Nov 29, 2010

The Exceptional Associates at The Henry Hotel

Marty, The Henry Hotel's service ambassador bidding farewell to my wife and family

This past weekend's trip to Detroit was meant to be a low-key and quick overnighter for my family: arrive on Saturday afternoon, go to Ford Field to watch our high school football team play in the state championship, have a late dinner and leave after breakfast the next day. As in previous trips to Detroit, we elected to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Dearborn; a charming hotel in this once vibrant part of the Motor City. The Ritz Carlton Dearborn changed flags six months ago
and is now The Henry Hotel - an independent hotel which is part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott. My family always had pleasant stays at the old Ritz Carlton. But our latest experience has redefined personal service beyond our imagination.

Upon arrival at The Henry, I was surprised that Hassan, the doorman, greeted me by name. He did the same for my wife along with a pleasant welcome to my kids. Let's just say that I don't recall ever meeting Hassan in previous visits, so his personal touch was an impressive first impression. Hassan had our keys in hand (another WOW) and escorted us to the lobby where he introduced us to the awaiting  Chris, our bell person. Chris took charge from that point and just like Hassan, he did a fantastic job of making us feel at home. In my room awaits a wonderful display of cheese, petit fours, flowers and a bottle of wine while the kids room had a plate of cookies and perfectly cut fruit. There was a welcome letter from the general manager next to the "Welcome to the Henry" plate of petit fours. Within ten minutes of our arrival, our low-key trip has been transformed into a memorable visit; thanks in part to the personal attentiveness of the staff at The Henry Hotel. 

During our breakfast this morning, the same level of personalized touches greeted us upon our arrival at the restaurant. Jack was a pleasant host, along with our server Patricia and a sleuth of other restaurant staff who graciously serviced our table. My kids are used to "VIP" service given my role, but the friendly attention given to us by every associate we encountered at The Henry Hotel made them feel like celebrities. 

After breakfast, I approached the morning doorman, Marty, who just like last night before we headed to the game, greeted me by name and offered to warm up my car before our departure. Marty, just like majority of the associates at The Henry Hotel, are Ritz Carlton Dearborn veterans. The service foundation is clearly embedded in their DNA, but this time, a spark of enthusiasm and genuine care is evident in their rebirth as associates of The Henry Hotel.

This level of care is no surprise to me given who has taken the helm at The Henry. The awareness of guest names (and what they look like), the genuine welcome and fond farewells are signature gold standards from general manager Bill Quiseng. This 30-year hotel veteran epitomizes customer service in the fact that wherever he goes, his associates have no problem embracing his service philosophy of providing a one-of-a-kind experience for their guests. True luxury can only be experienced and Bill Quiseng wrote the book about it. Bill was formerly with the Inn at Bay Harbor, a Renaissance Hotel and Resort in northern Michigan. He started his tenure at The Henry Hotel this summer and has been given the task of transforming the hotel into a viable business in the years to come. The hotel has begun their guest room renovation, and in the next couple of weeks, will embark on renovating her public spaces and restaurant into a more modern feel than her current interiors.

It is always sad to see an old gem fade away. Thank god for the new owner of this hotel for he sees how "old gems," with a little care (and money), could transform a weary beauty of a hotel into taking on a whole new life. But be reminded that even the best looking hotels loses its beauty without the genuine care of associates. At least for now, The Henry Hotel doesn't have to worry about the latter. 

1 comment:

sathya said...

Money doesn't mean anything to me. I've made a lot of money, but I want to enjoy life and not stress myself building my bank account. I give lots away and live simply, mostly out of a suitcase in hotels. We all know that good health is much more important.
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