At just 26 years old, Mexican-born Marisol Udave has been delighting members at Garza Blanca Residence Club for more than four years, having been recently promoted to Elite Concierge Supervisor. Growing up in Utah, USA, with her close Mexican family, she enjoyed a totally bi-cultural upbringing, completing all her schooling in the US before returning with her family to Puerto Vallarta just over 8 years ago.
How did you come to work at Garza Blanca Resort?
I began working in the service industry more than seven years ago. My first important jobs were as hotel receptionist, putting my English skills to great use helping guests when they first arrived. A friend of mine recommended that I should work as part of the residence club concierge team at Garza Blanca Resort, and so I came for an interview, got the job and began working in at the deep end during the high season.
Do you consider yourself Mexican or from the US?
Definitely Mexican. My whole family are Mexican, though I grew up in Utah and have a lot of friends there. At home we always spoke Spanish unless we went somewhere public and then we would speak in English. Obviously, living in the US, my school was all in English and I had to go to special Spanish classes to make sure that I could also read and write correctly in Spanish.
What do the Elite Concierge do?
The Elite concierge offer services to our Elite members before they have even arrived to the resort. We make sure to know if they wish to make reservations or if they are going to be celebrating a special event. It is important for us to know if members are going to be celebrating a special event as we love to arrange surprises for them. The Elite concierge will also carry out the member’s check-in from the suite, so they can go straight to their room without having to stop at reception. Our Elite members will enjoy a welcome bottle and chocolates in their suite as well as butler service. Our team will also be on hand throughout their stay.
What are some of the main Elite privileges?
In addition to receiving chocolates and a bottle of sparkling wine upon arrival, Elite members are assigned a butler and enjoy VIP Elite areas by the pools. They will find that they will have preferential reservations in the restaurants and be welcomed by either the chef or a member of the senior management team. I will also make sure that our members are staying in the highest level suite available, with the best views. On the day of their arrival, I always look at the suite allocation and if I see that I can change a reservation for a higher floor, I will do so.
Can you share with members a time where you were involved in creating a wow experience for a member?
Yes, actually the example I am going to share was put on TripAdvisor. In this case, we were receiving a family whose daughter, Grecia, was going to be celebrating her 7th birthday.
The family didn’t have time before they arrived to reply to our pre-arrival emails or answer our telephone calls and so we didn’t know it was her birthday until they arrived. As soon as I knew it was the little girl’s birthday, the next day I bought a birthday cake and asked the pastry chef to dedicate the cake to her with chocolate icing and a candle. I then took the cake personally to the suite and sang happy birthday.
The family were delighted and the little girl couldn’t stop smiling. This is what really inspires me about my job.
What are the qualities necessary to carry out your job?
You need to have a positive attitude and be humble, focused on providing excellent service. You also need to have a good sense of humor and find excuses to smile and laugh; after all, our members are arriving on vacation.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that we are one big family, that we can develop friendships with our members who return year after year. There are some members in particular who have become dear friends and we even go out for dinner when they arrive.
What highlights would you recommend to new members visiting Puerto Vallarta?
I think they should visit the beaches to the south of Garza Blanca; locations such as Yelapa, Las Animas and Quimixto. You have to take a boat to get to these beaches but it is totally worth it. To the north, I recommend going to Sayulita which is classified as a Pueblo Magico (magical town). Obviously, the malecon is a must every time your visit.
Which is your favorite restaurant on site?
BocaDos STK because I love steak and the views are incredible. The filet mignon is delicious!
Which suite is your favorite?
Apart from the penthouses, I would say my favorite suite would be the Two Bedroom residences on the mountainside. They are so spacious and have the Jacuzzi outside. There you have double views, on the one side you have the panoramic views of the ocean and Los Arcos, but you also have the mountains.
How can members find you?
I can sometimes be found by the concierge desks in the lobby, usually first thing in the morning, but I spend a lot of time in all the areas, checking rooms, visiting members by the pools and so on. But members can always send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I usually attend the members cocktail, and if I am not available to attend there will always be someone from my team present.