Hundreds of properties in FTG’s worldwide collection submitted nominations for these hospitality industry distinctions. An executive committee then narrowed down the finalists and selected the winners below, who received their plaques at FTG’s Summit at Resorts World Las Vegas on February 28 and 29.

Hotel Employee of the Year sponsored by Frette: Mary Ellen Nichologianis, cocktail serverBoston Harbor Hotel

For the past 18 years, Mary Ellen Nichologianis’ warm smile has greeted the guests at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Boston Harbor Hotel’s Rowes Wharf Bar. Nichologianis has the rare gift that separates good service from great — a genuine interest in the lives of all patrons who have the pleasure of crossing her path.

Nichologianis’ guests leave with the sense of having made a true friend. One incognito inspector shared that Nichologianis recognized him as a returning guest from over a year ago, even recalling that his friend had a broken arm during his last visit. On another occasion, the two ran into one another on the street, and Nichologianis greeted the person by name with her signature warmth. Her natural ability to make each person feel special has allowed her to accomplish a remarkable feat: turning a hotel bar into a place that feels like home.

Hospitality Hero: Yang Deng, senior culturist, Capella Bangkok

Many hospitality professionals will go beyond the call of duty for their guests, but it takes a true hero, such as this year’s winner, Yang Deng, to do so in a crisis. In October, a tragic mass shooting occurred in Bangkok’s Siam Paragon mall, and two Capella Bangkok guests found themselves stranded. The hotel was the only phone number they knew to call, and thankfully, Deng answered.

Over the phone, Deng guided the two people to safety through a parking lot exit and immediately arranged a limousine to meet them. When gridlocked traffic from a heavy rainstorm delayed the vehicle, Deng jumped out of the limo and ran for 30 minutes in the downpour to find them. Deng’s sense of duty did not end once the guests were physically safe back at the property; he continued to check on their emotional well-being during their stay.

Responsible Hospitality sponsored by Nespresso: Amilla Maldives

Four-Star Amilla Maldives is in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and values the natural wonders of the Baa Atoll. The resort acts as a protector of the land, implementing measures to ensure that future generations can also enjoy the beauty of the island. Some of the impressive initiatives taken by the resort include desalinating the drinking water to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles, providing guests with reusable silicone water bottles at the airport, getting 14 percent of its overall energy from solar panels (which is merely the first phase of a bigger solar energy plan), harvesting ingredients for the kitchen and spa from the island’s natural resources, and offering a nesting sanctuary for the white-tailed tropic bird. The resort was the first in the Maldives to study the bird’s nesting behavior, which is a crucial component in protecting the species.

The property shines in other ways as well: the team has been trained on hidden disabilities, such as autism, hearing loss, ADHD and dyslexia, and how certain experiences may be uncomfortable for people with these conditions. The staff ensures that every guest is welcomed and accommodated.

FinalistsThe Bodrum EDITION, Turkey; Conrad Koh Samui, Thailand; Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai, California

Travel Professional of the Year: Sam Lieberman

Sam Lieberman’s passion for travel, impeccable attention to detail, personalized service and genuine relationships with his clients helped him become the second recipient of the Forbes Travel Guide Luxury Travel Professional of the Year title.

Lieberman launched his luxury travel agency, We Know Hotels, only one year ago, and its success speaks to his commitment to sharing his enthusiasm for seeing the world by delivering tailor-made, stress-free travel experiences to his clients.

Young Concierge of the Year: Magali Brandariz, chief concierge, Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

Magali Brandariz earned the title of Les Clefs d’Or’s Young Concierge of the Year because of her achievements as chief concierge of the Four-Star Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires and as the vice president of Les Clefs d’Or Argentina. The prestigious concierge organization also bestowed Brandariz with its Denis O’Brien Award, an honor given to the best young concierge in the world. The recognition is a testimony to Brandariz’s passion for sharing the best that her home city of Buenos Aires has to offer to hotel guests.