Tips from a Five-Star Hotel - L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
Any task that you do at home is done countless times by the staff of an award-winning hotel. And with that experience comes expertise. From housekeeping to concierge, from the kitchen to the pool, hotel staff has acquired tips, knowledge and tricks for making things right and getting things done smoothly, seamlessly and almost invisibly. We’ll go behind the scenes to discover practical and sometimes surprising solutions.
This week L’Ermitage Beverly Hills front desk supervisor Nely Cruz answers
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Remembering names is a skill and to be good at any skill takes practice. So
why not think along the lines of developing a new hobby—the remembering
Take your time to pay attention with introductions. When meeting someone
new repeat the name and ask if they know the origin of their name. This
gives the opportunity to associate that person with a city or country. Try to
make a mental note that connects an individual with a highlight of the
country or city where they are from. Another technique is to associate the
name with a famous person. People usually tell you what they do for a living
so it’s often easy to remember an individual by their occupation. Some
people are successful in using the mnemonic systems, where you use the
first letter of someone’s name–Pale Pat, Jolly James. Then there is the face
feature method, where you decide what facial feature stands out the most to
you and make a mental association.
The most important thing is to be sure to listen carefully when an individual
talks about themselves and shares information about their background. Try
to ask questions that are open-ended and allows an individual to share
stories of their life. Everyone likes it if someone remembers not only their
name but also something about their life.
The Concierge Team at L’Ermitage is here to be of service to all of our
guests, before, during and even after their stay, so the possibilities are
Before your arrival have the concierge email a list of what’s happening in Los
Angeles, depending upon your interests, in the time you will be visiting. It’s
our job to know of the latest museum exhibits, new and hottest stores,
concert schedules, movie premiers and other unique special events. If there
is an activity or event that is of interest we can arrange the details for you.
During your stay at our hotel be sure to read the daily Concierge Desk
emails. That way you will be connected to the Team at anytime, in the hotel
or when you are out on the town. As a “Chat Buddy” we will respond
instantly to any request you have; a last minute dining reservation, golf tee
time, VIP transportation, shopping or delivery errand, for example.
Our Team arranged a gift wrap mission of 200 small individually wrapped
boxes; we have arranged for the same day delivery of a marriage proposal
that included translating the proposal into Swedish; we’ve waited in line to
purchase iPads for a guest; we’ve miraculously procured tickets to exclusive
performances; we’ve organized last minute birthday parties complete with
actors and magicians. No request is too big or too small for our team and it
is our pleasure to bring these conveniences to people who are traveling.
Something that’s become increasingly popular on the lounge menu at Livello
is sparkling sake. It’s a relatively new category. Sparkling sakes are fresh
and light with about 6% alcohol. They’re made in a range from dry to sweet,
so you can select a style to pair with a variety of appetizers.
Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Sake is a favorite with many of our Livello guests.
It’s fun, sweet and fruity and pairs with seafoods as an appetizer but also
with sweets at the end of a meal. At Livello restaurant, Chef Elevado
recommends pairing it with his “sea urchin and whitefish crudo” appetizer.
For your dinner party, consider serving it with an appetizer of lightly smoked
salmon, on toasted baguette slices, topped with creme fraiche and chives.
There are several easy guidelines to extend the life of floral arrangements. Start by cutting about 1/2 inch off the stem of each flower at a slant. Remove all the leaves that will fall below the water level to prevent rot. Most tap water contains fluoride so consider using distilled water. If you do use tap water, be sure it is lukewarm, not cold.
Aspirin is a favorite trick to prolonging the life of cut flowers. Simply add a crushed aspirin to the water before adding your flowers. There are a few other household items that may be used as well; a teaspoon of sugar, a copper penny, a few tablespoons of clear non-diet soda, lemon juice or even a crushed multivitamin! Adding ¼ teaspoon of bleach per quart of vase water works wonders because it inhibits the growth of bacteria and keeps the water from getting cloudy.
Keep the flowers in a cool spot away from direct sunlight and heating or cooling vents, because water quickly evaporates through flower petals and leaves under those conditions.
Different flower types have different life spans, so to keep a mixed arrangement looking the freshest, check blooms daily for any signs of wilting and prune or replace. The higher the stem count of an arrangement, the more water it will consume, never let the water level drop. Change the water at least every other day and remember to cut the stems and remove leaves each time you replace the water. Consider buying long lasting varieties such as daisies, carnations, snapdragons, peruvian lilies, alstroemerias, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, calla lilies, among others. Flowers add color, beauty and fragrance to any room. Enjoy.
Chef Elevado says, “The knife you have is probably carbon steel which makes for a much sharper blade than stainless steel. The downside is that it will rust, especially if used to cut citrus or other acidic foods. Some chefs have two knives at their station, a stainless steel blade for citrus and the carbon steel bladed for everything else. The best solution at home it to make sure you clean and dry a carbon steel knife immediately after use. An occasional light application of mineral oil is good too as it helps keep the blade from rusting and keeps the wooden handle from drying and cracking.”
Chef Elevado says, “Adding too much salt while cooking is a common error. Ideally, it’s always best to add salt and herbs a little at a time because it’s much easier to add than to remove seasonings from your dish. However, provided your dish is saucy enough, peel and cut a potato into 1/8ths, add the potato pieces to your dish and cook until the potato is just soft, then remove. Potatoes will absorb quite a bit of the excess saltiness from a dish. If your dish doesn’t contain any dairy products you can also add a few drops of fresh lemon juice. A squeeze of lemon juice will add brightness and bring balance to your dish.”