My friend Renee called me one day and asked if I would be interested in working as a concierge at The Inn at Spanish Bay. “I don’t think so,” I said. I was working as the daytime bartender at the Monterey Plaza Hotel at the time and I liked my job. Renee and I did some part-time modeling together and in the relatively short time I had lived on the Monterey Peninsula, I considered her my closest friend. I was recently separated from my first husband and things weren’t easy, but my little boy and I were settling into life in a one bedroom apartment a few blocks from the beach. “John is recruiting,” Renee said. John was Renee’s husband. He was in the hotel business and if I took the job as concierge, he would be my boss. He was a great guy, but the thought of changing jobs during such an unsettling time in my life sounded like more than I wanted to deal with.
A month or so later, John called me himself. “Come on, Jodee, just come down to the hotel and let me show you around and tell you about the job.” I agreed. The Inn at Spanish Bay hadn’t been open too long and was part of the Pebble Beach Resorts family. The historical Lodge at Pebble Beach was (is) its sister property. Both are located on the world famous 17-Mile Drive and both have world class golf courses. It was beautiful. The resort itself wooed me. When John and I finished walking the property and talking about the job, I was smitten. It didn’t hurt that he timed my visit with sunset, and the bagpiper who plays and pairs beautifully with that time of day.
A concierge takes care of a hotel guest’s every need, though you aren’t required to break the law, and you can refuse to help a guest if they ask you to cross the line, though that line is never actually spelled out. Of course you aren’t allowed inside of a guest’s room, other than the short time you are pointing out the workings of their room after you have escorted them to it. You see, that was how Spanish Bay had this position structured. You were either one of two employees behind the concierge desk, or you were posted in the lobby awaiting arrivals. If that happened to be you, the front desk clerk would introduce you by name, “Mr. Jones, this is Jodee. She is going to escort you to your room, tell you about the hotel, and answer any questions you may have.” But I’m jumping ahead.
We didn’t have bellmen. We had porters. Porters would be posted outside as hotel guests pulled up to the porte-cochère. The hotel was set back from the road. There was a guard gate at the entrance. The person working in the guard gate would inquire whether the person entering the property was checking into the hotel and if they were, the gate person would call the doorman and let them know that Mr. Jones was on his way up in a blue Mercedes. Mr. Jones would then be greeted by name by the doorman and then whisked to the front desk clerk and introduced where he would promptly get checked in before being handed off to (a concierge) me. Mr. Jones would always inquire about the car and his bags, but he would be told not to worry about that. While one porter was parking his car, another porter was already on his way to the room to drop off the luggage before we arrived, and when he is surprised to see his luggage and inquires about tipping, he is told that a 15% gratuity is added onto his folio so he is not to tip anywhere in the hotel other than the restaurants and lounges. Sometimes guests would push cash into your hands and not take “no” for an answer, but you would never know if they were a spy so you tried to resist as best you could. Not taking “no” for an answer was a pretty good clue that they weren’t hired by management to “secret shop” on your ass.
My second husband, David, was my immediate supervisor. He was John’s assistant manager. I didn’t know he was going to be my second husband when I met him, but he would become that in less than a year’s time. My first day on the job was shadowing David as he told (and showed) me everything about the hotel. It was crucial to the job that I know everything about the hotel, the restaurants, the company, etc. We also drove over to The Lodge at Pebble Beach because I had to be familiar with that property as well. My one standout memory of that day was when we were driving to The Lodge and I told David about my son Jarrod, who was five at the time, wanting to change his name to Arnold. David laughed to tears.
To be continued…