Our People

Executive Team

Vijay Patel

Vijay Patel is the owner and operator of A-1 Hospitality Group. Born in Uganda, Vijay moved to India in 1972, where he completed a degree in Commerce, specializing in accounts and economics from the MS University of Baroda. Vijay moved to London, England in 1982 and studied business at London University. Initially, he worked in his family’s retail operation, which he later sold. He also worked in grocery and retail chain management in London. In 1994, Vijay, emigrated to the United States with his wife Mita, daughter Preena and son Taran. At that time, he took over the management of a family-owned motel in Klamath Falls, OR. In 1997, Vijay and Mita acquired their first property, and have regularly added properties to their management group since that time.

Vijay is active in his community and the hotel and hospitality industry. He participates in several professional organizations dedicated to the growth and improvement of hospitality management. He also serves as a receiver for troubled hotel properties.

Vijay Patel

President

Taran Patel

Taran is a second generation hotelier and currently the Vice President and CFO of A-1 Hospitality Group. He is responsible for the overall strategic growth of A-1 Hospitality, overseeing portfolio profitability, along with managing investor and lender relationship of A-1 Hospitality.

Taran is also and active member of IHG’s Owners Association, Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA), Washington Hospitality Association (WHA),as well as serving as a Northwest Regional Ambassador for the American Asian Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)

Taran holds a Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A) from the University of Portland. As well as dual Bachelors in Business Administration Finance and Pre-Law from Washington State University.

With franchise affiliations with Marriott, IHG, Wyndham and an Independent Boutique Hotel, A-1 Hospitality possesses a diverse portfolio comprised of the industry’s leading brands.

Taran Patel, MBA

Managing Principal

Corporate Team

Amy Smith

Regional Operations Manager

Amy Smith has been in the hotel industry for 20 years. Her first management position was a front desk manager at a 248-room Best Western in Idaho Falls, ID. After a short time, she was promoted to the Director of Sales and supervised four Sales Managers.

In 1997, she became the General Manager at a major hotel chain in Spokane, WA. While in Spokane, she learned about hotel operations, which complemented her knowledge of hospitality sales and marketing. From 2000 to 2005, she was the lead project manager for two new hotel openings and also served as the operator for the completed properties. She has an extensive knowledge of the building process and what needs to be accomplished during construction. She is the Regional Operations Manager for A-1 Hospitality Group and also manages our Holiday Inn Express in Pasco, WA.

Amy Smith

Regional Director of Operations

Preena Patel

Preena has 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. She has served as a Front Desk Representative, the Director of Sales, and the Operations Manager for A-1 Hospitality Group. Preena currently assists in overseeing the operations at A-1 Hospitality Group and future property development. As the Operations Manager, Preena oversees employee training and guest satisfaction. Preena is a Certified Airline & Hotel Specialist, accredited by the International & Air Hospitality Academy and holds a Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University.

Preena Patel

Administrator of Operations

Veronica Chavez

Veronica Chavez has been with our team last 13 years. In the hospitality industry for 15 years Veronica has an extensive background in leading people and mentoring them along the way. She is instrumental in training our teams at our hotels and takes on the task with great enthusiasm as well as serving as Assistant General Manager / Head Housekeeper at our Pasco, Holiday Inn Express.

Veronica moved to Pasco from South Oregon. She’s honest and hardworking with solid work ethics, always taking ownership of all aspects of a task or project. Leading as an example, Guest expectations are always first.

My Family is my motivation, the simple aspects of life are the most enjoyable , movies and time with family at soccer games my passion.

Veronica Chavez

Director of Facilities

Eddy Vanrenterghem

Born and raised in Belgium, Europe. Attended hotel schools, culinary and classic white table cloth service training in Belgium and France. After several years of positions in fine dining kitchens and restaurants, Eddy “evolved” into restaurant management but quickly moved into international F&B and executive management for hotels in Europe with Hilton International, Middle East and Africa with Meridien, and the Far East with hotels such as Sahid Jaya, Regal Riverside and others before coming to the US for the Carnelian Room in San Francisco. Eddy joined the Columbia Gorge Hotel & Spa in May 2017 as the General Manager.

Eddy is married and lives now in Hood River, OR. He and Liliane have one son and 4 grandchildren.

Eddy Vanrenterghem

Food and Beverage Operations

Christie-Blazon

Christie Blazon

Bookkeeper

Columbia Hotel Management
IHG
Mariott
Wyndham
Columbia River Gorge Hotel
Columbia Hotel Management
IHG
Mariott
Wyndham
Columbia River Gorge Hotel
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