Italo Fornoni recounts his multi-tasking working day as a concierge at the glamorous Mandarin Oriental, Miami
My day starts at 7.15am when I arrive at my desk, positioned in the centre of Mandarin Oriental, Miami’s towering atrium lobby. Biscayne Bay is glistening, as it is every morning, and the rows of Miami skyscrapers begin to illuminate. Soon this ‘Magic City’ will be buzzing with business people, international visitors and fitness enthusiasts who jog through town to our private island oasis.
The concierge team and I have just completed our daily handover, in which the night and day staff gather together to catch up and ensure that everything is in order. We discuss the day’s VIP arrivals and departures, review the daily log and trade stories from the previous day. Those few moments between our schedules have made all five of us friends and confidants.
Once settled at my desk, I respond to emails from future and current guests. Technology is now an important and essential tool for my profession, allowing me to craft tailored ‘experiences’ before guests arrive and create a bond with them, so that I can anticipate what other needs they may have and respond with a personalised recommendation.
There is never a dull moment at the concierge desk, especially in a city like Miami. By 10am, I have received a request to book a table for eight at Prime 112, on a high-demand holiday; to get tickets to see superstar DJ Calvin Harris, at the city’s hottest nightclub; and to arrange a yacht accommodating 25 people that evening, at 11.30pm, fully catered, with sushi from a specific restaurant.
By 1pm, I have already answered my favourite question many times – ‘What is there to do in Miami?’ I recommend that the family from Mexico explore the Miami Children’s Museum near South Beach, before lunch at Joe’s Stone Crab. Meanwhile, the German couple are now enjoying a private tour of the Everglades, which culminates in an alligator wrestling match! And the nice couple from New York have confirmed a tour of the Wynwood Art District, with a private viewing of the Rubell Family Collection.
As 3pm comes round and my shift is ending, I go through all the day’s tasks to ensure no detail has been overlooked, before passing on pertinent information to my evening colleague. And I am reminded of the most exciting moments of being a concierge: when we are able to make a magical or unexpected experience come to reality. In this one day, I have played the role of caretaker, counsellor, friend, critic, travel agent, and more.