Hotel Etico – where holidays change lives

Imagine a hotel knocking down barriers and shifting perceptions of people with disability. That’s Hotel Etico, Australia’s first social enterprise hotel creating pathways to open employment for young people with intellectual disabilities.

Located in the iconic Blue Mountains, this is a hotel with heart, where visitors give-back just by checking-in. It’s also a place where [former] General Manager, Stella Sgambellone could make a difference by supporting employees to reach their full potential.

“When you’ve got a perceived idea of somebody’s capabilities, you create boundaries, and we want to knock down those boundaries,” Stella said.

“We want to be able to open up whatever opportunities are available so that people can flourish. And we want to demonstrate how to do that.”

When it came to finding new team members, Hotel Etico partnered with their local MatchWorks to help build an engaged workforce.   

“We seek to partner and engage with other organisations who have the same values that we do, and prior to kicking off our recruitment, I connected with Carlie and Anthony from MatchWorks to say this is who we are, this is what we’re about and I would love the opportunity for us to connect and work together and they were fantastic,” Stella said.

“So it was MatchWorks playing a part in our recruitment process and supporting what we were trying to do.”

Hospitality Trainee, Georgia Davidson, said she was shocked when she heard the news that she got the job.

“When Sam and Stella wanted me to do it with, I got very excited and a bit emotional as well,” Georgia said.

“It was really fun to do it because I wanted to take part of it, and I actually love to deal with a lot of stuff, like being in an academy, or being up in the hotel…Sam and Stella, they are amazing.” 

Stella says the time investment getting employees up-to-speed is the same for everybody.

“It’s just a couple of extra steps for people with different abilities,” Stella said.

“When you’re considering employing someone with a disability, or indeed anybody, it’s really about opening up your mind to how they can add value to your organisation.”

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