From a small inn to Sandestin: New general manager is a master at creating ‘an ideal experience’


Sandestin's Mark Hodgdon and Kitty Whitney at last month's Walton County Chamber Business After Hours held at Burnt Pine Club.

Deborah Wheeler | The Sun
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 03:56 PM.

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort’s new general manager wants to build on the resort’s “remarkable reputation.”

Mark Hodgdon, who started Sept. 4, came to Sandestin from Atlanta where he briefly worked as vice president of operations for Hospitality Staffing Solutions' southeast region at its corporate office.

Prior to his stint in Atlanta, Hodgdon worked as vice president of operations for Del Mar Development and Management in Los Cabos, Mexico, for 10 years. In all he has spent more than 30 years in the hotel business holding leadership positions at properties such as The Grand America Hotel, The Phoenician, The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and the Grand Wailea Resort, Hotel & Spa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel restaurant and travel administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was the school's soccer team's goalie.

When asked the question: "Who is Mark Hodgdon?" Hodgdon answers that he is someone who grew up with real values, cares about people, and those he provides service to. He said he values integrity and credibility and plans to provide that for owners and guests alike at Sandestin.

Hodgdon grew up in the Northeast and has lived in Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

"My grandfather owned a small inn in Concord, N.H., and I grew up working for him," he said. "I have worked in laundry, housekeeping, and in my late teen years as a steward, a server, and in the kitchen. I learned at the grassroots level how to create an ideal experience. Everything starts in the heart of the house and moves to the front of the house."

Although he has lived in locales such as Hawaii and Los Cabos, Hodgdon said he is pleased to be in "lovely" South Walton.

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