Management Profile

Profiles of key members of the management team at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Michael Pace

General Manager

Michael Pace

With more than two decades of international hotel experience, Michael Pace brings a diverse operational expertise to his position as general manager at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel. His tenure includes management positions at hotels in Europe and leading sustainability efforts at some of San Francisco’s most beloved properties.

Michael embraces a passion-driven management philosophy to The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel. “The quintessential hotelier must be a gracious host to all,” says Pace. “It’s critical to have passion for what you do and define a clear vision with your team to be relentless in your pursuit for serving others.”

Inspired to serve and make people happy, Pace attended Bournemouth University’s hotel school in England. After graduating, he began his career at Forte Village Resort Hotel in Italy and spent seven years in various management positions at hotels in England, France, Germany, and his native country of Malta. In 1996, Pace moved to California with his wife where he fell in love with the forward-thinking community of San Francisco. Pace has experience with several San Francisco hotels including InterContinental Mark Hopkins, Kimpton hotel group, W Hotel, and Evolution Hospitality. During his tenure at Kimpton, he co-created and launched the “Earthcare” program, which quickly became one of the leading environmental programs in the hospitality industry.  While at W San Francisco, Pace was awarded Starwood’s Sustainability Leader in 2010 recognizing his efforts in helping the hotel become the seventh property worldwide to achieve LEED EB Silver status.

As an award-winning leader, Pace is frequently invited to speak at national environmental meetings. With a keen interest in sustainability, mentorship, and guest speaking, Pace is actively involved in the local community. He currently serves as president for the Hotel & Restaurant Foundation where he oversees the granting of over $150,000 a year in scholarships throughout California, director on the board for the California Hotel and Lodging Association and the Hotel Council of San Francisco, as well as serving as an advisory board member for City Car Share and San Francisco State University.

A native of Malta, Pace is fluent in Maltese, German, Italian, French, and English. When not onsite at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel, he enjoys gardening, mountain biking, and spending time with his family in Novato, CA.

 

Jill Plemons

Director of Sales and Marketing

Jill Plemons

With a 17-plus year career in hospitality and service operations, Jill Plemons brings extensive brand experience, a passion for sales and strong leadership skills to her position as director of sales and marketing at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel. Her specialty in boutique and independent hotels catering to leisure, business and group travelers make her the ideal person to lead her team.

As DOSM, Plemons elevates the property’s sales and marketing initiatives and oversees all revenue and management distribution. In addition, with a keen understanding of tourism trends, Plemons is committed to raising The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel’s profile as it pertains to sustainability and community involvement within the San Francisco market and beyond. Furthermore, Plemons enjoys focusing efforts on enhancing the core customer experience of The Clift, whether it’s related to food & beverage programing, meeting & events offerings or implementing unique guest interactions.  

Most recently, Plemons served as director of sales and marketing at Hotel Zephyr, where she was responsible for spearheading the sales and marketing efforts for the Fisherman’s Wharf 361-key property following its transformative $32-million redesign in 2015. Prior to her three-year stint at Hotel Zephyr, Plemons led the successful $12 million renovation, development and re-launch of Le Méridien San Francisco.

Plemons also held the position of director of sales and marketing for five years at Hotel Vitale, a Joie de Vivre Hotel in San Francisco, where she led revenue strategy across all segments of the property, restaurant and spa for the sales team. Additional Joie de Vivre Hotel experience includes serving as the brand's regional director of sales in Northern California and as director of sales at Galleria Park Hotel, both in San Francisco. Plemons also held various positions with Kimpton Hotels, including area director of sales and marketing, where she managed initiatives for the brand's three San Francisco locations.

Plemons currently sits on the Union Square Business Improvement District Marketing Committee. The Union Square BID serves members and creates a high-quality visitor experience by managing and activating public spaces, attracting new investment, and advocating for the District’s future success.

Plemons graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. When not onsite at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel, Plemons enjoys avidly reading cookbooks and testing recipes, entertaining, and spending time with her husband at their home-away-from-home in Palm Springs.

 

Dawn Taylor-Cole

Executive Chef

Dawn Taylor-Cole

Chef Dawn considers herself from the south even though she moved every four years during her childhood. Her father was in the Air Force; her mother took on administrative jobs at all of the bases they moved to. She has experienced tornados in Texas, earthquakes in California and lots of rain in England before her parents and younger sister settled in Memphis, Tennessee.  “I have this distinct memory of going to an ice cream parlor when I was 7 or 8 years old. There was a huge window looking into the kitchen where someone was decorating the ice cream cakes.  They saw me and invited me back to watch them work. I was amazed at what they were doing and was instantly hooked on food.” 

“I was always in charge of the bread and dessert when it came to family dinners,” Chef Dawn continues. “Eventually, I started preparing the main courses, but pastry was my first passion.”  While attending Memphis State University she took a side job in a cake decorating supply store with a kitchen in the back. It was there she realized that culinary school was where she truly belonged. Chef Taylor-Cole attended Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina for Pastry Arts & Food Service Management.

During her freshman year, she entered a cooking competition sponsored by the Felchlin Chocolate Company with a grand prize of two weeks in Switzerland. “I was pretty confident that I could win when I noticed that only one other person had used chocolate in their dish,” says Chef Dawn, who won the prize and took the trip the following year. Post-graduation she was offered a culinary position at the San Francisco Marriot Marquis. She spent seven years there rising through the ranks, with a short one year hiatus in between working for Laurent Gras at the Fifth Floor and one-off gigs with Wolfgang Puck Catering. In 2008, she left the kitchen to explore life outside of hotels.  She landed as the general manager of a Starbucks here in the city. “I am grateful for that job, it taught me two lessons -- what it is like to be completely in charge of an operation and I do not get excited about how fast I can make a Mocha Frappuccino.” Through some chef connections she was brought on board as the Garde Manger Chef at the Hyatt Regency SFO, where she thrived for seven years.

“With Hyatt I was able to come in as a fresh face, make a true impact, create, design, and connect with guest, clients and associates,” says Chef Dawn. She was recognized as Manager of the Year twice and promoted quickly to Executive Sous Chef. After the completion of their 70 million dollar top-to-bottom renovation, Chef Taylor-Cole was ready to share all of her experiences with her own operation. “The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel is exactly what I want, an organization that embraces creativity, innovation, conservation and truly values its people.”

Since her arrival at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel, Chef Dawn Taylor-Cole is focused on seasonal and sustainable menu development with a little bit of “I’ve never seen that before” sprinkled in.  When not creating at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel, she’s getting creative at home with her husband and two boys Dylan (8) & Elliot (5).