California, New York, Utah hotels appoint new GMs

Several hotels across the country have appointed new leaders over the past two weeks. Here are some names to know.

Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa

Wincome Hospitality appointed Kevin Schjei as the new general manager of Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa (Calif.), a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. Schjei, an industry veteran with more than 18 years of experience in hospitality, will be responsible for overseeing all operations and strategic goals of the hotel, including the 238 guestrooms and suites as well as the Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar.

Schjei was director of operations at the Hilton Bellevue from 2006 to 2010 before being promoted to GM of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lake Oswego, Ore., a position he held from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, he became GM of the Anaheim Marriott Suites and eventually the complex general manager over that hotel and the Embassy Suites Anaheim South. Schjei held that position until joining the Avenue of the Arts Hotel team. 

Goldener Hirsch

Auberge Resorts Collection appointed Justin Robbins to general manager of Goldener Hirsch, the collection’s Austrian ski chalet-inspired mountain retreat in Deer Valley, Utah. 

Upon graduating from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in hotel management, Robbins began his professional career as concierge manager at the Venetian and Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas and then on to guest services manager at Green Valley Ranch and Resort. Over the following decade, he worked with Accor Hotels and The Ranch at Rock Creek, where he was directly responsible for all operational components. Most recently, Robbins was area GM at Columbia Hospitality’s Sage Lodge.   

Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach, the California flagship property in the Montage Hotels & Resorts portfolio, named Armando Campos the new hotel manager. Campos leads all day-to-day operations of the oceanfront resort including oversight of rooms, food and beverage, culinary, spa and security.

Campos arrived at Montage Laguna Beach from the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, where he spent more than a year as senior vice president of hotel operations managing and developing a team of 1,500 in food and beverage, rooms and engineering. Along the way, Campos created four new restaurant concepts and improved year-over-year profitability of the food and beverage and rooms divisions. Previously, Campos held senior management roles across the country, including director of food and beverage operations at Pendry San Diego, Loews Miami Beach Hotel and the Hilton Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. 

Campos earned a degree in hotel management from Estudios Superiores en Hoteleria Euro-America in Morelos, Mexico, and is bilingual in Spanish and English.

New York Marriott Downtown

Patricia Franco-Santiago was recently appointed general manager of the New York Marriott Downtown. As general manager of the 515-room Lower Manhattan hotel, she is responsible for all operations and supports sales leadership.

A Marriott veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Franco-Santiago held several leadership roles and hotels within Marriott International, including eight years at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Her experience includes operations roles as director of in-room dining, director of restaurant operations and assistant director of food and beverage. 

In 2018, she was appointed GM of the Long Island Marriott, where she worked for two years. In 2020 she became the NYC market owner for the Veterinary Emergency Group. 

Franco-Santiago is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., with a bachelor’s degree in hotel restaurant management. She also holds an associate's degree in liberal arts from Nassau Community College in New York.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, the only Relais & Châteaux property in Southern California, appointed Milan Drager as the new GM. 

Most recently general manager at MacArthur Place in Sonoma for the past two years, Drager’s career highlights include international management positions with the Shangri-La group at properties throughout Australia, Tokyo, Myanmar and Vancouver, in addition to a variety of roles across the industry, including director of food and beverage with the Mandarin Oriental Group in San Francisco, as well as with Hilton in Hawaii.