Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yes, love is for sale!

The Ritz Carlton in Orlando is the pimpiest hotel ever! I told one person my name and soon after, scores of nice and maybe even sycophantic employees started chirping, Hi Miss Star! out of nowhere and everywhere. I was like a celebrity.
I asked a hotel staff member, where can I get a plate for the buffet lunch. I'll bring it to you Miss Star. I asked if there was soymilk. There wasn't. I said that I would be fine with water. But a few minutes later, a glass of soymilk was magically produced. I couldn't get ice out of the ice machine and a cleaning lady happened to be in the area. So I asked her about it and she offered to get ice for me from another floor. I asked someone else where I can find an ice bucket, she offered to deliver one for me or go with me back to my room to show me where to find it. When I first arrived, four men swooped down and offered to bring my luggage up, escort me to the elevator bank and press the elevator button for me. On my way out of the hotel, I realized I needed a plastic fork to eat my breakfast on the go. They were going to produce silverware for me to take with me, but I declined. I did help myself to an apple in the beautiful display of fruits, water and Gatorade that they had in the front with a nice sign: Welcome back joggers and runners!
I flagged down an employee so I could grill her about how hotel staff are inculcated with the Ritz culture and spirit. Turns out the interview process is mind boggling -- she had over 5 hours of interviews and met more than 10 people. And once you join, you go through a rigorous training program that the Ritz even provides to other companies as a money making service. She told me that the name thing is something they strive for, they have to greet guests that are within 20 feet by name; it creates magic and mystique and that's what 5 star service is all about. Have a nice day Miss Star! she tells me after we part. And that totally freaked me out.


frank said...

This type of thing once happened to me in a high-grade hotel in Toronto - I think it was the Four Seasons. I was so startled when a desk clerk recognized me by name upon approach that I was speechless for a micro-second. I was embarrassed by how undeservingly good it made me feel. I wanted to say "Do you know who I am?" But I played along and just asked when my limo would be ready...

js said...

HA! Your limo! That's a good one!