A Fine Vacation Finale

LCT Magazine
Posted on June 9, 2009
We awoke to the sound of crashing waves, the smell of the salty ocean air, and a perfect view of the sun coming up over the water all viewable from the open doors of our room from our bed. Baseball caps, sweatshirts, sweatpants and sunglasses were all that was needed to roll out of bed and head out the door for breakfast. As we approached the valet desk, a young man sprinted away to retrieve our car before we made it to the podium. No valet ticket was needed as we had come and gone so many times during the week; they knew our car. With one attendant manning each door, we loaded in and headed off to a restaurant that always had a line out the door every morning.
We didn’t realize it was a Mexican restaurant. It was small and quaint. I believe the girl waiting on us was the owner but I didn’t ask. However, her enthusiasm in greeting us made us feel like she was welcoming us into her home more than her restaurant. The menu items as described were not exactly what we wanted in the way they were paired so I asked if we could order “off-menu”. She said we could have anything we wanted. If they had the ingredients, they would make it and they did indeed deliver on this promise. 
While waiting for our food, I took note of her washing and filling doggie bowls with water spread throughout the patio. I noticed a bucket of dog treats on the counter. Obviously with Gizmo along for the ride, this was nice although we made him wait in the car as it was too cold for patio dining. The intention of this restaurant was to make their guests, both two-legged and four-legged, feel at home. They accomplished it with great food and great service.
When we arrived back at the hotel, the valet boys got our doors and said, “Welcome back Mr. Luff” and asked “How was your breakfast sir?” We returned to our room and found that while we were out, the room had been made up and smelled nice and clean. I wish I could run to the grocery store and come home and find my house had been cleaned while I was gone by some magical house fairy. 
Later in the afternoon, we went to the hotel spa for his and hers massages. There was no waiting. We walked in the spa and were promptly greeted by name and ushered back to a nice, dimly lit room with soft music that was nicely appointed where we enjoyed the next 75 minutes immensely.
We had dinner reservations at a restaurant located at the end of the pier. It was stated to be one of the top five seafood restaurants in all of California. This was our anniversary dinner and my assistant had read about it online and booked our reservation. She was probably sitting at home as nervous as I was. I hoped it would meet my expectations, but more importantly, Hillary’s. I wonder if that’s how corporate travel planners feel when they book us for their executive’s travel. We headed out a half hour early figuring we would just have cocktails until our reservation time. Upon our arrival, Hillary told the hostess we were early for our reservation. The hostess said there was no way we could be seated early and then broke into a smile and told us it was no problem and immediately seated us. Water was delivered immediately by our server who was very personable. She asked where we were from and asked if we were there for any special occasion. She congratulated us on our anniversary and exclaimed, “Free dessert,” as she smiled. She went on to say it was free dessert for her only and that she celebrated all anniversaries by eating dessert for her guests. It did endear us to her and I wondered how chauffeurs could establish this same thing without seeming obnoxious or out of line. I surely appreciated it.
My wife asked if they had a particular bottle of wine. Our server didn’t know but said she would go and check and quickly returned with the exact bottle and asked if we would like it opened. She opened it to let it breathe while she went to obtain glasses. The food was spectacular, the wine was great, the view was beautiful, and I thought about what a perfect day this had been.
As I conclude this series, I would hope that you would remember all the little things that contributed to service failures and all the little things that contributed to a positive experience. We should apply the positives in our day to day life of delivering service to the discriminating clients we serve. I will strive to make every single contact a positive one and remember that the only reason the client decided upon us is presumably they were looking for the best service. It is our job to deliver that service.

Related Topics: Jim Luff

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(Flickr.com photo by LA Foodie)
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