From Dishwasher to Hotel Executive

The next time you check into a Kimpton Hotel, especially if it’s a Palomar, know that a kid from Matamoros aka Heroica, Mexico had his hand in your hotel experience. Beginning as dishwasher at the Ritz Carlton in Houston, Texas, to his present title as Vice President of Openings and Transitions for the Kimpton hotels, Jorge Trevino has worked his way up.

Learning English by working in the summers as a camp counselor across the border in Brownsville, Texas, Trevino’s hotel career began as a server in the Ritz-Carlton employee break room. He worked his way up to dishwasher, then to banquets, then to fine dining, and after ten years to an Executive.

Of his transition as a VP with Kimpton Hotels, Trevino says it all began when a friend would call him and say, “Hey you little Mexican, we’re trying to open and create a new style of hotels in San Francisco. I think you’d be good at it.”

Intrigued, Trevino met with founder of the boutique hotel chain, Bill Kimpton, and ended up being the guy to give the Spanish name Palomar to several of Kimpton’s hotels.  

A saavy operator, Trevino talks about his first meeting with Kimpton, 13 years ago.

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“After my interview, I sent a thank you note. But in addition, I sent a Tiffany dove charm. I knew the company was struggling with names, so in the note I included the English translation of the Spanish word “Palomar.”

“It means dovecote or dove’s nest. A place to me that felt serene and peaceful. We’ve gotten a lot legs with that name,” Trevino says. Trevino was hired as General Manager.

Of the over 50 hotels in the Kimpton chain, six carry the Palomar name. The concept behind the hotels is to offer great customer service while maintaining a unique personality and style at each location.

“Every General Manager is encouraged to bring their own ‘mojo’ to their property,” Trevino says.

Trevino himself is the definition of the kind of heartfelt hospitality the hotels strive to project.

In 2011, Kimpton Hotels were named #16 in the 100 Best Companies To Work For by Fortune Magazine.

Kimpton is also on a constant mission to include their restaurants into the mix. Trevino says the motto is “Restaurants are for the locals and hotels are for the guests”. 

Trevino has been featured in multiple publications as one of the few Latinos in executive hotel jobs. He travels constantly and over-sees every hotel at the point they become part of the Kimpton brand. 

“As a Latino, it’s really a part of our culture to be almost over-welcoming to the guests in our home,” he said. “We take great pride in hosting people. We roll out the red carpet no matter what income level we live on.”

Rebekah Sager is a writer and editor for She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager.