Ali from Montage Beverly HillsThe hotel staff may be the ultimate amenity. They are the welcoming faces, the helpful hands to your room, an insider who knows how to get a reservation—basically, they make or break your stay in a new destination. Lately I’ve been reading up on some of these behind-the-scene staffers who have earned more than their share of gold stars in service. Here, some of the notables:

Ali Kasikci, Managing Director, Montage Beverly Hills
Known for his attention to deal, Kasikci keeps tabs on all his guests—literally. Well-known and repeat guests are assigned a note card that specifies preferences, even habits of guests. It’s these extra details that makes for a personalized stay, and ensures the property gets it right each time. What guests may not realize is that Kasikci has a hand in everything, from the closet’s hangers (designed to specifically help fill out men’s suits) to the bathroom’s amenities (they were pop top and prone to spill…now they screw on and off).


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Svend Petersen, Hotel Ambassador, Beverly Hills Hotel
For 43 years Svend Petersen has graced the poolside of the Pink Palace—spreading towels for Princess Grace of Monaco and the Beatles, even giving swim lessons to guests (Faye Dunaway, no less!) Beyond his pool duties, Petersen is always good for a titillating tale about bygone guests of the Hollywood era. Stop in, look out and listen for this poolside amenity!


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Kenny Abisror, Head Concierge, Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York
As Pavia Rosati wrote in “Concierge Confidential,” (Sherman’s Travel, Feb/March issue) a concierge is an “all-knowing grandee, with well-honed resources and insider savvy…[and] may still be the only one who can score an impossible restaurant reservation or unlock an exclusive boutique after hours.”
Concierges have been known to field all kinds of request–take a page and learn from Kenny Abisror, Head Concierge for New York City’s Mandarin Oriental. Abisror told Sherman’s Travel that he once helped plan an engagement, having to charter a helicopter and order a 50-foot banner to fly behind it. Lucky for all, the bride said yes, and Abisror could now add “wedding specialist” among his many talents.

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