Management Profile

Profiles of key members of the management team at Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island.

Jay Wiendl

General Manager

Jay Wiendl

Jay D. Wiendl was appointed General Manager of Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island in August 2012. As general manager, Wiendl is responsible for the oversight of operations, development, positioning and training. Wiendl is the third generation in his family to serve in the hospitality industry and brings an extensive knowledge to Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, which reopened in spring 2013 following a $30 million renovation.

Previously, Wiendl served as the director of hotel operations for the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans, a AAA Four Diamond rated hotel situated in the heart of the French Quarter. In addition to day-to-day operation of the Bourbon Street hotel, Wiendl managed the strategic partnerships with Grammy Award-winning Irvin Mayfield and the Jazz Playhouse, as well as with Home on the Range, a collaboration between chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto and the Royal Sonesta, to build and open Restaurant R’evolution, an award winning New Orleans dining destination.

Before joining Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans, Wiendl served as the resort manager at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa in Wisconsin, a AAA Four Diamond rated, 1,300-acre flagship development for the Marcus Hotel Group.

Wiendl is a native of Florida and began his career after serving in the U.S. Navy. Currently, he also serves as the Executive Committee Chairman for the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, VCB, and regularly volunteers as a local baseball league coach.

Under his leadership, Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island has implemented many new sustainability initiatives and several green practices. These include a partnership with i2Recycle, a locally-owned company, to maximize recycling efforts and the implementation of numerous waste-reducing and water, energy-saving practices property-wide, and an innovative single stream recycling system.

 

Charles Pejeau

Executive Chef

Charles Pejeau

Charles Pejeau joined the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island team in March 2016, bringing more than 10 years of experience in fine dining to the resort’s multiple onsite restaurants including Heyward’s Restaurant, Seacrest Terrace and Patio, Sweet Cane Bar and Grill, and Bayley’s Bar and Terrace.

Prior to joining the Sonesta Resort team, Pejeau served as Executive Chef at both Charbar Co. and Holy Tequila, helping the Hilton Head Island-based restaurants open and develop their menu offerings. He also held the position of Sous Chef at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a five-star luxury hotel, and celebrity Chef Robert Irvine’s Eat! restaurant on Hilton Head Island.

As Executive Chef, Charles oversees all guest dining experiences at the resort’s four restaurants, placing a particular emphasis on Sonesta’s ‘Food is Art’ and ‘Liquid is Art’ philosophies, which treat each locally inspired meal or signature beverage as a detailed masterpiece for the senses.

Charles received his Associate’s Degree of Science in Culinary Arts from the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach.

 

Chris Bracken

Director of Sales & Marketing

Chris Bracken

Chris Bracken joined the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island team as its director of sales and marketing in June of 2013. In this position, Bracken is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day sales operations of the resort and works hand-in-hand with Jay Wiendl, the general manager, to ensure marketing strategies that maximize resort revenue.

Previously, Bracken served as the director of sales and marketing at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Bracken has more than three decades of tourism and hospitality experience having worked with brands such as Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club, Visit Jacksonville, Don CeSar Beach Resort, Marriott Biscayne Bay and Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa.

Bracken, a Wisconsin native, received his Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Wisconsin. Throughout the years, Bracken has received countless awards including “Sales Team of the Year,” “President’s Award for Excellence” and “Sales Leadership Award.”

 

David Leffew

Director of Food & Beverage

David Leffew

David Leffew has been the Director of Food and Beverage since July 2015. In Leffew’s role, he oversees the culinary team, the resort’s four on-site dining establishments, and the catering and banquet operations. Prior to his current role, Leffew was the Director of Catering and Conference Services at Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island.

Prior to working with Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, Leffew was the Director of Sales and General Manager at Eagle Golf LP/LACENTRE Conference and Banquet Facility for eight years. While there, he was awarded the “2007 Eagle Golf Catering Sales Person of the Year” and became a member of the “Eagle Golf Platinum Club,” which was recognition for exceeding $1.5 million in sales.

Leffew has won other awards such as, “2014 Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island Manager of the Quarter” and “Sonesta International Hotels Corporation 2015 Rookie of the Year,” an award signifying outstanding performance and success in the first full year of employment with Sonesta Hotels.

 

Diane Hardy

Director of Catering

Diane Hardy

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island welcomed Diane Hardy as its new Director of Catering in 2016. In Hardy’s role, she is responsible for promoting, planning and executing special events and social gatherings held at the resort. Hardy comes to Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island with twenty-five years of experience in the hospitality industry.

Prior to Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, Hardy served as the catering events manager and wedding specialist at Sea Pines Resort. Additional experience includes food and beverage positions at Daufuskie Island Resort & Breathe Spa, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Hilton Oceanfront Resort, Long Cove Club and The Westin Hilton Head Island.

Hardy brings a varied skill set along with strong leadership to guests, groups and all resort team members as they strive to deliver on Sonesta’s ‘Food is Art’ and ‘Liquid is Art’ philosophies which place an emphasis on pleasing all five senses, not just one’s palate.

 

George Hartman

Director of Rooms

George Hartman

George Hartman joined Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island in March 2017 as the Director of Rooms. Prior to joining the resort, he was the Director of Rooms at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand in Miami, Florida for two years where he oversaw the daily operations of housekeeping, front office, concierge, pool, bell stand, and valet.

Previously, he served as the Director of Front Office Operations at Trump National Doral, and was the Director of Front Office Operations for Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.

Hartman has gained experience with daily operations of hotel management, specialty shops, managing staff members, and managing contracts and negotiations. He is a result-driven manager with a focus on the team and a passion for exceeding guest expectations.

 

Debbie Crosby

Director of Finance

Debbie Crosby

As Sonesta’s Director of Finance, Debbie Crosby brings operational and financial expertise to the Sonesta executive team. She joined the team after spending five years at the Crowne Plaza Resort on Hilton Head Island as its Director of Finance and Accounting.

Crosby excels in areas such as revenue analysis, property management and leadership. Her top-notch talent of financial planning has provided a wealth of information for the resort to achieve their financial goals.

 

Bill Devine

Director of Housekeeping

Bill Devine

Bill Devine has been with Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island since May 1998. For the last nineteen years, Devine has ensured that quality standards are met and that optimum service is provided to all hotel guests. In addition to keeping the hotel sparkling at all times, Devine supervises the entire team of housekeeping and laundry employees.

Prior to Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, Devine spent thirteen years at the InterContinental Hotels Group after spending another thirteen years at Hyatt Hotels as a Front Office Manager, Executive Housekeeper and Corporate Trainee. He also helped open Hyatt Hotels in Hawaii and St. John USVI.