Winter Storm Uri blew into The Woodlands during the week of February 13-17, 2021. Extreme freezing temperatures resulted in icy roads and busted water pipes while also leaving thousands in Southeast Texas without power for days. During this difficult time, hotels in The Woodlands became a safe haven for visitors and residents alike as many looked to the tourism industry for a warm place to stay and a hot meal.

Visit The Woodlands is proud to recognize these area Hospitality Heroes that went above and beyond to ensure guests were both safe and had a positive experience during their stay. Below you will find their stories and we ask you to join us in celebrating them during National Travel & Tourism Week.

Dania Santos, Candlewood - Housekeeping Supervisor


As the Executive Housekeeper at Candlewood Suites, Dania stayed in the hotel the entire week of Winter Storm Uri to provide guests with clean accommodations while her husband stayed in their home with no power. She worked 14 hour shifts to clean sleeping rooms multiple times a day. This ensured doctors, surgeons and nurses in nearby hospitals had a place to stay during the storm, which was critical so they could continue to provide care for patients. Dania worked over 70 hours during the week of the storm and did so with a smile and positive attitude. She showed great leadership by leading her small group of housekeepers, even when the laundry dryers froze due to the storm and delays.


As a Houseman at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, Edgar made it to work every day and came back to work overnight when a pipe burst flooded the exhibit hall of the Convention Center. It was due to his help that the room was able to recover quickly and limited the size of the damage. 


Mel spent countless hours leading his team through several major issued during the week of Winter Storm Uri as the Engineering Supervisor at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. From quickly responding to the burst water pipe or generator problems, to helping keep guests safe, he was there to assist when technical problems occurred during the storm. 


A Housekeeper at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, Candida worked 7 days straight, picking up extra rooms to ensure the hotel had plenty of rooms available to area residents and visitors that had no place to stay. She did this while her home had a burst pipe and a gas leak, which she found out later. She regularly stayed late to ensure there were rooms available for people looking for heat and water. 

Dama de la Cruz, Drury Inn - Housekeeper

Elodia Taboada, Drury Inn- Housekeeper


As Housekeepers for the Drury Inn, both Dama and Elodia went above and beyond during Winter Storm Uri. They volunteered to stay at the hotel in anticipation of needs that would arise and started their days cooking and serving breakfast each morning. Throughout the day they cleaned hotel rooms and then stayed late to help cook and serve evening meals. It was due to the strength and commitment of Dama and Elodia that the hotel was able to function and provide great service to guests.

Caitlin Newman, Front Desk Agent at Hyatt Centric


As the Front Office Manager at Hyatt Centric, Caitlin stepped in to manage hotel operations due to senior management not being able to get to the hotel. She helped several people find a place with heat and water and did a remarkable job. She received praise from several guests who said she was always reassuring and showed the true meaning of hospitality during a stressful and scary time.

It is these heroes - that sometimes go unnoticed - that helped hotels in The Woodlands keep their doors open so visitors and residents could find safety during an unexpected emergency. They made a difference to our community and Visit The Woodlands celebrate them, along with all frontline employees who acted as true heroes and displayed an extraordinary commitment to the tourism and hospitality industry during Winter Storm Uri.

Learn more about National Travel & Tourism Week here.