Pelican Hill® Backstories
ervice is key to creating a Resort experience that leaves a guest, be it a discerning local or an international visitor, itching to return. The team members at The Resort at Pelican Hill® recognize that their employer’s success is also their personal success, and that the way they interpret and fulfill their role makes all the difference. These three staffers exemplify how each interaction creates an impression, and how each impression helps to create a Resort. It’s why they strive for perfection day in and day out.
Raising the Bar
Southern California’s coast has always been a magnet for Wes Tamashiro. Growing up surfing and fishing, the California native has spent 25 of his working years in food and beverage “up and down Pacific Coast Highway, from Long Beach to Dana Point, from dive bars to high-end hotels. But this,” he says, a sweep of his hand capturing Pelican Grill’s floor-to-ceiling windows and Pacific Ocean views, its wall-size TV screens and seriously comfortable chairs, “this is exactly the atmosphere I’ve worked so hard to get to.”
Behind the expansive and welcoming bar, Wes has found his career sweet spot. One of the first employees hired and trained for the Grill’s 2007 opening, the affable barman commits guest names, favorite drinks and personal preferences to memory. And the guests remember him, too. While he leaves the creative mixology to his mates (“I’m an old-school bartender”), Wes appreciates novelty as much as he does the pure taste that a distiller intended.
The fast-paced, social job suits him, but he also manages to strike a life balance with frequent solo hangouts on his 21-foot fishing boat. “I’ll drift off the coast, trolling for halibut,” he says. “I just put my sunglasses on, cast my line and enjoy the quiet. There’s nothing quite like the serenity of being on the water.”
Although he wears his smile like a well-worn t-shirt, Wes takes his job seriously. “Expectations are high, from management and from the guests. They want that extra-special care, and I’m here to provide it. Even after 10 years, I enjoy walking into work and seeing the beauty of the amber onyx bar and the ocean sunsets right out the window. It never gets old.”
The Answer is Yes
“We will find a way.” That’s the credo with which Sarah Rodriguez approaches every day as a Villa concierge. “No matter what the request or how impossible it may seem,” she says, “our team does what it takes to meet and exceed expectations.”
Whether a Villa guest spends a short time on property or settles in for several months, the role of concierge is a personal one. Sarah’s sunny disposition serves her well as she establishes lasting relationships with individuals, couples and families who often consider the Villa their second home. “We plan a range of activities that cover weeks at a time and are different from what a short-stay guest might request,” she says. “We book yacht rentals, adventure tours, professional sports games and concerts.” Gradually, Sarah and her team begin to pick up on guests’ daily routines, interests and personalities. “We learn what they want from us before they ask,” she says.
Sarah finds the challenging requests to be the most fun, recalling the day she arranged last-minute transport to a Crystal Cove beach wedding after the groom forgot to plan that detail. (Happily, everyone made it to the “church” on time.) Another guest asked Sarah and her colleague to help scatter rose petals around his Villa and spell out “Will you marry me?” using photographs of him and his girlfriend.
Taking part in these personal, one-of-a-kind experiences is what drew Sarah to the hospitality industry and has inspired her to pursue her dream of moving into group sales and management. In addition to her full-time position, she is carrying a full course load in the subject at Cal State University, Long Beach. It’s a busy schedule, but Sarah, true to her word, always finds a way.
The Midas Touch
Some people are lucky enough to discover their gift early in life.
At 10, Glenn Brandel spent after-school hours with his grandparents while his mother worked. No one told the boy that his grandfather suffered from Parkinson’s disease, so Glenn mistook the old man’s tremors for shivers. In an effort to warm him, Glenn began massaging his grandpa’s legs, feet and hands. The quaking dissipated, and the child’s compassionate deed turned into a welcome, possibly life-extending, ritual.
Glenn would later learn that he had been delivering a much-needed infusion of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and content and that also controls body movement. (The effects of Parkinson’s are due to abnormally low levels of dopamine.) Today, after 25 years as a massage therapist, 10 of which have been at the five-star Spa at Pelican Hill,® the sought-after therapist still cherishes his ability to make people feel better.
“I begin every session with the greeting,” he says, “a smile, a strong handshake that creates a connection.”
He checks with the guest to make sure that the ambient temperature in the cozy room, the volume of the music and the plush linens atop the treatment table are precisely as desired, and if he or she is new to massage, explains what to expect from the experience. With his gentle, intuitive touch, Glenn delivers on an array of the Resort’s exclusive spa services, offering guests a respite from a hurry-up world. He chalks his sanguine outlook up to a happy home life; “Jenny, my wife of 20 years, and my two teenage sons, inspire me every day to be a better person.”