Around the World With a Four Seasons Concierge
Nobody rolled with the punches more than on-board concierge Dawn Pender, who got a respite from her regular gig as Concierge Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire in order to become the mobile concierge extraordinaire for three weeks aboard the jet. Dawn is a member of Les Clef d’Or and has been with Four Seasons for eight years. She has a great sense of humour and a keen eye for service, and she never let anyone feel overlooked. When guests needed a dinner reservation, Dawn was there with her iPad to make it. When they wanted spa treatments, she was on the phone pronto. When they needed a private car, or requested a Champagne toast, Dawn made it happen.
When other guests headed out on excursions, Dawn was often the last to leave, finalising details over the last bits of breakfast and shoring up schedules while waitstaff cleared the dessert plates. Even when we accidentally left her behind at a bathroom in Agra, Dawn never once complained. She simply hopped in a tuk tuk and caught up with the group at the Taj Mahal. She remained a constant source of good humour and laughter till the very end.
As I was whisked off to Heathrow on Sunday morning, I looked back at the Hotel. There was Dawn at the entrance, holding her iPad and talking to a guest with a big smile on her face. It was the last image of the trip, and one that was apropos. Below is a short exchange with Dawn Pender.
Has the trip changed how you view your position at your home base?
I’ve always been proud to work for Four Seasons, and this assignment only reinforced that. Working with my colleagues around the world, I was reminded what a great job I have. My position in Hampshire is a management one, which entails a good deal of administration work. It was a breath of fresh air to leave that behind for a while and concentrate on what is really important—ensuring guests have a memorable experience. I will definitely try to focus more on the guest experience when I return and, hopefully, delegate some of my administrative tasks in order to do this!
Which were your favourite destinations, experiences, sites?
Wow—how do I choose? Bora Bora has to be up there as a little slice of absolute paradise! I could stare at that turquoise blue water forever! The layout and design of the villas at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay really impressed me, and that was a place I could have stayed for much longer than three days. Whitewater rafting in Bali was a highlight, as was the elephant riding in Chiang Mai and snorkelling with lemon sharks in Bora Bora. Other experiences that stand out in my mind include dancing on the roof of Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai with our guests, watching friendships develop over our wonderful 22 days together, and calling seat 22E my home for three weeks!
What did you learn from the other Concierges?
Each concierge team took me under their wing and allowed me to become an extension of their department for the few days I spent with them. Many of them came to work before their shift started and stayed long after it was over to ensure our group’s requests were handled impeccably. I felt so proud to be part of their teams for a short while.
If you could work at any Four Seasons property (excluding Hampshire, of course), which would it be?
Bora Bora would be wonderful, but I would need to brush up on my French. I am drawn to our forthcoming Four Seasons properties in Africa. Many guests and the lecturers on the trip said their African adventures had been the highlights of their travels.
It was the most incredible experience I have had in my life. Each day brought a new adventure and a new friendship. I felt so proud to be a part of the team, to work alongside the TCS & Starquest Expeditions team, and to be chosen as an ambassador for Four Seasons on this first trip Around the World.
Would you do it all over again?
Yes! I would do it full time if I could!