ORLANDO, FL February 2021 Downtown Orlando's first lifestyle hotel has tapped industry veteran Robert Mason to forge an innovative beverage and food (BF) program. With plans to shake up the area's cocktail scene, Mason joins the AC Hotel Orlando Downtown as the Director of Beverage Food with more than 35 years of hospitality experience, 20 of those spent in the Central Florida region.
"My passion for using ingredients in new, artistic ways as well as developing innovative food beverage techniques has driven my career over the past three decades," says Mason. "Having worked in Orlando for most of my life, my current aspirations include creating a BF program entirely from scratch that has undeniable appeal for both guests and locals alike."
Mason's inventive BF program for the new AC Hotel Orlando Downtown includes Spanish-style tapas, creative cocktails made with locally sourced and farm-fresh ingredients, and beers from nearby Tampa, Orlando, and South Florida brewers on draft. One of Masons signature creations known as "The Cloud" is inspired by the magic of Orlando and SkyBar's rooftop location seemingly amongst the clouds. The unique libation includes Hendricks Gin and a white orb that when popped gently releases plumes of elderflower herbals. Mason will also oversee the propertys entertainment schedule that will eventually include a live DJ and Spanish guitarist.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Mason started his career with a three-year apprenticeship under Italian master chef Ermes Paulin. Having ignited his passion for creative culinary concepts infused with global flavors, Mason was named Executive Chef of Vic Stewart's Steak House in Walnut Creek, CA, followed by an Executive Chef position for California Cafe, a move that would eventually take Mason to "The City Beautiful." Charged with opening California Cafe's Orlando location, Mason discovered his knack for FB operations, staff development and seasonal menu creation, which earned the restaurant a spot on Florida Trend's list of top 20 restaurants in The Sunshine State.
Mason then joined The Kessler Collection in 2001 as the Executive Chef and Assistant Director of Food Beverage. He opened The Grand Bohemian in Orlando and created the menu for The Boheme, eventually securing its status as a top-rated restaurant in Orlando. Having achieved such notoriety within the culinary community, Mason was invited to the prestigious James Beard House in New York City as a guest chef, which he calls a career-defining moment. On the heels of this, Mason was promoted to Corporate Executive Chef / Food Beverage Director for The Kessler Collection in 2005, overseeing eight portfolio properties including six AAA Four-Diamond operations.
He further expanded his horizons upon taking a new role as Director of Food Beverage for The Westin Imagine Orlando, driving the strategy for its award-winning restaurant, Fiorellas Cucina Toscana. During his six-year tenure, Mason was acknowledged as a pioneer of Orlandos culinary scene and inducted into the Orlando Fine Dining Hall of Fame. Recognized for his leadership, unrelenting drive and eclectic spin on FB, Mason was hired in 2015 as the Director of Food and Beverage for Reunion Resort with responsibilities that included managing daily FB operations, reimagining menus, improving revenue, and supervising nine meetings outlets.
Now ready to oversee the beverage and food program at the brand-new AC Hotel Orlando Downtown, including its signature SkyBar rooftop terrace, Mason is eager to translate his knowledge and experience into a lively cocktail program and provide strategic leadership for the hotels cocktail and culinary concepts.
About AC Hotel Orlando Downtown
The AC Hotel Orlando Downtown, which opened its doors last month, combines the soul of historic Orlando with the timeless sophistication of AC Hotels. Centrally located just blocks from the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, and 20 minutes from Orlando international Airport (MCO) and the University of Central Florida,this stylish hoteloffers a true high-rise experience in the heart of Orlando. Towering over downtown and spread across eight floors, the180-room property managed by Kolter Hospitality features guest rooms with a sleek European-inspired design for todays discerning business and leisure travelers. Three meeting spaces,a fitness center, and SkyBar Rooftop Terrace where panoramic cosmopolitan views and creative mixology go hand-in-hand, round out the amenities. As a part of the SunTrust Plaza building, guests have access to Foxtail Coffee Caf, Bumby Arcade Food Hall and a Grand Central Station style SunRail Station.For more information, call (689) 208-2236, or visitwww.acorlandodowntown.com. Connect with AC Hotel Orlando Downtown on Instagram by following@AC_Orlando_Downtown.