Lori Mantz’ business card really does say “Director of Fun,” and when she informs people of her position at Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa, I’m sure most of them think, “Come on, get a real job!” But indeed, Director of Fun is genuine full-time employment for Lori—a post that only two other people in the entire Westin empire have, and certainly the only occupation of its kind among those in the hospitality industry in the Palm Springs Valley.
“The Director of Fun position is interesting because ‘fun’ encompasses a lot of different things,” says the native Northern Californian. “Anything to do with the leisure guest, children, families—I do all of that programming. You kind of need a cape and roller skates, because you’re always running all over the property.”
Lori estimates that 75% of her daily duties revolve around kids. Just some of the popular programs she oversees include Kidz Nite Out (theme parties away from moms and dads), Kidz Fun Cabana (poolside pottery, airbrush tattoos, and sandy candy-making), and the Westin Kids Club Discovery Room (where those 4-12 learn and play while parents relax and explore the resort). Even the spa gets in on the action, with Mommy and Me Manicures and Teen Facials.
One of the most popular programs is Kidz in the Kitchen, where children 6-12 join James Beard-honored executive chef Joel Delmond to create Saturday morning pancake breakfasts which they then eat in a VIP section of Bella Vista Restaurant. “They get their own chef hats, aprons, and little wooden spoons,” says Lori.
For grown-ups, the Director of Fun coordinates such events as Cocktails 101, wine classes, cooking demos, and a spouse program that entertains men and women whose partners are busy with business. “We want everybody to feel like they don’t have to leave here,” says Lori. “There’s something for everyone. And even though it can be crazy, I love having all these balls in the air.”