Meet the Guest Host Team Behind The Warmest Welcome in Cape Town.
“First impressions last,” says Castro, one of our esteemed three Guest Hosts. “That’s why we make it our job to read people, learn their names, and appreciate each guest individually.”
Genuine interest is just one of the incredible qualities our Guest Hosts share. Stationed at the entrance to Cape Grace, these fine gentlemen make it their business to ensure that everyone who steps through our doors is treated with the utmost care.
Meet the team
Castro joined the Cape Grace in the Porter position eleven years ago, having come from a Security background and was promoted to Guest Host in 2017. “It’s been great to grow in my position. Since joining Cape Grace, I’ve never looked back.”
He believes in leading by example and happily joins in ensuring that every last detail around guest arrivals is ship shape. “On top of practical duties, we need to consider our demeanours and learn to read our guests. Luckily, we are supported by a lot of training.”
Soft-spoken, this part-time poet and avid reader is a wiz at current affairs, spending a lot of his downtime soaking up news from every station and paper. This is all part of his deep appreciation for our guests and desire to truly meet them where they are at. “We think of Cape Grace as being our home. When you welcome someone in, you make them feel at home by sympathising and empathising with them.”
He shares the team’s enthusiasm for meeting different people and highlights this as the favourite aspect of his job. “I love learning about different cultures and languages.” Castro can even greet guests in Korean, and Arabic! “It makes people feel at home,” he added.
Johann, remarkably, has been here right from the start, or, to be completely accurate, even before that. “I’ve been working at the Cape Grace for 23 years now. When I first started out, it was just a mass of land.”
When construction of the hotel began, Johann was placed in charge of keeping the keys to the containers that housed various pieces of equipment. His dutiful stewardship caught the eyes of the founders, who invited him to move into the Guest Host role when the hotel opened. “I’ve enjoyed my role ever since,” said Johann. I never expected to interact with such a diverse array of people, but taught myself to identify accents. Now I’m able to tell whether someone’s from Russia, the UK, Egypt, Brazil, America, or beyond.”
What he loves most about his role? “I don’t have to go anywhere to meet people from around the world. I meet them at the front of my door.” And what an assortment of guests he has seen. Discreetly, Johann mentions that he’s shaken hands with his fair share of celebrities (no names mentioned), but harbours a special fondness for long-staying, and elderly guests, many of whom travel from afar just to see the Cape Grace. “Sometimes it’s very hard to say goodbye,” he added.
Eric completed the terrific trio when he joined the team in 2011 as a Porter. “Right from the start, I was welcomed so warmly. The management has always been supportive. Every day that I get to wake up and come here makes me a happy man,” he added.
In December 2016, he applied for the position of Guest Host. Eric loves sharing stories with guests and hearing their own in return. “I love meeting people from around the world. They will tell me what (for example), Mexico is like, and I share the story about South Africa. It’s a good story to tell.” Eric would know. He grew up in the Eastern Cape, very close to where “the great Mandela lived.”
Inside the hotel, Eric notes the level of professionalism. “Everyone who joins us becomes part of the Cape Grace family. As Guest Hosts, we work together with the Porters and coordinate the daily duties together.”
When Eric is not at work, he spends time with his wife, and five boys! “They love seeing daddy, and keep me very busy,” he concluded.
Castro, Johann and Eric are ready to welcome you home. Plan your stay to meet them in person.
Blog post by Tarah Darge