Inaugural Hospitality Awards Bestowed – SALT Awards by Visit Salt Lake

Mayuko Davidson VSL award winner

Hospitality employees provide vital support for Salt Lake County’s visitor economy. Visit Salt Lake recognized the stars of our tourism industry at the inaugural SALT Awards held June 16 at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre.

These awards celebrated hospitality workers who exemplify Service, Accomplishment, Leadership and Tenacity, with categories for both front and back of the house in lodging and dining. A “Scenemaker” award was given for service in industries including attractions, venues, caterers and transportation providers, and an overall Spirit of Service Award was bestowed. Each award recipient was recognized with an engraved SALT crystal award and a check for $1,000.

“We’re so proud of our hospitality workers in Salt Lake County,” said Kaitlin Eskelson, president & CEO. “They’re on the front lines every day and really are the backbone of our visitor economy. This is a great way to honor our colleagues by celebrating their service to our community.”

This year’s sponsors include the Penthouse Suite Sponsor, Nicholas & Co. and the Presidential Suite sponsor, Modern Display.

The “Dining – Behind the Scenes” award went to Javier Robles, Grand America Banquet Manager. His colleagues shared: “Javier always goes above and beyond when managing events at the Grand America and Little America. Paying attention to every detail, he works tirelessly to make sure every event is perfect. He’s never stressed, always puts others first and makes everyone feel like a good friend. Every company needs someone like him.”

The “Dining – Front & Center Award was awarded to Ramon Morales, Market Street Grill Busser. Those nominating him had high praise: “Ramon has worked for the Market Street Grill Downtown for over 30 years and is the very embodiment of service. He has created personal relationships with thousands of guests and works to keep our city blocks clean. He’s always there, opening doors, feeding parking meters and helping folks to their cars, and he is compassionate, caring for those less fortunate, offering refreshing beverages to those in need.”

The “Lodging – Behind the Scenes” Award winner was Maria (Lulu) Amador, Courtyard/Residence Inn Salt Lake City Airport Director of Housekeeping. Her co-workers said of her, “Lulu is the backbone of her hotel and one of the most tenacious leaders in the industry. There is nothing she cannot or will not do. Her standards are high, and she cares deeply for her team, consistently finding ways to celebrate them. She is a superhero who deserves the highest praise. We are lucky to have her on our team.”

The “Lodging Front & Center” Award was given to Danielle Dahle, Residence Inn by Marriott Guest Services Agent. Admiration for her included, “Dani juggles working full time and attending school. She is so exceptional at customer service, creating magical moments for our guests. She always sees what a guest needs before they can ask. She is always helping others, including helping elderly residents and bringing Christmas to a family in need. She brings magic to the hotel every day.”

The “Scenemaker” award for exceptional service for industries including attractions, venues, caterers and transportation providers went to Mayuko Davidson, Operations Manager for Western Leisure. Her co-workers said of her, “an accomplished operations manager, Mayuko has worked with Western Leisure for more than 20 years. She ensures a seamless, stellar experience for all their clients by securing the best accommodations, restaurants and tour operators. She makes certain that every detail, down to the minute, is in place for her valued clients, double and triple checking her multiple resources to make sure everyone has the most up-to-date information.”

The Overall Spirit of Service Award was bestowed upon Mirsada Fitozovic, Housekeeping Coordinator for Hilton Salt Lake City Center. She was lauded by her peers, “After moving to Utah from Europe, Mirsada has been with the Hilton Salt Lake City Center for more than 25 years and has provided outstanding service through her tenure. From serving as an essential part of the Hilton 2002 Winter Olympics Team, to helping guests find their way during an earthquake, to laundering, starching and ironing a guest’s shirt for a pending interview, she always goes the extra mile. She came up with creative solutions for the staff to continue to provide a high level of service during the pandemic. She is a fighter … and she’s also family to the Hilton team.”

Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at several sites including Gastronomic SLC, Utah Now and, The Utah Review; Stuart is a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune and has worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.