The longtime manager of the Hilltop House Hotel and Conference Center has resigned.
Denise Smith ran the 79-room hotel at 400 Trinity Dr. for the last seven years.
On Friday, she discussed with the Los Alamos Daily Post her experiences in Los Alamos and her decision to leave.
“I don’t want anyone to think it’s the hotel – the hotel is fine – I miss my family and I miss my home,” Smith said.
Home is New Orleans. Smith lived through Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and shortly afterward answered a Hilltop House job announcement seeking someone displaced from Katrina.
“I applied online and after several telephone conversations with the operations manager Ron Selvage, he offered me the job and I accepted. “It was a great decision to accept the position because I’m delighted I came here and I’ll tell you why – more than anything it’s because of the people I’ve met,” she said. “I’ve met LANL Director Charlie McMillan twice at events at the hotel and he’s just a great guy. I’ve met Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott; he’s a North Louisiana boy and just a wonderful person. Ron was a great boss to work for, the staff has been wonderful and we have some regular guests that I’m really going to miss.”
Smith recalled arriving in Los Alamos in 2005 with fondness.
“The morning of my first day here, Kim Selvage brought me and the rest of the staff breakfast burritos from Chili Works – that was my first taste of New Mexico chili and I’ve grown to love it,” she said.
Smith isn’t sure what she will do for work when she returns to New Orleans.
She wants to remain in the hospitality industry and said she is considering two job offers at New Orleans hotels.
“I’m very fortunate in this economy to be able to stay in the hospitality industry that I love,” she said. “But I’m really going to miss Los Alamos and the many wonderful people I’ve come to know here.”
Friday, Nov. 16 is Smith’s last day at the Hilltop House and she said that she hopes community members will stop by in the days ahead to say good bye. She can be reached at 662-2441.