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Crafting Memorable Moments in Cape Town: Meet our Marvelous Concierge and Front of House Team

Did you know that the term concierge originally means ‘Keeper of the Keys’ in French? Dating back a few centuries, it was the concierge who held the keys to every room in the castle and looked after the needs of visiting nobles. True to definition, our Cape Grace Concierge and House Management team will still most certainly ensure a seamless and memorable stay for all our guests. However, that’s just the beginning! Seats at the best and busiest restaurants in the Cape, and crafting personalised, once-in-a-lifetime experiences are just some of the feats they pull off each day. Meet some of the faces behind the magic, and learn more about what makes them extra special.

Synergy and Service

“Our role to ensure our guests have a memorable stay in Cape Grace and Cape Town,” said Kyla Lombard, Concierge. “House Managers, like myself and Renato, make sure that all departments run smoothly and speak the same language,” added Heinrich Robinson.

Tanya Johnson: Executive Guest Relations Manager

“I think the thing that sets our concierge team apart from the rest is the amazing team work that they have,” said Tanya Johnson, Executive Guest Relations Manager. “It is not about the individual, it’s about the collective effort of the team,” she added. Stacy van der Merwe, Head Concierge, agrees. “We rely on one another, brainstorm and find the best suitable itinerary for our guests, and always manage to find solutions to any challenges that we are faced with.”

 Delighting and Delightful Guests

While their roles might change over time, the team shares a passion for service, and our guests. “I find it most rewarding to surprise and delight our guests by anticipating their every need,” said Tanya.

Internal training is also a huge focus for the team. “I love to coach and mentor staff, drawing out their brilliance, and therefore confidence, to deliver 5 star service,” mentioned Kylie Holmes, Senior House Manager.

Jacques Thyssen: Guest Experience Manager

Renato Lardelli, House Manager, is particularly passionate about our returning guests. “I really enjoy innovating experiences in Cape Town, especially for our returning guests who are looking for ‘something different’ in the Mother City.”

On sharing Cape Town’s Many Wonders

The team shares an infectious enthusiasm for Cape Town, each with their own favourite aspect of the Mother City.  “I am a Cape Town ambassador and I love telling guests about my home city. It is so heartwarming when guests tell us that they don’t want to leave; when they feel like they have been to heaven on earth,” said Heinrich.

As a mom of two, Tanya knows where to head with the little ones. “I have 2 beautiful daughters, so in my free time I spend the day exploring Cape Town with them. They absolutely love the hop on hop of bus and Two Oceans Aquarium. Otherwise we often spend our day at the Heritage Market at Constantia Uitsig wine farm. It is perfect for the entire family, from ice-cream to sushi, beer to wine. They even have a bike track, which the girls love!” enthused Tanya. Jacques Thyssen, Guest Experience Manager, is a cyclist in the city. “I enjoy cycling, and so discovering coffee shops along cycling routes is an awesome early morning ritual.”

Kylie Holmes: Senior House Manager, Renato Lardelli: House Manager, Jacques Thyssen: Guest Experience Manager and Heinrich Robinson: House Manager

Stacy is a little more extreme. “My favourite things to arrange for guests would have to be adrenalin activities. As this is my passion and interest, I love promoting skydiving, paragliding, seal snorkeling and shark cage diving!” Kylie, with her love of adventure, is all about exploring. “Hiking Lion’s Head or Table Mountain and gazing at the glow of the sunset while strolling our beautiful beaches is my absolute favourite thing to do in Cape Town.”

Crafting Memorable Moments

Helping to create unforgettable moments for our guests naturally means that the team is a trove of fairy-tale like stories. Proposals, last-minute Christmas parties, and recovering lost luggage – they have pulled it all off with style. “I am someone who never says no. Where there is a will, there is a way,” said Heinrich.

Kylie has experienced everything from scorpion encounters (an unexpected guest safari memento), while Jacques has even arranged a signed soccer jersey.

Stacy van der Merwe: Head Concierge

But perhaps the most extraordinary story (and appropriate considering our festive season) has to be Tanya’s Christmas miracle tale. “We had a guest staying with us over Christmas. He was very sad that he was not going to be able to spend Christmas with his family. At the very last minute he found out that his family would be able to join him. To make it an extra special Christmas, we set up a beautiful Christmas tree in the suite, made personalised Christmas tree baubles inscribed with each family member’s name, hung Christmas stockings and even made a gluten-free gingerbread house for the family to enjoy. The family was so happy when they opened the door to see a lovely Christmas waiting for them!”

Secret Powers Revealed

Each member of the team has built a bit a reputation around their unique skills and recommendations. So who should guests contact when it’s crunch time? Heinrich elaborates, “I am the go-to person when guest are missing their luggage at the airport.”

Our Concierge Team: Stacy van der Merwe (Head Concierge), Moira Mdakana, Cemone Harrod and Kyla Lombard

As for the best quaffable recommendations in the Mother City, that has got to be Kyla. “Ask me about the best coffee (and wine) in and around Cape Town!” Renato is too, a vino enthusiast. “The winelands are amazing. I am going to retire there one day. I love leaving early in the morning, having breakfast somewhere in Stellenbosch/Franschhoek and then visiting different estates. I always visit a different estate when I go out to the winelands.”

Cemone and Moira are the foodies. “I have an appreciation for the taste and textures of food, and living in an ever-changing city like Cape Town means we can get very creative with our bookings,” smiled Cemone.

Stay Abreast of the Mother City’s Best

‘We like to speak from experience,” said Moira, Concierge. “We belong to the Concierge Forum which helps keep us up to date on what’s happening in Cape Town and also allows us to share our experiences on new restaurant or tour experiences, added Cemone.

Kyla added, “Our team holds the same beliefs on what we want for our guests. We want them to be happy and safe and feel well looked after. We are also believers that a ‘high standard’ means simply that we trust the supplier to consistently treat our guests the way we would: with personalised service above and beyond. To offer the guests an experience rather than just a meal, or package.”

Stop By and Say ‘Hi’

While you might first encounter the team via email, they love meeting guests in person, so make sure to stop by the front desk (or any desk for that matter) once you’ve arrived. They’re willing, waiting and always ready to help.

Contact our Team

  • Tanya Johnson: Executive Guest Relations Manager on tanya@capegrace.com
  • Jacques Thyssen: Guest Experience Manager on jacques@capegrace.com
  • Concierge Team: Stacy van der Merwe (Head Concierge), Moira Mdakana, Cemone Harrod and Kyla Lombard on concierge@capegrace.com
  • Kylie Holmes: Senior House Manager on kylie@capegrace.com
  • Heinrich Robinson: House Manager on heinrich@capegrace.com
  • Renato Lardelli: House Manager on renato@capegrace.com

Blog post by Tarah Darge

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In addition to our mobile app, our blog serves as a guide and gateway for the luxury traveller. Through our well-informed concierge team, we provide our readers with up to date information on the finest restaurants and places to explore in and around the Mother City.
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