ATLANTIC CITY — For the 20th year, the people who try to give visitors pleasant memories of their stay in the resort were treated like royalty for a night.

More than 200 people attended the Atlantic City Host Awards and Spirit of Hospitality Award formal gala Wednesday evening in the Adrian Phillips Theater at Boardwalk Hall.

There were five finalists in 27 different categories with one person named in the best in such areas as spa personnel, cocktail server, cashier, reservationist, butler and valet.

The honorees could have had full stomachs before they entered the theater for their sit-down meal.

The appetizers available on the concourse during the reception hour included teriyaki beef and chicken, carved pork shank and veal manchego sliders.

Commander Tom Gilbert of the Atlantic City Tourism District received the Spirit of Hospitality award.

Gilbert has been in the job for the five and a half years since the formation of the Tourism District.

He said he was second in command of the State Police of New Jersey. But in his current job, he has no authority over anyone. He just has to get people to work together.

“There were all good pieces. You just have to bundle them up together to get good results,” Gilbert said.

The people being honored Wednesday night are the people in the trenches every day, and they are like ambassadors to the city, Gilbert said.

“It’s important that they look at themselves that way,” Gilbert said. “This is a great chance for them to get recognition.”

Chris Howard, the executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, served as master of ceremonies. He presented Gilbert with his award.

Howard, who has been with the agency since August and in his current position since January, said he thought the host awards were a great idea when he found out about it.

“These people are the face of the tourism industry,” Howard said.

The resort has made improvements in recent years in both the perception and the reality of how safe it is.

Scott Grandy, 47, of Galloway Township, has worked as a room server waiter for the past 21 years at Harrah’s Resort.

Grandy was a nominee this year.

“I go above and beyond my duties,” said Grandy, who added some customers ask for him by name. “I like interacting the customers. Different customers have different personalities.”

A complete list of winners was not available for print Wednesday night. Visit www.pressofac.com Thursday to view the list of winners.

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