Regardless of what draws visitors to The Resort at Pelican Hill,® one cannot help but admire the property’s grace and flow, attention to detail and natural vistas. While everyone walks away with a mental postcard, the message scribbled on the back trumps even the prettiest picture as it describes the enduring connections forged every day between the Resort’s guests and its dedicated staff. This first installment of Backstories profiles four longstanding members of the Pelican Hill® family.

Angelica Martinez

Server, Coliseum Pool & Grill

It may have taken six months from the time Angelica Martinez responded to the job posting, to the day Pelican Hill offered her a position, but it was worth the wait. Eight years in, the aptly named Angelica remains at Coliseum Grill serving up savory meals, oftentimes to repeat guests who ask specifically to be seated in her section.

Angelica, who joined the Resort following 10 years as a server at Disneyland,® has learned valuable lessons from her co-workers, guests and managers. “I can tell you about every food allergy and dietary restriction out there,” she says. “I make sure I know which ingredients are used in every item on the menu.”

As important as keeping her guests safe is keeping them happy, so Angelica strives to get to know each one personally. “I try to make a connection so that, when they come back, it feels a little like home.”

One local family has been requesting Angelica’s section for years. “The first time the couple came in, they were expecting a child,” she recalls.
“She needed special foods and I made sure she got them.”

The next time she saw them they had a newborn in their arms; two years later, they were expecting again. When the family added a third child to the mix, Angelica found herself serving a bustling family of five.

“I know all the kids and what each of them likes,” she says. “They’ve even invited me to their home. It makes me feel really good.”


Dennis Pranajaya

Cook, Andrea

“I love to cook with all my heart,” says Dennis Pranajaya, who joined the kitchen staff of Andrea in 2007 before it opened and hasn’t budged. “As I’ve said to cooks over the years: If you don’t love this job, you shouldn’t be in the kitchen.”

A native of Bali, Dennis began his career at 16 under the tutelage of his uncle, a chef who passed along the three guiding principles he still follows: Use common sense, stay motivated and strive to outperform your peers. The best part of his job at Pelican Hill® is the discipline it brings to his life. “My mother told me that all you need to succeed in life is a routine. After 30 years working as a cook, I still come in on time, do my job efficiently and support my chef.”

Dennis gets up weekdays at 4:30 a.m. to make breakfast and pack lunches for his three kids before dropping them at school and heading to work. As they pile out of the car, he repeats the family mantra: Finish school. Do your homework. Go to practice. Stick to your routine.

He also counsels his children to find a passion and turn it into a career, as he did so many years ago. “We work hard in this kitchen morning, noon and night,” he says. “And as long as I keep enjoying myself, I’ll be right here tomorrow, doing it all over again.”

Danielle de Beaubien

Concierge Supervisor

Six years into an entry-level position in corporate marketing, Danielle de Beaubien realized that she needed less time in a cubicle and more in face-to-face interactions. She found that opportunity behind the front desk at the Resort, where her competence and can-do attitude earned her a promotion to butler coordinator in the Villas and then to Resort concierge supervisor.

Danielle has broadened the concierge role by reaching out to guests
with an email questionnaire before check-in, and following up with them once they return home. “Knowing in advance how we can assist our guests allows us to craft a customized and detailed personal itinerary,” she says. “This process only enhances the guest experience, and makes for a more genuine connection once they arrive and put a face with a name.”

Danielle and her staff of 10 stay on their toes every day, expecting, and embracing, the unexpected. She recalls the plight of one busy guest who discovered that his rental car’s tires were all flat. “We took care of everything, and were able to get him behind the wheel of another vehicle without wasting his time,” she says. “When we can solve problems and connect the dots, we’re doing our job.”

What has Danielle learned in her five years with Pelican Hill? “I’ve met people from so many walks of life,” she says, “and I’ve come to realize that every one of them has something unique to offer. I see that the more authentic we are with one another, the more likely it is that we will see each other again. That’s a lesson I’ll hold on to forever.”

Clayton Farmer

Cart Barn Attendant,
Pelican Hill Golf Club

Sometimes it takes little more than a good memory and a penchant for cleanliness to be a superstar. Such is the case for Clayton Farmer, who grew up on a steady diet of old-fashioned values, and has been applying them for the past eight years to his job as a cart barn attendant at Pelican Hill Golf Club.®

It isn’t front-page news. But when Clayton spots a regular guest and greets him by name, when he cinches a set of clubs to the back of a spotless golf cart and sends a twosome off to the first tee with a warm smile and a pat on the back, people notice.

Stories abound of small favors rendered and valuables lost and found, but Clayton holds especially dear an encounter with a multigenerational family from England. The group included three adult golfers and two younger players who for several days running used the Resort’s rental clubs.

“One morning the head of the family asked me to pick up a set of clubs for each of his grandsons. The next day was my day off, but I wanted to surprise him, so I bought the clubs and delivered them to the Resort.” The family was thrilled.

“I like to think that the honor is on this side of the table,” he says. “It’s a gift to recognize someone and to know that you’ve helped make their day a better one. That’s where I get a boost. That’s where it stops being work and starts becoming a joy.”

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