Outstanding service is easiest when all proceeds according to expectations, but what happens when issues arise? My wife and I recently stayed at The Carlyle to celebrate our anniversary, and our timing was anything but on-schedule. Here are several examples of how the staff worked around our timing to deliver complete satisfaction.
Upon arrival just after noon on Sunday, our room was understandably not yet ready. An enthusiastic and friendly Patrick from guest services approached, said he had been "waiting for us", and wished us happy anniversary. He offered to assist with anything we needed, and arranged for prime dinner seating at Buddakan. While we were out, he had delivered to our room a beautiful flower arrangement, a small cake, and a hand-written note welcoming us. He also followed up a day after we checked out, attempting to secure for us some sold-out tickets we had requested.
Returning after ten that evening, we were eager to visit the famous Bemelmans Bar, but the bar and Cafe Carlyle were closed for Sarah Jessica Parker's private birthday party. We settled into a cozy, open booth at the end of the lounge area intersecting entrances to the Carlyle Restaurant, Bemelmans, and Cafe Carlyle. We caught the attention of one of the staff members buzzing between the closed restaurant and the party, and inquired about coffee and tea service. We were surprised when only a few minutes later, a waiter brought a tray with fresh coffee, hot water, a tea selection, and all the usual accompaniments. We were checked on frequently, though we were the only ones being served in the lounge.
The next morning we arrived in The Carlyle Restaurant toward the end of breakfast, and I desired to order from the menu instead of partaking of the buffet. The restaurant was close to empty, staff was light, and we found ourselves being waited on personally by Norbert, the general manager. I ordered corned beef hash, which he warned kindly was cooked to order and would take twenty minutes. While tending to changing the restaurant over for lunch, Norbert stayed nearby and made pleasant conversation. When my wife pointed out an elephant sconce that was hanging crookedly, he was aghast, adjusted it promptly, apologized, and thanked her. This personal service and attention to detail is clearly ingrained in the staff from top to bottom. "I'll see you tomorrow", Norbert said as we departed.
Which leads to another point. From the initial greeting, to Norbert's comment, to numerous elevator bellmen, and even housekeeping, nearly everyone called us by name and appeared to be working around our schedule. There were some coincidental statements, and some leading questions, but primarily, I felt that the staff knew us, and cared enough to have an idea of when we would be coming and going. Most impressive!
For our second trip to the restaurant, we were too late for breakfast altogether, and it would not re-open for lunch for over an hour. Norbert sat us up at "our table" in the lounge area, where we enjoyed breakfast with full service. We again felt that we had a private dining room, and never wanted for attention.
Service at The Carlyle was frequently and promptly adjusted to make us happy. Whether for a special occasion, or conducting serious business, it is all you would expect based on its price and reputation.
The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel - 35 East 76th Street, New York, NY 10021