Something Inside of Us Sleeps, The Sleeper Must Awaken

Meet up with a Receptionist at Burj Al Arab, the World’s Most Lavish Hotel

Meet up with a Receptionist at Burj Al Arab, the World’s Most Lavish Hotel
  • 22-calendar year-previous Carmen Barbera is a receptionist at Burj Al Arab, “the most effective lodge in the entire world.”
  • She started off out in the luxury hospitality industry two years back as a butler in the Maldives. 
  • Here is what it is really like to perform in the iconic Dubai resort, where by suites charge up to $25,000 a night.

The change among a five-star lodge and Burj Al Arab, which has been described as the world’s “only 7-star resort,” is not the gold-plated ceilings or complimentary Hermès fragrance. As soon as you might be at the top rated, genuine luxury is described by services. 

That is what Carmen Barbera, a 22-12 months-aged receptionist from France, tells me. Just lately crowned the UAE’s 2021 Receptionist of the Calendar year, the younger pro speaks fluent French, Spanish, and English. On the cellphone, even her voice seems deluxe.

It truly is a repertoire that comes in helpful when she checks in jet-placing guests to their Burj Al Arab suites, which assortment from $1,200 to $25,000 a night time. To enter the hotel residence, site visitors cross a guarded bridge, and visitors usually arrive by using a chauffeured Rolls-Royce escort or personal helicopter.

Though just one could imagine that catering to Dubai’s affluent vacationers would come to be tiresome, Barbera claimed talking to Burj Al Arab’s attendees is her favorite portion of the occupation. 

“From the initially day I stepped in, I realized that I was so passionate about it … I appreciate to satisfy individuals from all about the environment,” she informed Insider.

“What is incredible about this hotel is the fascination that it results in in people’s eyes,” she later extra.

Burj Al Arab tennis

Burj Al Arab’s helipad was transformed into a tennis court to host a match in between Roger Federer and Andre Agassi in 2005.

David Cannon/Getty Photos

Barbera began performing for Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, which owns Burj Al Arab, two several years ago as a butler in the Maldives. Before that, she worked component-time at the Four Seasons in Paris though learning entrepreneurship at Emlyon Company School.

But it was in the center of the Indian Ocean exactly where she gained her stripes. For 6 months, Barbera completed butler training at Jumeirah Vittaveli, famed for its private overwater villas with h2o slides connecting them to the sea.

When the hotel permanently shut throughout COVID-19, she transferred to Ozen Existence on Maadhoo island. The all-inclusive luxury vacation resort with 24/7 provider has a separate, smaller island for staff members, in accordance to satellite imagery. 

Now-closed Jumeirah Vittaveli on Bolifushi Island in the Maldives (left), Ozen Life on Maadhoo Island (right)

Jumeirah Vittaveli on Bolifushi Island in the Maldives (still left), Ozen Everyday living on Maadhoo Island (suitable)

Google Maps

During coaching, Barbera claimed she rotated by way of the beverage, housekeeping, and front place of work departments, adding that butlers are expected to memorize the entire resort format.

Outside of logistics and operations, Barbera said the vital to success in the hospitality field is emotional intelligence, as each individual working day — and each individual guest — is unique. 

“You are not able to really forecast everything and you have to usually react very rapidly to any circumstance,” she advised Insider. “For the reason that when you are a butler, you are the human being in the eyes of the visitor who is able to clear up everything and make anything at all come about.”

A couple principles of thumb when it arrives to visitor interactions, according to Barbera: respect privacy and confidentiality, browse the place, and go to the visitor (hardly ever have them experience the want to come to you).

“Some attendees would like to have a potent existence for the duration of their day from their butlers and some company would like to have extra discretion,” she claimed. “So you have to really use your psychological expertise to comprehend the anticipations.”

In her recent function as a receptionist, a common get the job done day starts at 7 a.m. and finishes at 4 or 5 p.m. In order for reception to stay open up 24/7, employees rotate between day and night time shifts. Burj Al Arab’s hotel staff members outnumbers visitors with a 6:1 ratio, as Insider has previously noted. 

Preparation main up to visitor arrival commences a day or two ahead of they get there. There are dinner reservations to be booked, suite tastes to organize, and transportation from the airport to prepare. 

Whilst Barbera was hesitant to disclose her wage, she claimed Jumeirah has an lively interest in guaranteeing staff can afford to are living in Dubai, as it impacts employees perspective at operate.

Glassdoor estimates that butlers at Jumeirah’s Dubai area make among $544.51 and $816.77 a month, with more pay back of $3,267.08 a yr. There is no present data accessible estimating the hotel’s receptionist salaries. A spokesperson from Burj Al Arab did not react to many requests for comment on the accuracy of this estimate.

“Listed here at Burj Al Arab we purpose to present what we get in touch with ‘service over and above anticipations,'” Barbera stated. “This is in which hospitality experts can make a variation … you can improve a journey from a satisfying or comfortable journey to an excellent one.” 

Do you function in a luxury resort or special resort? Make contact with this reporter at [email protected] to share your tale.