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10 Questions | Kenta Kamohara, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Napa Valley

10 Questions: Be his guest: Kamohara leads American Canyon hotel

Kenta Kamohara, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Napa Valley

Kenta Kamohara, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Napa Valley

Kenta Kamohara has been in the visitor-serving industry since he was a teenager, growing up in Guam.

“When I moved to California to attend college, I desperately needed a job. I saw a flyer on my college bulletin board for a night auditor at a limited-service hotel,” Kamohara said. “That’s where I truly found my passion for the industry.”

Before coming to American Canyon in 2009, he held industry jobs in Pasadena and San Diego.

“I’m very grateful for all the opportunities that I have been exposed to,” he said.

Today, Kamohara is the general manager at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Napa Valley. The hotel is located at 5001 Main St. in American Canyon. 

1. What was your first job?

I grew up on the island of Guam. My first job was working as a beach attendant, serving food and beverages to tourists.

2. What job would you like to try/not try?

Try: Software engineer.

Not try: Plumbing.

3. What’s the worst job you ever had?

When I was 16 years old, I was hired as a server at a local restaurant. On my first day of work, I accidentally spilled three Coca Cola drinks on a customer while delivering the drinks to the table. Not surprisingly, the customer became upset. I quit that same day and decided the food industry wasn’t for me.

4. What is the biggest challenge the hospitality industry has faced?

Typically, the hospitality industry has a high turnover rate. Post-Covid, the turnover rate has increased and interest in pursuing this industry as a career opportunity has slowed, which has been very challenging for hotels, restaurants and other businesses in the industry.

5. What’s on your to-do list?

Skydiving, learning software engineering, and starting my own family.

6. Who do you most admire in the business world?

I have been with my current management company for over 10 years and admire my supervisor, Mr. Umezawa. His continued guidance and advice over the last decade have influenced who I am today.

7. If you could change one thing about the hospitality industry, what would it be?

Housekeeping teams are the unsung heroes of the hotel industry. Most people don’t understand how difficult it is to be a housekeeper. There are days when I’m shocked to see guestroom conditions after guests depart. I’d like to see a global tipping system implemented for hotel housekeeping like the restaurant business.

8. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

Skydiving. However, as I get older, my hesitation increases for attempting this sport.

9. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

I’m a certified, advanced scuba diver, and grew up on the island of Guam. I also love to snowboard!

10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

I’d be at a bungalow resort on Bora Bora.

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Do you remember Helgeland? This Napa store was quite popular in the late 60s and early 70s. It was owned by a woman named Hazelle Robison. Take a look at the former Helgeland, and what the storefront looks like now.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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