Huntington Beach, California, also known as Surf City USA, is home to the Waterfront Beach Resort, a popular Hilton Hotel and landmark in Orange County.
After watching the resort being built, local surfer Scott O’Hanlon went in and asked for a job and soon found himself starting a new career in the hotel business. He is now the hotel’s marketing manager, and a great guy to sit down and have a chat and a laugh with.
Here Scott shares his answers to Ten Questions.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job (or any job in my industry, for that matter) is that every day is different. You are never bored, constantly met with new and exciting challenges and then it’s on to the “next thing”. It helps to have an amazing team around you and I can say that I really couldn’t ask for more from my fellow associates here at The Waterfront.
If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?
Getting outside sales people (calling on me for whatever reason) to understand budgeting! If there is one thing that most sales people do wrong all the time it is they assume because you are a big hotel with well known name and identity, you’re just sitting on piles and piles of cash all the time. NOT TRUE!!! While I have a little bit of wiggle room throughout the year to make adjustments to whatever it is I think we need to be doing in the realm of marketing, most of the time I have laid out my plan well in advance of the year I am in. For the record, we budget for the coming year in September and October. Someone please write that down!
What’s something about your role that you wish people understood?
That I don’t live next to my phone. I am on the go all the time, and quite often not even in the building (if I am involved in something that takes me out into the community). Emails and texts are really the best form of instantaneous communication today. If you call my office and leave a message, there is no way you’ll hear back from me in “minutes”. More like hours or sometimes even days (lol).
What’s your favourite thing to do on your day off?
Cook with and for my friends, usually something really complicated. Then pair it up with a wine and judge the results. That is a perfect day for me! Also, going to or hanging out at the beach… surfing, running or just lounging around. Pair that with cooking with friends and I am in need of nothing else!
What’s a cheap and cheerful food secret you (usually) only tell your friends?
That the best and freshest of foods can be found at Sprouts Market. Canned, frozen or otherwise prepared foods are AWFUL… tasting and for you. Go fresh, live large. I think the time has come to get to know your fruits and veggies on a personal level. No one is so busy they can’t rinse their own spinach. And if they are, something is drastically wrong in their world.
If money was no object, where would you go for lunch or dinner?
I once had the most amazing 24 course dinner in Las Vegas (of all places!) at what was at the time the only four star Michelin rated restaurant in the US, Joel Robuchons. That opened up a whole new way of approaching food to me. Therefore, a trip to a superb restaurant (highly rated and where the wait list is a year deep) would be a dream come true! BRING IT ON, LOTTERY!!!
Where do you take a friend when they come to visit?
In HB, a few simple haunts: The Sugar Shack and North Shore Poke top the list. For dinners, I like to haunt the Camp and the Lab in Costa Mesa and see what’s new and exciting. And for brunch…HERE at The Waterfront. Every time! It never gets old.
What’s the best shopping experience in town?
I’m not a huge fan of shopping…I’m a pretty simple guy who tends to know what I’m after and I just get the job done. But I must say, I rather enjoy strolling around the Bella Terra center here in HB. For weekend clothes and surf gear, no one beats Jack’s warehouse tucked away on Gothard. Anyone who pays retail for board-shorts or tee shirts needs to have their head examined.
Is there a local tourist cliché that’s actually worth doing?
S’mores on the beach around a bonfire. Kitchy? Yes. A gooey mess? Always. But you are transported to that first chocolatey-marshmallowy goodness of your childhood every time. And it’s a cheap thrill…some wood, some Grahams and Hershey bars, a bag-o-Kraft extra jumbos and let the fun begin. I find that fire pits bring out the best in all of of us. You just can’t be cranky or harried sitting around the fire and listening to the surf. It can’t be done!
Is there a tourist attraction nearby that you can’t believe you still haven’t visited yourself?
Okay, yeah. And I’m probably gonna get yelled at for this… but I have never been to The Newland House in Huntington Beach. I’ve had a few opportunities, but something else always came along. I’m kinda embarrassed about that actually. In fact, I should probably stop answering these questions and drive over there right now!
Amanda met Scott O’Hanlon when she stayed as a guest of the Waterfront Beach Resort before boarding Celebrity Century for a cruise up and down the beautiful California coast where she also met a couple other Ten Questions participants, John Moran from Alcatraz Night Tours and Loree Gold from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.