Shane Pappas still remembers the Sunday dinners at his grandparents’ house in San Diego, where he was born and raised. His grandfather was an interior designer who studied in Lake Como, Italy, where he developed a love of great food and wine. For Shane, the seeds of a career in hospitality were planted at that table.
After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in communications and gaining some restaurant experience, Shane answered an employment ad for a front office manager position at the Four Seasons resort in Carlsbad, California. Impressed with his drive but less so with his resume, the company instead offered him a role as an overnight bellman. While it was a lesson in humility, the opportunity gave him access to a legendary training program and world-class mentors, and he worked his way up the ranks there before moving back home to take a front-desk position at the Rancho Valencia Resort near San Diego.
A Relais and Chateaux property, Rancho Valencia gave Shane a view into different aspects of five-star service, working in several departments and ultimately coordinating the sales and catering office. But his heart was in operations, and through the years he worked his way up the ladder at a handful of marquee San Diego destinations, including Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, the boutique Pantai Inn in La Jolla, the Keating Hotel in downtown San Diego, and the historic Kona Kai Resort and Spa. Through these opportunities, Shane was immersed in all elements of hotel management, overseeing everything from accounting to human resources, but most significant was a crash course in details that truly define a luxury guest experience—the little things that aren’t noticeable until they’re wrong.
Under the Noble House Hotels flag, Kona Kai was a proving ground, and as a result Shane was tapped to run the company’s Stella Hotel in College Station, Texas. Within two years, the Stella was named the number-three hotel in the state of Texas by Conde Nast. Then the pandemic hit.
Working through the shutdown with a skeleton crew and one fortuitous government client that booked 30 rooms, he took the time to re-evaluate operations, create new efficiencies, and prepare for re-opening, eventually having to staff his team quickly to service the demand of a university town emerging from the extended quarantine.
Shane, with his wife and young family in mind, thought they might stay in College Station for three or four years. But the opportunity at Southall brought the totality of his experience together in a way that was undeniably attractive. Here, they’ll put down roots and raise their family.
As General Manager at Southall, Shane will oversee all aspects of hotel operations, ensuring that we deliver on the promise with consistency and exceed expectations in every detail, from the valet to the laundry, and everything in between. He says it’s about giving the staff the “why”–the angle of the furniture, the way a pen is placed on the desk, the temperature and lighting–and ongoing training and standards are critical.
The “why” for Shane is simple: the essence of hospitality is simply making sure everything is perfect.