Living and Learning From the Resort Life

Denise Harnett, whose father just happens to be Palm Springs Chief of Police Al Franz, was born in Thousand Oaks, California but raised in the Palm Springs Valley.  After a 9-year stint in Manhattan—where she worked with the Morgans Hotel Group, and at such elite properties as the Mandarin Oriental, the Ritz Carlton, and the St. Regis—the 32-year-old came home to become the marketing manager at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa.  It’s a job that fits her like a soft kid leather glove.

While Harnett says she occasionally misses certain aspects of her big city life, she’s never regretted bringing all the hospitality expertise she acquired on the East Coast back to the desert.  She absolutely adores her assignment, which is to extoll the virtues of Westin Mission Hills, a Starwood company.  “I love brainstorming and coming up with new ways to promote the resort,” says the pretty, gregarious brunette.  “I’m constantly on my iPhone.  I live through social media, and get so many creative ideas through all of today’s social platforms.”

Fueled by a yearning to acquire new knowledge and life experiences, Harnett loves that her mandate to promote and market the entire resort requires her to tap into all of its moving parts.  Take golf, for example.  “I’m not too familiar with the game,” she admits.  “But in order to market our two championship courses, I need to be well-versed in this challenging sport.”  So she purchased a set of Nike clubs, and is currently taking lessons with one of the property’s amazing golf pros, Jon Chapman.

After hours, Harnett often finds herself still at work.  She maintains a packed social calendar of evening and weekend events so that she can talk up such Westin Mission Hills highlights as its new Pinzimini Italian Restaurant.  “I’m continually looking for ways to reintroduce our resort to the community so folks don’t forget we’re here,” she says.  “As my first grade teacher said once, ‘Denise is a great student, she’s just a little too social.’  Being a social butterfly is a key part of my position.  My thought is, you just never know whom you could meet, who could inspire you, and whom you could inspire.  I love making lasting connections and learning about others and what their story is.”