When you work at The Grand America, you start to hear a commonly spoken mantra: be careful what you say when Javier is in earshot. Before you know it, that thing you offhandedly mentioned, or indirectly wished for, will suddenly–as if by magic–appear.
As Banquets Director, Javier Robles creates unforgettable experiences for individual guests on an unimaginable scale. Overseeing all banquets across The Grand America’s 100,000 square feet of special event space (with an additional 25,000 square feet of functional space he also oversees at The Grand’s sister property, Little America), he regularly welcomes large groups–some even as large as over 3,000 guests. Even so, Javier has a special gift for remembering small details about hundreds of individuals. It’s a talent that is hard to understand or believe until you witness it firsthand. Never writing anything down, he operates with a near photographic memory, instantly recalling long lineages of clients’ tastes and preferences. This client prefers Coke, but his wife will take a Diet. This other guest always takes two sugars in her coffee. If, say, he remembers that one client mentioned having a daughter who likes macrons, that client will receive a hand-delivered box of the colorful French delicacy to take home just before they leave. The unwritten “list” goes on and on. Javier always delivers. His talent for thoughtful, tailor-made service is a large part of what makes The Grand just that.
23 Years in the Making
This is a talent they can’t teach in school. And hospitality is not something Javier would’ve, at the time, considered studying anyways. Having completed his education in Fresno, California, he worked in construction before transitioning to roles in food and beverage. Even as his work in food and beverage took him further into the hospitality industry, he says he still never saw it as a career. Position after position, it had always felt like just a job.
But working for The Grand America was different. Almost 23 years ago, he started as a member of the hotel’s Banquet Set-up team. Working his way into other positions like Beverage Captain and then into management, he now directs the whole department of around 130 to 140 employees.
Beyond his regular management responsibility, he often finds himself called on for assistance in a variety of customer support scenarios. Recently, an executive guest mentioned wishing he had a navy blue suit jacket to wear for a company photo. Javier, who was in the room setting up a coffee break, calmly sprang into action. Knowing he had a freshly-laundered navy blue suit in his office, he retrieved it and had it back to the Presidential Suite for the executive with more than enough time to spare before the photo-op.
“They Don’t Have a Javier”
Even when former clients and guests find themselves working with other hotel properties, one thing remains certain–none of these other hotels, or other cities, as he will proudly declare, “have a Javier.” They may have brand new facilities or be centrally located in other great downtowns, but no other hotel can offer the special way Javier can make guests feel when they come to The Grand America.
He’s been thanked through tears more than once. From an outside perspective, this may sound surprising. But those who have seen it in action know that Javier is the master of making guests feel at home. So much so that guests find it hard to leave. It’s part of the reason why he loves serving larger conferences and convention groups. From the moment they arrive on property, he takes the time to form relationships and make individuals feel like The Grand America is their home away from home.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been several attempts to steal him away from The Grand. After even just a week of experiencing his sincere and dedicated service, several clients have tried to take him with them. But, according to Javier, he has no plans to leave. He loves the people he works with, within his team and throughout the hotels. Still, he’s already working to make sure his legacy is handed down. He consciously trains his team in the “Javier-way” of hospitality and service. So we can all rest assured that The Grand America will “have a Javier” for years to come.