Red Lobster and Olive Garden are now recognizable in Town Center, on State Road 100. That means Flagler residents will soon be able to crack crustaceans and twirl spaghetti on their forks.
It also means big business for the Hilton Garden Inn, near Interstate 95. The hotel, which opened Dec. 29, 2008, signed one of its biggest contracts: 700 room nights reserved from January to March, to train employees of the restaurants’ parent company, Darden.
“It’s one of the largest group-contract agreements we’ve done,” said Janice Nickol, director of sales at the Hilton.
City Council member Mary DiStefano praised the contract. City Manager Jim Landon added that it was significant because these are “primary dollars” coming from outside the city.
The Hilton also gained attention for being environmentally friendly, earning the Sustainability Merit Award from the Florida Planning and Zoning Association.
“The Hilton Garden Inn of Palm Coast/Town Center was designed and built, and now operated, with sustainability as a key feature of its business plan,” said FPZA’s John G. Thomson. “The Hilton Garden Inn embraced the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Green Lodging Program criteria to utilize cost-saving green practices that reduce waste and conserve natural resources. This led to the Hilton Garden Inn’s certification by DEP as a Green Lodging facility and also earned it a Go Green award by the city of Palm Coast.”
Nickol said the employees at the hotel are focused on recycling. Operations Manager Fernando D. Lago said the hotel produces 50 to 120 pounds of recyclable material per week — material that could have ended up in the garbage bins, if the employees weren’t conscientious.
— Brian McMillan