Walter Isenberg is Co-Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of Sage Hospitality, one of the top hotel investment, management and development companies in the United States for more than 30 years. Based in Denver, Sage Hospitality owns and operates over 75 hotels and 10 restaurants in 23 states, from urban full-service hotels to smaller select-service suburban properties. Isenberg directs all company operations, including property management, development and finance.
Isenberg co-founded Sage Hospitality in 1984 with partner Zachary Neumeyer. The company’s history in hospitality includes ground-up development, historic-adaptive re-use, acquisitions and third-party management. Sage hotels include well known brands such as JW Marriott, Renaissance, Westin and Hilton, as well as several independent hotels. In 2006, Sage formed the Sage Restaurant Group, which operates unique high-volume restaurants inside its urban hotels.
Sage Hospitality has been consistently recognized for its significant commitment to corporate citizenship. The company was the first recipient of Marriott International’s “Spirit to Serve Award,” which is given annually to a franchise partner that lives the vision to be an outstanding corporate citizen. Sage Hospitality has also been an industry leader in implementing green operating practices, committed to developing Gold and Silver LEED certified hotels as well as making it a company-wide mission to make each of its hotels as environmentally friendly as possible. Sage Hospitality has also been recognized for its superior customer service, receiving Excellence in Service awards at many of its hotels. Sage’s development group has won numerous awards for excellence in the development of hotels and has been nationally recognized as a leader in historic preservation.
A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Isenberg is a member of the American Hotel Lodging Association Government Affairs committee as well as Marriott International and Starwood Owner Advisory Boards. Isenberg was recently inducted into Denver & Colorado’s Tourism Hall of Fame, which is the highest award given by Denver’s travel industry. Active in the community, he currently serves on the boards of Visit Denver, The Downtown Denver Partnership, The Children’s Hospital Foundation, Colorado Concern and the Metropolitan State University of Denver Board of Trustees.
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Bijal Patel, 31, is CEO of Coast Redwood Hospitality and the youngest chair of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. He’s made even more history at CHLA by agreeing to serve an unprecedented second term as the lodging industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Patel is a third-generation hotelier. Being so steeped in hospitality at such a young age is not new for members of the Indian American hotelier community, but Patel fears the pandemic has drained the industry of emerging talent. Lodging Leaders spotlights Patel, who represents a leadership demographic that is fighting for the life of the hospitality industry as they watch their peers veer toward other career paths.
Many hotels these days have made room for guests with disabilities. Hotel managers and staff should also know what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about accommodating guests with pets. During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people added a pet to their household and now they’re bringing Fido along on vacation. Hotel employees need to know how to cater to both consumers who are pet owners as well as guests who travel with a trained service animal. Episode 329 of Lodging Leaders podcast reports on how the ADA defines a service animal and how a hotel is legally obligated to serve a guest who comes with a dog or any other animal.