June 24, 2009 --There's a new general manager at the Grand Bohemian, downtown Orlando's only luxury hotel. Sholeh Kia started work at the Orange Avenue hotel earlier this month, according to the Kessler Collection, the locally based group owned by hotelier Richard Kessler.
Kia has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She previously worked for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, a San Francisco-based company that develops and manages boutique properties. Kia served as general manager of three hotels in the Washington, D.C., area for that company, said Monika Morrobel, a Kessler Collection spokeswoman.
"She just has incredible expertise and knowledge," Morrobel said. "She'll definitely be an asset."
Kia replaces Stuart Newmark, who was general manager of the hotel when it first opened in 2001. In 2005, Kessler made Newmark senior vice president of operations for the hotel group, but Newmark returned to the helm of the Grand Bohemian in late 2007, saying at the time that he "couldn't resist the temptation" to come back and pursue his true passion of running a top-flight hotel.
The Kessler Collection would not discuss Newmark's departure, except to say that the hotel was without a general manager for a couple months after he decided to leave. Newmark, an active member of the local hospitality industry, resigned last week from his position as secretary of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association.
The 250-room Grand Bohemian Hotel opened newly built in 2001 at 325 S. Orange Ave. as the Westin Grand Bohemian. But Kessler cut its ties to the Westin chain in late 2006.