Meet the Makers Series – Part I

As we approach the holiday season, we start to think about those special moments that stand out to us year-after-year. While the holiday season looks different this year, what makes it more special than ever in some ways, is the ongoing commitment that our Sonesta family has to exceptional hospitality, a warm welcome, and going above and beyond for our guests.

In our Meet the Makers series, we go behind the scenes to learn what some of our associates love about the holidays, their traditions, and what they look forward to. Stay tuned for future blog posts to help you get in the spirit this year and perhaps create your own traditions with inspiration from ours!

Courtney Briggs
Regional Revenue Director

What puts you in the holiday spirit?
Putting our tree up and decorating it with my two daughters. We always do a dance party to Christmas songs as we trim the tree. I’m also teaching them the sentiment behind each of our ornaments and they tell me about those they remember. We only have ornaments that spark a memory whether it be a trip we took together, some that have been passed down through generations, something to do with a event that year, etc.

Describe your favorite November/December holiday tradition.
My sister, mother and I have gone on an annual Mother/Daughter only shopping trip since we were in college, usually the 1st or 2nd weekend of November. We start very early and kick off the day with a fancy breakfast out with mimosas/bloody mary’s, then shop, do a fancy lunch somewhere new, shop until stores close in the evening, then end it with another fancy dinner together.

What’s your favorite holiday food and what makes it special?
My mother’s stuffing and her homemade tortilla soup.

Brandon Taba
Director of Sales and Marketing, Sonesta Irvine

What puts you in the holiday spirit?
Cold weather and the smell of burning logs on the fireplace.

Describe your favorite November/December holiday tradition.
Every Christmas Eve we go down to Balboa Island in Newport Beach to walk around and see all the holiday lights and decorations. Many of the boats and yachts in the peninsula are also lit up with holiday décor for their annual Holiday Boat Parade.

What’s your favorite holiday food and what makes it special? Pumpkin Crunch – A staple holiday dessert in Hawaii, it is similar to pumpkin pie. It is special because it reminds me of my childhood growing up in Hawaii celebrating the holidays with family.

How does your hotel (usually) go above and beyond to guests during the holidays?
Whether welcoming guests who are flying out to see family or to spend the holidays on vacation, or those who are looking to get closer to family here in Irvine, we love welcoming guests over the holidays. It’s great to welcome families to our Sonesta home – ensuring that they are feeling the spirit of the season no matter what!

John Dallas
General Manager, Sonesta Bee Cave Austin

What puts you in the holiday spirit?
I love when the stores begin offering anything pumpkin flavored (lattes, muffins, etc) always lets me know that Fall and holidays are coming

Describe your favorite November/December holiday tradition.
There is a very cool place in Austin called Mozarts and they do an amazing light show outside every year. We take the whole family and it is a great time together.

What’s your favorite holiday food and what makes it special? My favorite is pecan pie because my grandmother used to always make a special pie for me and her cooking was really special – everything made from scratch without a recipe.

How does your hotel go above and beyond to guests during the holidays? We like to decorate our trolley every year and take the guests for holiday rides.

Chef Brian Dandro
F&B Director and Executive Chef, Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island

What puts you in the holiday spirit? Baking gingerbread for houses is something that really let’s you know the holidays have arrived. It doesn’t matter where you are in the kitchen, as soon as the oven door opens, the smell will find you. At home and at work, decorating gingerbread houses has always been something I enjoy watching people do and providing them with the tools to do them. It really inspires creativity and often, gets competitive.

What’s your favorite holiday food and what makes it special? Thanksgiving is my favorite working day of the year and it’s largely because of the “oysters”. We brine our turkeys whole, remove the breasts and roast the legs on the cavity. Thanksgiving morning I pull the leg meat from the slow cooked turkey and right next to the thigh is the ultimate chefs treat, two lovely round pieces of dark meat called the oysters, that essentially braise in the juices of the turkey. It’s a great payoff for a lot of hard work and love that goes into preparing a Thanksgiving feast.

Get one of Chef Dandro’s favorite breakfast recipes.

Add some cheer to your holiday season with Sonesta #liquidart, some of our favorite holiday cocktail recipes!

Spend the holidays with us! Learn about our Winter Sale.

Categories: Brand

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