When the current ownership group of Summit’s Grand Summit Hotel took over the property more than 40 years ago, they did it with an 'old school' mentality in mind. The Country was built on the backs of individual entrepreneurs who built their businesses in local communities, catering to locals while employing the same throughout the counties adjacent to the business.
In a time where globalization is all the rage, independent hotel owners continue to forge ahead with businesses rooted in the communities that cater and employs locals while attracting guests and employees from all over the world.
At a time when many hotels are owned by overseas entities faceless in their communities, the management team and ownership of The Grand Summit Hotel takes pride in being out front, living and engaging in the communities they serve. We have found that treating our customers with the highest level of service and respect has created many customers for life.
“The number of repeat customers we have is amazing,” says long time Director of Catering Jimmy Thornton. “I have customers who have done all of their children’s weddings with me, and now I am doing their baby showers and children’s Bar Mitzvahs.”
Relationships like these with our customers have fostered a family atmosphere that the hotel employs in its operations and carries over to its relationship with our guests. “It’s almost like we become a part of their family,” adds Assistant Director of Catering Teresa Garcia-Rosado. “It is always exciting when couples that were married by me 10 years ago stop by to say hello and take a look at the ballroom where they celebrated their big day.”
One of the hotel’s signature moves is to invite the bride and groom back on their one year anniversary to stay in one of their historic suites compliments of the hotel.
The hotel’s ownership team and many of the managers and employees live in and around the hotel, and this has really fostered the feeling of welcoming friends and relatives into the building as one would in their private residence.
“Hosting family and friends and by extension, their family and friends is a heavy responsibility, and one we take seriously,” says Assistant General Manager Michael Marino. “Whether it be a large social event, a meeting, an overnight stay, or a meal in our wildly popular HAT Tavern, the experience for us in not unlike hosting someone in your own home. You want them walking away feeling well taken care of.”
The management team and ownership group also believe in the current revolution sweeping the American countryside. There is a really strong effort to work with local artisans, craftsmen, food artisans, and coffee roasters. The HAT Tavern has been at the forefront of partnering with local brewers who deliver craft beer to the hotel on their own without the modern assistance of heavy distribution. The result is hard to find independent ales that can only be found in places that go out of their way to do the necessary extra work to secure such distinct offerings.
The hotel and The HAT Tavern also work with purveyors to bring in food product from local vendors direct from the source. Mozzarella from Summit and Hoboken’s Hoboken Farms, Ketchup from First Fields Ketchup, Fresh Seafood from Archer Seafood, and Zita’s Ice Cream, considered by many to be the area’s most popular.
When the hotel rolled out its Arts & Crafts Lobby Bar earlier this year and partnered with Newark's Law Coffee and its signature Shadowbrook Coffee. The result has been a fresh coffee product unlike anything offered in the area including the only Nitro Brewed Iced Coffee.
The beverage is an Ironbound Cold Brew on tap served like a Guinness Beer attracting fans from throughout the area to take the drive to the leafy suburb of Summit. Additional offerings include the areas only Aqua Vitea Kombucha offering for the healthy minded beverage seekers. Locally owned HB+M Chocolate is the sweets provider for the new bar. Of course, beer on tap and wine by the glass is an extension of the HAT’s extensive selection.
The hotel recently began a partnership with the area’s hottest new fitness and spa facility. Overnight guests of the hotel are permitted to use Equinox Sports Club Summit, considered to the preeminent choice for the workout set. As soon as you step inside the state of the art facility, you immediately realize that you have entered something very different with all the fit and finish of a company committed to bringing the best the fitness and spa business has to offer. The hotel is joining Equinox and the Summit Running Company for a Pub Run to support the Other Fellow Foundation whose goal is to assist New Jersey families in distress.
The Grand Summit Hotel and HAT Tavern have also been long time participants in doing their best to keep the planet in mind. Green initiatives include a comprehensive recycling program, a water and energy conservation program, food composting, hazardous waste disposal, and supporting the Community FoodBank of New Jersey providing food to those in need.
The hotel is also in year five of its relationship with Frank Juliano of the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit, who has provided the hotel with artwork from artists as far away as Brooklyn. Many of the art pieces in the hotel were created by local artists with a portion of the proceeds going to the Arboretum.
The result has been a well-received program that has been the talk of locals from Short Hills and Summit who appreciate fine art and all it has done to add the culture of the outer boroughs to the sleepy bedroom community. “Many of us live in the community, and by partnering with local organizations, we really strive to be a place people can call their own,” concludes Marino.