years of serving our guests and clients.

Twenty years of the Heathman Lodge

Over two decades, we have taken a front-row seat and played a part as Vancouver grew up around us. We’ve developed beautiful and meaningful relationships with local and visiting guests. We’ve coordinated and served local businesses large and small. As a result, many of those guests and companies have come back time after time, year after year.

We have staff members who have been with the hotel since we opened the doors. Others have chosen to work at the Lodge or Hudson’s because of our reputation in Vancouver. Some selected us for what we call “Lodge Culture”. Similarly, some joined our team when they discovered our leadership in the Northwest in ecological responsibility.

Then there are people like me who worked here and at our sister properties before. We moved away to follow different opportunities. Eventually, we found our way back to the Lodge. There are several cases. It surprised me to find out how many people I still knew a decade later, and you would be as well.

Northwest influence from a family company

The Heathman Lodge and its family have quietly influenced the Northwest in many ways. Over several decades leading to the construction of the Heathman Lodge, they’ve moved the Pacific Northwest in many ways. These include the timber industry and guiding barges along the Columbia. They even have a vineyard on Underwood Mountain. Indeed, these are only a few examples. There are many more.

Additionally, they’ve given generously to well-deserving organizations throughout Oregon, Washington, and Britsh Columbia.

When I was in high school, I was able to visit several times construction. I watched as the Lodge took its form. It was amazing to see the transformation from an empty lot to a resort-like lodge. I had the opportunity to meet the man who first envisioned this hotel. Like many in his family, he was a dreamer who made wonderful things happen. He would pass away just months before the Lodge opened its doors.

As the dream came together, so did the beginnings of our excellent staff. Those who moved on to other opportunities or retirement left their mark behind. Others lead in constantly improving what we offer.

An ever-growing reputation

Today, we’re well-known throughout the Pacific Northwest. When I meet new people in Portland and tell them where I work, 85% know and love the Lodge. Obviously, that percentage is much higher in Vancouver. Sometimes, they’ve not visited for a while. I love inviting them to return.

Guest service

We search every day to find new and innovative ways to serve our guests. We love combining high-tech and high-touch services with our hand-hewn hospitality.

Our award-winning sales and marketing team constantly innovates creative ways to attract and serve new clients.

Sustainability

We continue to make advances in sustainability. Recently, we removed the candles in the Fireside Lounge due to the fumes they give off. Hudson’s replaced those candles with Edison LED bulbs that change the feel of the lounge slightly while reducing overall fumes substantially. They also better illuminate the food on your table if that’s where you dine.

Maintenance

The back-of-house staff efficiently tackles every new challenge that comes their way. Our housekeeping and maintenance staff helped our management company beta test our Computerized Maintenance Management System. Today, we have spread that system to several of our sister properties. The CMMS allows us to track maintenance needs and keep things from breaking. Because of this system, you’re much less likely to be the one who discovers a problem. When things do break, we have the solution ready and waiting, so you don’t have to wait.

Banquets

Our banquets staff place a special call button in every ballroom or meeting space. Do you need anything? Tap the button. One of their staff will be at your side surprisingly quickly. No more hunting down someone for some help.

Innovation at Hudson’s

Hudson’s Bar & Grill’s chefs continuously invent¬†new and exciting dishes and drinks. For instance, Chef Ray Delgado came up with a tasty turnip soup last month. If you’ve not tried it, then it’s time for you to stop by for a visit.

Giving back to the community

Several years ago, Brandon, one of our front desk agents received some of the worst medical news one can hear: He had cancer. He successfully fought it off, but when it came back, it did so with a vengeance. Our team put together the Helping Hands to help Brandon’s family financially. Last summer, Heathman Helping Hands was revitalized with several projects, and the team is ramping up into 2018. From cleaning up a school play structure to helping less fortunate kids in Vancouver to be ready for school, this group seeks out and assists deserving organizations in the local community like Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools¬†(below). In this way, the Helping Hands carries on Brandon’s legacy, just as he requested.

Brady Wilkerson and Erin Stepanek present a check for the funds raised at the Heathman Helping Hands Charity Golf Tournament for Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools

Twenty years of memories

We bring about all the innovations as mentioned above for one reason. We want your stay or meal to be an excellent memory. When you stay with us, we want to remove as many travel headaches as we can.

In our banquet space, our innovations serve two distinct purposes. They make clients’ meetings visually pleasing yet distraction-free.

Companies and summits can better focus their participants on the information at hand.

Likewise, those using our ballrooms for celebrations and personal events know we’re taking care of all the technical details. Whether you’re hosting a family reunion, holiday party, class reunion, celebration of life, graduation party, or any other event, you’ll receive the same quality of service we give companies who pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for all our banquet space for a week.

Likewise, even wedding parties can leave all the details to us. From arrival until the couple retires to their Romance Package suite, we make everything perfect. It’s likely your first wedding. Yours might be our thousandth.

We give families a place and a way to reconnect with our family suites. It’s so easy to make the Heathman Lodge your home away from home. This allows you to travel the Pacific Northwest like never before. You can quickly get out and explore Vancouver and Portland from our front door. Mount Saint Helens, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and the Columbia Gorge? They’re what we call our backyard.

No matter why you visit the Heathman Lodge, you’re sure to walk away with fond memories.

What are your favorite memories of the Heathman Lodge? Let us know in the comments below.