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The Lodge at Sonoma appoints new Director of Sales & Marketing and Director of Food & Beverage

The Lodge at Sonoma
Nicole Whitaker, Director of Sales & Marketing, and Jeff Libunao, Director of Food & Beverage.

Both offering over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Nicole Whitaker and Jeff Libunao bring a wealth of knowledge to their new roles at The Lodge at Sonoma.

SONOMA, CALIF. – The Lodge at Sonoma, an Autograph Collection Resort, a quintessential luxury resort located in the heart of Northern California’s wine country, welcome Nicole Whitaker as Director of Sales & Marketing, and Jeff Libunao as Director of Food & Beverage.

“We are thrilled to have Nicole join us and to welcome Jeff back to The Lodge at Sonoma,” said General Manager Fungai Muzunze. “We look forward to entering 2024 with a robust team of seasoned professionals to bring the highest level of service to all guests at the resort.”  

Overseeing all sales and marketing efforts at The Lodge at Sonoma, Whitaker will implement her many years of experience to maximize revenue and occupancy at the luxury resort, executing impactful brand initiatives and partnerships. Having successfully held leadership positions in prominent tourism markets, including Vail, Napa, and Miami, Whitaker looks forward to applying her expertise to the distinctive Sonoma destination.

Throughout her career, Whitaker has critically assisted in the repositioning of three major hotels – National Hotel Miami Beach, YVE Hotel Miami and Manor Vail Lodge – after brand transitions and substantial renovations. Whitaker additionally made a significant impact on total revenue generation through marketing, group, transient, and catering/banquet sales alongside properties’ food and beverage outlets. Most recently, Whitaker served as the National Sales Manager at The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, where she was responsible for developing and managing group business in the Midwest and International Markets.

“The Lodge at Sonoma uniquely embodies the locale’s approachable, yet sophisticated character, and I’m thrilled to join the dynamic team,” said Whitaker. “I look forward to harnessing the resort’s range of luxurious amenities from spacious accommodations to world-class fine dining, versatile meetings and events venues, tranquil spa and bespoke local partnerships, to accelerate the brand’s status as an ultimate wine country experience for any occasion.” 

As Director of Food & Beverage at The Lodge at Sonoma, Jeff Libunao will oversee all operations at the onsite restaurants including Benicia’s Kitchen and High Horse Pool Bar, as well as in-room dining. Having previously worked at The Lodge at Sonoma as Executive Chef throughout the brand’s transition from a Renaissance resort to an Autograph Collection Resort, Libunao brings a deep understanding of the resort’s culinary operations, the restaurant outlets, and the events/banquet services.

“I’m pleased to return home to The Lodge at Sonoma – a place I hold near and dear to my heart,” said Libunao. “I have always been passionate about working with local purveyors and artisans to source only the freshest ingredients and I look forward to embracing Sonoma’s bounty throughout our menus.”  

With a vast background in luxury hospitality, Libunao started out as the Station Chef at The Beverly Hills Hotel, before moving on to the JW Marriott in San Francisco where he rose from Sous Chef to Executive Sous Chef over his almost four-year tenure. Most recently, Libunao served as Executive Chef at Harvest Inn in St. Helena, where he oversaw all culinary operations and helped reposition the concept of the property’s on-site restaurant, Harvest Table.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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