CHICAGO—-Hotel Versey, Chicago’s latest lifestyle hotel to open in late spring 2017, announces the appointment of General Manager Stefanie Hrejsa and Operations Manager Scott Ray. The duo each bring 20 years of experience to these roles as the former leadership team of the Days Inn Chicago Hotel, the iconic Lincoln Park-Lakeview property currently being renovated into the Hotel Versey.
Hrejsa and Ray continue to lead the property through its renovation process, which Oxford Hotels & Resorts, LLC, the Chicago-based hotel management affiliate of Oxford Capital Group, LLC, announced in February 2017. Once officially open as Hotel Versey, Hrejsa will continue to serve as the hotel’s general manager, overseeing the hotel’s day-to-day operations, including accounting and revenue management, sales, marketing, and more than 40 employees at the 135-room property. Ray, who has been at Hrejsa’s side as operations manager since 1997, will continue to oversee the hotel’s front-of-house operations, including valet and guest services, maintenance, and housekeeping departments.
“Together, Stefanie and Scott successfully led the Days Inn Chicago for two decades and in that time, got to know the building’s history and clientele intimately,” said John W. Rutledge, founder, president, and chief executive officer of Oxford Hotels & Resorts, LLC and Oxford Capital Group, LLC. “We quickly recognized the value in keeping both of these leaders given their extensive experience and deep dedication to the hotel, its customers, and the neighborhood. We are confident they will achieve even greater results as we transform the Days Inn to the Hotel Versey.”
Hrejsa’s family moved to Chicago from Germany when she was still a young child. She lived in one of the city’s suburbs for several years before returning to Germany, where she completed a three year vocational training program at Paul-Kerschensteiner-Schule, a hospitality school in Bad Überkingen, Germany. While there, she worked at the Hotel am Schlossgarten, a 5-star luxury hotel in Stuttgart, Germany. She participated in a rotation program at this full-service hotel, which allowed her the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of hotel operations through each department.
Upon returning to the U.S. in 1992, Hrejsa received a bachelor’s degree in Business Operations from Devry University. During her studies, she served as a dining room captain and maître d’ at Chez Paul restaurant in Chicago, where she was the first and only female employee at the restaurant. She was eventually promoted to a managerial role, where she assisted with the business’s catering and administrative functions. She next became the general manager of White Manor restaurant before beginning her tenure at the Days Inn Chicago as the director of sales & marketing. Within nine months, she was appointed general manager of the hotel.
In partnership with Ray, Hrejsa has worked to improve the hotel’s efficiency and operations. Some accomplishments include the restructuring of the hotel registration procedures, the completion of multiple small scale renovation projects, and spearheading three different system conversions that involved complete overhauls to the hotel operations management technology. This dedication to the hotel’s continued development and success in annual performance resulted in the hotel being named “Days Inn Property of the Year” winner three times. Hrejsa specifically was recognized for her achievements and received the brand’s ‘General Manager of the Year’ award for two years in a row across the brand’s 1,700 properties worldwide.
Scott Ray graduated from nearby DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and began his career in the hospitality industry as a front desk clerk at a Holiday Inn Springfield, Illinois. He spent the next three years working in food and beverage as a server, host, and bartender before starting at the Days Inn Chicago as Operations Manager. Since then, Ray has continued to take pride in seeing the hotel’s ongoing growth and changes, both operationally speaking and with regards to the hotel’s eclectic clientele.
“Scott and I are excited to continue welcoming in our returning, loyal guests, as well as the diverse demographic the hotel’s new identity will bring,” stated Hrejsa. “We look forward to working with the Oxford team to add another chapter to this building’s colorful story.”
“Stefanie and Scott are the perfect team to help deliver the Hotel Versey experience to our new guests and visitors,” remarked George Jordan, senior vice president of operations at Oxford. “We want guests to feel like they’re locals while staying at the hotel. With these two neighborhood experts overseeing the team, we feel confident that the staff will offer personal, insider tips on how to see and experience the best of Chicago.”