The concierges of three of the area’s most beautiful resorts share something in common— they all have the special skills required to help make each guest’s stay memorable. Concierge Susan Warren of the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village agrees. “Being a people person is vital, and letting the guest speak to get an overall idea of what type of experience they want is the idea,” she says. “We want to live up to their expectations.”
Front Desk Director Anthonia Smith, who oversees the
concierges of Captiva’s South Seas Island Resort, adds another ingredient to the mix of a successful concierge. “Patience is a virtue you need to have,” he says.
Director of Operations Amy Speckman of Sanibel’s Casa Ybel Resort was once a concierge herself and says, “Asking the right questions of guests helps estimate their wants and needs and is very important.”
But once the concierges have sussed out what type of experiences the guests might enjoy, how do they help choose the attraction or restaurant from among the bounty found in Southwest Florida?
At South Seas Island Resort, on- site restaurants and activities like fishing and water sports are recommended first. Then a binder of information about off- site venues, kept current by concierges and the guest- services representatives, is consulted. The guests themselves often share opinions after they return from having explored the area on their own, and this, too, gets added to the store of knowledge.
Warren often visits online review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor and tracks calendars and events from local venues to compile a weekly newsletter ( available upon check- in and at the concierge desk) about what’s going on in the area. Speckman goes one better, organizing field trips and “ride- arounds” for Casa Ybel’s concierges, so they can experience firsthand the restaurants and attractions they recommend to their guests.
All the resorts make use of networking opportunities with local businesses, share information in- house that they receive from area attractions and restaurants and solicit menus, prices and information sheets from places they either haven’t yet visited themselves or need to update in their files. Many places offer discounts for hotel guests that the concierges are happy to pass along.
Nothing beats the personal touch, however, and the trio frequents nearby hot spots on their days off, too. All have lived in the area for enough years to be considered “locals,” and their love of Southwest Florida shines through when they
ALL HAVE LIVED IN THE AREA FOR ENOUGH YEARS TO BE CONSIDERED “LOCALS,” AND THEIR LOVE OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA SHINES THROUGH WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT THEIR JOBS.
ALL ENJOY SHARING THEIR PARADISE WITH GUESTS, ESPECIALLY WHEN CALLED UPON TO GO A BIT “ABOVE AND BEYOND” THEIR NORMAL DUTIES.
talk about their jobs. “I know how lucky I am to work and live here, every time I look out my window and see my beautiful surroundings,” says Speckman.
All enjoy sharing their paradise with guests, especially when called upon to go a bit “above and beyond” their normal
duties. “We got to arrange a private dinner out on the beach for a gentleman and his wife celebrating their 25- year wedding anniversary,” says South Seas’ Smith. “Our chef prepared a special surf and turf menu and paired a wine with each course. While they were dining on the beach, we covered the bed in rose petals in the shape of a heart and left a bottle of champagne for them. They next day the couple came to the desk, thanked the concierge and gave her a hug.”
The Westin’s Warren is currently helping a young man begin his own journey on a path to what he hopes is a quarter century and more of marital bliss. “I know he is going to pop the question to his girlfriend before she does,” Warren says. “Besides a room upgrade, the scented candles and rosestrewn bed, I even got photos of their time together, selected a few beautiful shots of them as a couple, printed them out and will have them framed by their bedside.”
Smith speaks for all the concierges and those who oversee their work when he says, “These are the types of special moments I’ll always remember.” Their guests will, too, thanks to the special blend of caring, instinct and sensitivity shown by the trio of concierges at some of the area’s most wonderful destinations.
Anthonia Smith South Seas Island Resort
Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village Susan Warren
Casa Ybel Resort