DU Alum Managing Cherry Creek's Newest Hotel
Jason Dorfman’s career has been on the rise since he graduated from what is now DU’s Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management. After his first job with Marriott, Dorfman (BA ’05) was recruited by Denver-based Stonebridge Companies, where he has worked for 12 years. After his most recent post as general manager at DoubleTree in San Francisco, Dorfman in August 2017 was named general manager of the Jacquard & Rooftop, a new modern luxury hotel that opened in August in Denver’s tony Cherry Creek neighborhood.
Q: How did you decide to major in hospitality in the first place?
A: My parents were small business owners and they wouldn’t get a lot of vacations, but every now and then Dad would throw us in the back of the station wagon, we’d go to downtown Des Moines and stay in a hotel for a night, and that was our little mini-vacation. I loved it. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I loved the feeling and energy you get being in a hotel lobby. When I was looking to go to school, my parents encouraged me to major in something I was passionate about, and somebody brought up hotel management. I didn’t even know that was a degree. I started doing research on what the best hotel schools were, and I came out to Denver and fell in love with it right away.
Q: What internships or experiences on campus set you up for success?
A: The hospitality program was a great foundation. It gave a little bit of everything to pique my interest, and that was great. There are so many options in this industry as far as a career goes—so many different directions you can take—so the opportunity to experience it all really helped guide my career. Another great thing the program does is to require you to get an internship. The experience I received doing so was invaluable. You don’t know if you love something it or hate it until you actually get in there and experience it. In our business, you find out very quickly if something is for you or not.
Q: The Jacquard Hotel & Rooftop is going to be your third job as GM. What’s unique about it?
A: We’re all really excited about The Jacquard. Jacquard is a type of patterned fabric made on the first truly automated loom, so the name pays homage to the fashion roots of Cherry Creek. Cherry Creek is an iconic Denver neighborhood, known for its boutiques, galleries, small businesses and al fresco dining. We have a team of “curators” who will create tailor-made Cherry Creek experiences. These will include private fashion shows, off-hours shopping, customized jewelry designing, private cooking classes and more.
Q: Did you ever have moment of doubt as you were coming up through the ranks, or did it always feel like “this is what I want to do”?
A: I was very fortunate. I loved working in the hospitality business from day one, and I still do. The hospitality business has always been and will always be a people-driven business, and I love people. From my very first job interacting with guests to the time I spend now with my managers and associates, I love it all. It’s something new every day. There is a lot of social interaction, you get to meet people from all different walks of life, and you still get to operate a business. For me, it’s perfect.