In his latest Hospitality column, Professor of Service Ian Maksik shares his overnight experience at Hotel Andaluz.
BY IAN MAKSIK
I recently checked in at Hotel Andaluz for an overnight stay. I was there to to experience their service techniques and procedures. My purpose was to evaluate it for candidacy in the inaugural ABQ Free Press White Glove Awards. I’d heard about “green hotels” but I’d never had a true green experience.
Hotel Andaluz prides itself on a multitude of “green dream” applications. Solar cells warm 60 percent of the hotel’s hot water. Rainwater that’s collected in a 1,250-gallon tank is then filtered to water the roof garden. All compostable materials, including kitchen waste, get recycled.
There are no plastic water bottles here. Instead, Hotel Andaluz provides bottles you refill with filtered water. Hydroponic produce is grown onsite, and the carpet is renewable bamboo. Paints with the lowest possible Voluble Organic Composite (VOC) were used. All product purchase decisions are based on reducing environmental impact.
You also won’t find those miniature, disposable bath products either. Shampoo, conditioner and body wash pumps are mounted on shower walls. These showers are so soothing I could have remained in there for hours. The low-flow shower system infuses oxygen into well water. Eschewing sliding doors entirely, the showers have a person-sized opening opposite the shower head.
A six-inch lip surrounds the shower perimeter to prevent splashes. Step in and out hands free. The toilets boast a two-flush system. The #1 and #2 buttons provide the perfect flush for guests doing, well, number one or number two. What impressed me most about Hotel Andaluz was the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. It’s perfection personified.
It reminds me of an incident from my GM days at the JFK Hilton. Called to the room of an older lady, she met me at the door with her head wrapped in a massive towel. Her exact words were, “It’s blowing on me from somewhere, a draft, and I’m going to catch a cold.” I’ve felt that same chill in hotel rooms during my travels on the training circuit. The rooms at Hotel Andaluz are so perfectly cooled that it’s impossible to locate the AC duct. You just feel cool without ever feeling cold.
When guests leave their room, the lighting goes to sleep based on sensors. When guests re-enter, the light sensors react again, brightening the room. It’s a totally efficient energy matrix system. It’s alive. The room service was also a pleasure. The attendant called to let me know my breakfast was on the way up. They sent out for a gluten-free bagel, having noticed that fact on my comment card.
My breakfast tray arrived. All hot items were appropriately hot, and all cold items were actually cold. With a touch, the low coffee table rose to cocktail height for a comfortable breakfast. The servers at Hotel Andaluz are well trained. They’re equipped with the most important item any server can carry, a genuine smile. Hotel Andaluz is definitely a candidate for our first annual White Glove Awards.
To enter your venue as a candidate, email Ian Maksik at email@example.com. Fun fact: 73 percent of patrons return to food service establishments based on the quality of service. That’s an “86” aka “I’m out” from the Professor of Service.
Ian Maksik is a Cornell Hotel School graduate and a former Hilton general manager and catering editor for New York magazine CUE. Known as “America’s Service Guru,” Maksik has keynoted, lectured and trained owners, management and staff of hospitality facilities in 21 countries and at notable industry conferences. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 804-5413.
Featured photo credit: Hotel Andaluz