October 31, 2023 | Operations
The soon-to-open AC Hotel by Marriott in Naples, Florida, has recruited an executive leadership team that blends dynamic brand experience with deep community connections.
OTO Development, part of The Johnson Group, is developing and will manage AC Hotel by Marriott Naples 5th Avenue, which is slated to open mid-December 2023.
Jacob Kucinski is General Manager of the new AC Hotel in Naples and Kimberly Hilty is Director of Sales. Douglas Gaquer is Food & Beverage Director with oversight of Limón, the hotel’s signature rooftop restaurant and bar.
“Bringing this new hotel to the heart of Old Naples is truly a highlight of my career,” says Kucinski, whose industry accolades include JHM Hotels’ Rookie of the Year and OTO Development’s Service Champion of the Year. “I’ve worked within the AC Hotels brand for the past six years — I love its distinctive aesthetic, which is absolutely ideal for this destination. The design marries European sophistication to the spirit of Southwest Florida, with local and regional artwork lending a definite sense of place.”
A decade of hospitality success led Kucinski to his current role at Naples’ newest lifestyle hotel. He previously served as general manager of AC Hotel Spartanburg in Upstate South Carolina, where his team consistently ranked in the Top 3 in guest satisfaction scores across the entire AC Hotels brand.
“The AC motto is to provide guests with everything they need — and nothing they don’t — and today’s travelers appreciate that,” Kucinski says. “Form balances perfectly with function here; the style is sleek but there are so many practical comforts, too.”
Away from the hotel, Kucinski spends as much time as possible at the beach. He also loves checking out new restaurants and consuming all forms of media. An advocate of community service, he recently became treasurer of the Naples Design District.
Kimberly Hilty brings more than 20 years of hospitality sales and marketing savvy — as well as solid connections within the Naples community — to her role leading the sales effort at the new AC Hotel.
A graduate of Penn State University, Hilty began her career at a convention hotel in downtown Philadelphia. Her company sent her to Naples on a task force assignment … and she never left.
“I fell instantly in love with Southwest Florida,” Hilty says, “and ever since, it’s been my privilege to help visitors feel the same way.”
After adopting Naples as her hometown, Hilty went on to open four hotels in the city — Inn on Fifth and three Marriott properties — and she’s eager to evolve this depth and breadth of experience at the highly anticipated AC Hotel.
“I’m so excited to bring this destination hotel to life,” she says.
Out of the office, Hilty can typically be found either on the golf course or on the Gulf. A former collegiate swimmer, she still enjoys athletic challenges such as triathlons, open water swims, and cycling events.
Douglas Gaquer brings 16 results-driven years in the corporate restaurant space to his role as opening director of food and beverage at Limón. In addition to management positions with Brinker International and Darden Inc., he has worked in boutique hotels, an ideal combination of experience for his current moment.
“I’ve always been passionate about delivering exceptional service and exceeding expectations,” says Gaquer, whose previous venue twice earned honors as Tampa Bay’s Best Rooftop Dining as chosen by readers of Tampa (Florida) magazine. “The opportunity to do so in Naples, the epicenter of upscale dining in Southwest Florida, is truly intriguing.”
Limon’s menu is based on Mediterranean traditions with a modern twist, Gaquer says, and he looks forward to creating a unique culinary experience for visitors and locals alike.
“This rooftop space is designed for everyone who loves interesting dishes and drinks,” he says.
Outside the professional kitchen, Gaquer consistently volunteers with soup kitchens and other programs that address food insecurity. His community service also includes mentoring aspiring athletes and supporting sports initiatives for people living with disabilities. A fitness enthusiast with a passion for healthy cooking, he is an avid kiteboarder and runner with a particular affinity for half-marathons.
Scheduled to open in December 2023, the three-story, 150-room AC Hotel Naples 5th Avenue is located at 455 12th St. South in the heart of Naples, Florida. It’s the hospitality component of Naples Square, a mixed-use development master-planned by Wheelock Street Capital and The Ronto Group which also comprises nearly 300 luxury condominium units, multiple restaurants, and a 350-seat performing arts complex.
OTO Development project partners for AC Hotel Naples 5th Avenue include MHK Architecture & Planning, architect; DLR Group, interior designer; DeAngelis Diamond, general contractor; and Kevin Barry Art Advisory, art curator.