All-access with the Keys to the Kingdom

Anoud S

2 years ago

We often spend weeks, sometimes even months deciding on the best place to stay for a much-awaited vacation. With a plethora of luxury hotels in the UAE clamouring to offer guests all the bells and whistles, finding one that stands out can become a difficult task. However, with a pleasant attitude, calm demeanour and ability to be attentive to every beck and call, the concierge is most likely the first and last face you see and is thus, a vital factor that makes all the difference.

Possessing the aforementioned qualities, a smiling individual greeted us at the Yas Viceroy. The person in question is Anup Rai, Assistant Manager Concierge at the premium chain hotel with whom we decided to have a chat. “I start my duty normally by 11 am. I like to start my day by meeting my colleagues from different areas in the department like the reception, concierge, bell desk, valet, etc. Then I respond to all the urgent emails. I stay at the concierge desk assisting guests with their requirements for tours, safari, restaurant bookings etc.”, says Anup as he talks about the day to day workings at the hotel. “After a quick lunch around 2, I go back to my desk to go check on the occupancy for the next few days to prepare for any high occupancy days and plan department resources accordingly. Usually, my day winds up around 09:00 pm however, it gets extended if there is a busy event happening in the hotel or if any group or VIP is checking in.”
Managing a team so varied in duties and nationalities along with simultaneously adhering to the high standards set by the Yas Viceroy can be quite the task. But Yas Viceroy’s very own superhero likes the challenge. “I believe you take care of your team and they will take care of you. And trust me when this happens, things fall in place,” Anup says with conviction. “The team goes through routine training. I work on the team’s training along with team leaders and check if the standards are being adhered to.  With 499 rooms in the hotel and 300 check-ins and check-outs on the weekends, sometimes it gets difficult as colleagues tend to get tired running between 2 buildings with heavy luggage. But my department’s learning agent and I have to make sure that everything is in order. We do this through role play during the briefing and also accompany them when they are with guests. We also have training materials which the concierge team has to go through that include all the important places in and around Abu Dhabi.”
When asked about what makes the Yas Viceroy stand out from the rest, Anup confidently states its unique and convenient location, “Yas Viceroy is the only hotel in the world which is located on a Formula 1 race track. Guests will not get this view of the race track and the beautiful marina from any other hotel. Also, if they prefer to spend time at the beach, we give away free access to in-house guests with a complimentary shuttle bus to drop them. Ferrari world and Water World are just 10 minutes away along with Yas mall – one of the biggest malls around. Soon, the Warner Bros. Park would also be an added charm to the island.”
Given his 7 years in the hospitality industry and the Yas Viceroy being a celebrity favourite, Anup has a box full of interesting experiences. “I had a chance to meet Rafael Nadal during the Mubadala Tennis Championship when he stayed with us a few years back. I got an opportunity to check him in to his room directly. We talked about his flight, his game and I told him that I am a huge fan of his after Roger Federer at which he laughed and also appreciated. Then the next day he passed by the lobby and greeted me by my name.”
Also the Acting Night Manager, Anup explains the stark difference between the Manager’s duties in the day vs. the night. “As most of the checking in and checking out happens during the day, a Day Manager’s job is mainly about making sure that the operation goes smooth, rooms are ready on time, meeting and greeting guests, and handling any of the guests’ complaints. The Night Manager’s job is mainly about handling the audit and making sure everything is correct on the system. The whole hotel is under his responsibility in the absence of the higher management. He needs to take immediate action against any kind of problem faced by guests. The safety and security of the guests and staff lie in the hands of the Night Manager. Basically, he’s the king at night.”
On days he’s not working, you can catch Anup on the beach or watching a movie at Yas Mall. But the go-to person for recommendations on the island spilt some secrets for us. “Everyone is aware of all the tourist places on Yas Island. But if you are looking for some quiet time fishing with your friends and family, there are a few water bodies near the Yas Gateway Park. Very few people know about it.  Also, the Yas Gateway Park is not something a lot of people know about. You can have your own BBQ with friends and a lot of greenery around. They also have a tennis court which is a good way to spend your time in Yas Island.”

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