Here are four examples of service above and beyond the ordinary. I present them here as “GOLD” award winners, something that all hoteliers can aspire to.
Hotel Im Palais Schwarzenberg, Vienna, Austria: Several years ago, I had the pleasure of spending several nights at this magnificent property. While the hotel is now closed, the service was of such a high standard that one tended overlook the hard and soft good repair issues. An example: While checking out, I was engaged in a conversation with a staff member and departed to the airport without getting my credit card back. I received a call on my cell phone from the hotel and a bellman arranged a rendezvous with us halfway to the airport, costing me only ten minutes of travel time, but saving a much larger headache.
Lanesborough Hotel, London, UK: Visiting this world-class property with my wife, we experienced a superlative service touch while we were departing for the theatre one evening. Coming to the front door of the property, the doorman greeted us with the usual umbrella handy. It was one of those hot, humid nights that you would expect in the southern USA, but not in London. My wife was not dressed for this type of weather; her shoes being of the rather delicate (and expensive) genre that don’t take water all too well. Somehow the doorman noticed. He promptly called for the hotel’s chauffeur, who not only drove us to the theatre, but also arranged to wait for us at a pre-designated location when the play ended.
St. Regis, Rome, Italy: A birthday party that almost didn’t happen punctuated our stay at this magnificent property. My harried brain had forgotten my wife’s birthday! Reminded by my son the day before, in a panic I called the concierge, and arranged for a surprise setup in our suite while out for dinner. I had no idea what the concierge and his coordinated team were going to do. To my surprise, and my wife’s, we returned to streamers on the wall, hundreds of balloons, a fantastic (and personalized) cake and champagne. Above and beyond what any of us were expecting, it was a lifesaver that to this day my wife thinks I planned.
COMO Shambala Estate, Bali, Indonesia: Asian hospitality and service is increasingly setting the standard for the world. On a recent visit to this property, we arrived late at night a little bit disoriented after a long and delayed flight. The hotel team not only picked us up at the airport, but as well, helped sooth our stress with cool lemongrass scented towels in the car. Upon arrival at the property, this was further enhanced with ginger tea, Our bags were taken to our room in advance while we chatted with a manager. We were then escorted to our room, which was pre-prepared with much more than a simple welcome fruit bowl. Knowing that we were tired and a tad jet-lagged, a meal was laid out for us including a sampler of local fruits and vegetables, hors d’oeuvres, fruit juices, mineral water and herbal tea. The soft Balinese music playing in the sound system was a perfect complement to this experience.
(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, published in the March/April issue of Hotelier Magazine)