Who is curious to learn how a luxury hotel as Vila Vita Parc works behind the scenes? Secrets from Portugal had the excellent opportunity to spent an entire week at one of the best Leading Hotels of the World, Vila Vita Parc, in the beautiful shores of Algarve. In this article, you’ll get to see a series of exclusive interview that we did with staff members, so take a look and contemplate visiting this five-star hospitality design!
Vila Vita Parc: Ariana Rodrigues
Head of Reception at Vila Vita Parc
Ariana has since a young age been quite curious about the hospitality industry, on the grounds that both of her parents worked in this business, which certainly awakened her desire to be a part of this industry. She graduated in communication back to Lisbon and then decided to go on an adventure to Germany where she perfected her knowledge and abilities, both professionally and linguistically speaking. After she concluded her studies, Ariana returned to Portugal where she commenced working in a private hospital, in Algarve. Shortly after, a grand opportunity emerged: “My parents work both in Hospitality and therefore I have always been in hotels as a child. I was always curious about a career in the hotel industry. And when the opportunity arose to work in Vila Vita Parc I did not even blink twice.”
“I love the contact with the guests and the reception, from the perspective of the guests, is where everything starts and where everything ends,” this is the sort of enthusiasm that Ariana demonstrates when she’s working putting her expertise and passion for communication and hotel business in good use.
The team of reception at Vila Vita Parc is comprised of 26 individuals. The communicative journey with each guest starts right with the doorman and the baggage handlers, who truly have one of the most important roles in the development of the resort. Ariana mentions yet another curious fact about the resort, “Vila Vita Parc also has its own transfers between the Airport and the Hotel and the transfers drivers are also part of our team, which is quite a distinctive novelty in regards to other hotels.”
The head of reception also talks about the necessity of creating a united and familial environment, whether if it’s among colleagues or guests. She adds that “In Vila Vita Parc, we have a high rate of returning guests and when guests become more regular, we start to uphold a closer sense of proximity. It is like they are coming back home.”
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Vila Vita Parc presents a remarkable standard of professionalism, friendliness and luxury, always with guests in mind in order to provide the utmost exclusive stay: “Every single day we prepare for the next one. There is always a list of arriving guests, some are regulars while others are visiting for the first time. Consequently, we try our best to accommodate every guest’s request and every detail in regards to their visit. A well-prepared welcoming is the key to success.”
In regards to the biggest challenges she has to face in her profession, Ariana enlightened us that the majority of them are actually rooted in the organisation of various teams, that, in actuality, are responsible for completely diverging assignments, as she continues, “I also have to deal with the daily challenges brought by the guests, which of course always require a lot and we have to correspond with a service of excellence.”
The Hotel industry has come to significantly evolve due to technological improvements. While this component holds a momentous value in Vila Vita Parc, it is not exclusive, giving prestige to an emotion that is exceptionally characteristic of the Portuguese, as Ariana discloses “We take full advantage of technology, but there are certain parameters that we maintain at the traditional level, meaning, with a more human-related contact, because in doing so we are humanizing the experience and we are treating the person with a different approach.”
Personal Assistant at Vila Vita Parc
Vila Vita Parc offers all the expected privacy and more as well as being equipped with the most ostentatious and well-appointed facilities and personal services. A stay in one of their villas is facilitated by the work of personal assistants who do everything within their means to ensure one’s needs and desires are completely fulfilled. Secrets from Portugal also had the opportunity to speak with Jorge, one of the main assistants, who told us a lot about the extraordinary and attentive processes that go behind this service.
Although Jorge has only held this position for a short period, he’s already one of the most distinguished members of Vila Vita, mostly due to its positive attitude and energy, motivation and his impressive ability to separate personal from professional.
Comprised of six assistants, this team is relatively young. However, sometimes this causes a bit of curiosity among guests, which immediately evaporates when they see the knowledge and expertise of each member.
Jorge enlightened us a bit more about the process of preparation for receiving a guest, explaining that it is about studying their profile, “their possible allergies and intolerances, their preferences, we pay attention to everything … upon their arrival, we immediately try to interpret the guest. Sometimes the guest is tired and wants to go straight to his villa … so we try to understand as quickly as possible by talking to the guest. We show that we are there to satisfy all of their needs.”
When asked about possible challenges or characteristics of his profession, Jorge responded with extreme enthusiasm by saying, “I think this is the ideal job for me, because, as I said, I really enjoy talking to people. I like to have access to everything, and it is an advantage of our profession, the power to transmit and sell everything to the guest,” he adds, “Our guests are our best teachers. They travel all over the world. They have access to the best wines, to the best products, and when we converse with them, we are acquiring different knowledge. But I always try to be up to date with wine and gastronomy.”
All the services available at Vila Vita Parc are interconnected, the resort shows an unequalled union and an efficient exchange of information between teams, that really makes it possible to offer an unforgettable hospitality experience, as Jorge asserts, “We always have all the teams together in the transition of shifts. Imagine that a client, let’s say from a normal room or a villa, tells a staff member that the guest does not like nuts, it’s not a question of allergies, but they simply do not like nuts. That person has to pass on this information to their boss and he then forwards the email to all departments and teams of the hotel,” it is this type of attention to detail, taste for quality and ambition to satisfy the guests’ needs that makes Vila Vita Parc one of the most prestigious luxury resorts in Portugal and the world.
House Keeping Supervisor at Vila Vita Parc
The resort reveals a clean and stunning ambience that is further enhanced by the supervisor of housekeeping, João Fonseca and his team. When classifying this type of services Vila Vita Parc is not keen on exclusively using words like cleaning and maintenance, because, according to Fonseca, they end up “restricting the concept that everything we have to offer,” and instead, the resort adopts the name Housekeeping as a way to “include the tidiness of the room and the entire experience it involves.”
João Fonseca graduated in relational marketing, having a master degree specialised in experiential marketing, that has opened up a world of experiences and services of excellence to him. Furthermore, Fonseca explains thoroughly the dichotomy between concepts like cleanliness and housekeeping, “I am a staunch supporter of Housekeeping and I fight to counteract the idea that Housekeeping is a Cleaning Service. It is not. I thought this way too until I realised that it was not just cleaning when I decided to go into this career. In the beginning, I made several study visits to 5-Star Hotels in Lisbon and those responsible for these hotels always reinforced the importance of housekeeping and the experience of the room. That’s when I understood the importance of housekeeping and decided to pursue this career.”
The housekeeping service of Vila Vita Parc is transversal to all other rendered services. For instance, Fonseca mentions Vila Trevo as one of the best domains of the hotel in regards to specialised services. This luxury property allows guests to have the whole experience of the hotel within this villa, that includes extremely well-appointed entertainment areas, such as a swimming pool, a gym and spa. Fonseca yet asserts that, “We outline guests’ profile with what they like and what they don’t like, so next time they visit us, the entire experience will be shaped in accordance with their wishes, even those that they did not tell us about but we noticed during the first time they visit us, this way you provide a new WOW experience.” As a whole, the hotel seeks to constantly anticipate the needs of its guess, always trying to go beyond the conventional.
Through powerful relationships and a strong communicative bond between the housekeeping staff and the personal assistants of the villas, the hotel has the ability to provide the best experience possible. The collaborators are trained and always have the care to comprehend every request made by the guests so that the hotel really offers what they are truly looking for. In order for this to occur seamlessly, teams are organised in a way that some individuals are regularly assigned to a certain area of the hotel. This allows for a more efficient assistance towards a guest stay, from beginning to end.
Vila Vita’s housekeeping team is comprised of more than 100 collaborators. The supervisor still adds that “there is a structure set up to supervise and guarantee the excellence of the service, which is led by D. Fernanda Silva who has the support of several supervisors in various points/areas of the resort.” Naturally, this service is regarded as one of the best housekeeping structures in the national panorama, not only due to its impressive administration but also in terms of experience.
The aesthetic value of the hotel when it comes to decoration is another massive factor that favours this service’s notoriety, as João Fonseca discloses, “we work with decorators to provide an ever-optimized design experience that is never the same from season to season … we can easily adapt the room to the needs of a guest and we always try to improve the decor. It is an ongoing process. There is a care not to stop and to continue to surprise … It is a detailed process that follows the trends of the hospitality world. It is a process that seeks to uphold the needs of guests, and it is a process of design and guest experience that is extremely valued.”
In conclusion, João Fonseca best explains how the resorts’ housekeeping service of excellence is characterised, “It is a luxury service where we are not limited only to cleaning, but, above all, we take care of the place, but also the guest. It is a leading service where we have to pay attention to the details. We are not just cleaning since we always go to another level.”
Gardner at Vila Vita Parc
Vila Vita Parc is rightfully considered one of the best luxury resorts in the world mostly due to its incredible Moorish-influenced architecture and being nestled in the dramatic coastline of the Atlantic ocean. However, one of its most impressive features is its landscape design that actually comprises about two-thirds of the resort. Now, get to know the work of Luís Correia and the luxurious essence of Vila Vita Parc, in an exclusive interview.
Luís Correia started working at the extraordinary Vila Vita Parc 13 years ago. Since that moment, and with the assistance of another 37 gardeners, who are also passionate about this wonderful art, gave origin to some of the most exquisite landscape designs, as he explains “what we do is the part of gardening, the maintenance of the entire garden, of the lakes, cleaning the streets nearby, caring for animals such as swans and ducks …”. Vila Vita Parc’s gardens are comprised of a diverse selection of colours, aromas and shapes. There is a massive diversity when it comes to trees and green areas, from palm trees to bushes as well as flowers. One could say that the five-star deluxe resort almost acts as a botanical museum, brimming with life and excitement.
According to the proficient gardener, one of the hotel’s areas that gave him the utmost satisfaction in working and that best portrays his signature style was “the area of the loungers, next to the cliff … it was completely different”. This is authentically one of the most distinguished and beautiful areas of the hotel due to its natural beauty and biodiversity. In addition, the luxury resort features more than 800 palm trees of varied nature as well as over 80 species of plants. Luís Correia highlights the “Árvore do Fogo” (otherwise known as Flame Tree) as his most beloved.
Vila Vita Parc also possesses an independent greenhouse area, “it’s an area that we have, we have sick plants there, we take it there to recover them and then we bring them back.”
To Luís Correia, this burning passion for plants and green spaces has been there for quite some time, as he discloses, “I’ve always enjoyed working outdoors … One has to really enjoy what they do, otherwise, if they don’t, then there’s no point in doing it”. Regarding the beginning of his career, Correia reveals that “I started by helping constructing golf courses. I was a year in the Azores expanding a course that already existed and then building a new one.” Afterwards, he went on to work on a marine zoo where he had similar responsibilities as he has now in Vila Vita Parc.
In what concerns inspiration and learning factors that are quite decisive in his career, Correia believes it is all about “information, we have to research, we have to be up to date, there’s a need for research, books, the internet, people that we work with often host talks … these lectures are about plants, new trends, new species … we have to be cautious with the plants, we cannot put a plant the needs sun to survive in the shadow, we need to always have this sort of supervision … Mr Manuel Cabral is the person behind the architecture and he gives us full support in this area. He is our director and is one of the people that best know and challenges us.”
In conclusion, Luís Correia talks about the importance of plants and the care one has to have in order to preserve them in Vila Vita Parc, “Plants are living organisms, and for example, at this point and time, we need to be cautious with plagues, temperature and humidity. In regards to the lawn, we need to be aware of fungus while with plants, we need to be careful with lice, if we notice in time, then we can prevent these diseases … the people that walk the fields, that are in the land, they must pay attention to everything and see what others may not. We have to ascertain that the plants are healthy.”
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