I’m back with “Concierge Confidential,” my series where I interview leading luxury travel experts from top hotels around the world. I find out their top recommendations that they recommend to their esteemed clientele in each of their cities.
In my opinion, one of the best parts of staying in a luxury hotel is to have access to the ultimate insider–the concierge. A good concierge prides him or herself on providing expert information for locals and visitors alike. If you’re at a good hotel, you should be able, in my opinion, to leave your schedule somewhat open and let the concierge help you choose your own schedule as you go. He or she should be able to recommend not just the most well-known and luxurious options but also places that you wouldn’t find on your own–the hidden gems. They should also have the connections to get you in to where you want to be with little to no notice. It is their job to upgrade your stay after all.
Any concierge can provide a map and a dinner recommendation. Top concierges, though can make the impossible happen through their wealth of knowledge and network of contacts. So here’s what they’ve got in store for their VIP guests.
Today we’ve snagged an interview withSandra Ferrarese, Chef Concierge, Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort.
One of Ferrarese’s top talents is communicating, not only with adults, but with children as well. When asked if she has a specialty, she says “children” without hesitation, and her face lights up as she describes how much fun she has planning family activities. Creating a special experience for our youngest guests is what makes Ferrarese the happiest, so it’s no surprise that she’s found her calling here in Orlando, one of the world’s top destinations for families.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
The best thing about my job is having the ability to make people happy. There is no better feeling that seeing a child smile when you recover his lost favorite toy, or because we arranged a meet and greet with his or her favorite Disney characters.
Yesterday a little girl cried when we gave her teddy bear back after she believed she lost it. Seeing her so excited really made my day. I am a believer that everything is possible when you truly care about the person you have in front of you. I think a good concierge has to have two things: a caring heart and the passion to make things happen, and both combined will make the best concierge in the world.
Why do you think your hotel is the best in town?
Four Seasons Resort Orlando is truly the best in the region because of the service we provide. Not only do we have the most amazing location, restaurants, pools, water slides, and resort water park in the area, but also in each of those places we have an amazing and caring employee who will make sure you go to bed with a smile on your face since that day was the best you ever had.
What’s the most special amenity at your hotel?
I could spend all day talking about what I love at Four Seasons Resort Orlando but I guess if I have to pick, my favorites would be our amenities for kids, our character breakfast, our location on Disney property, and our Chat program. Guests can chat with us through the Four Seasons app. We are obsessed with the idea of being in constant communication with our guests so we can assist them immediately with whatever they need.
What do you think is the most memorable experience guests have at your hotel?
Nowadays everybody lacks time, time to enjoy with their families or do what they love. I believe that “time” is the most memorable experience we give our guests. Time to not worry of anything else other than having fun and enjoying their loved ones.
What are the top three things in your city that you don’t think any visitor can miss?
DISNEY, of course. It is the most magical experience…
And I am going to be a “proud representative of my resort” on the other 2:
Our character breakfast, the Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy & His Pals at Ravello: there is no better way to meet characters than from a comfortable table enjoying a delicious buffet breakfast.
Also, watching an amazing sunset and Disney fireworks from Capa, our steak and Spanish restaurant on the 17th level rooftop.
What are your top Disney World recommendations?
Cinderella Royal Table dinner
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience for girls
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party
What are things to do at Disney that you think only insiders know about (like you!)?
Dole Whip dessert is a must try. The only places in the world that serve them are in Walt Disney World, Disney Land, and the Dole Plantation in Hawaii. You can find them at the Polynesian Resort or Adventure Land in Magic Kingdom.
What’s the best time of year to visit?
Each season has its own beautiful magic, but my favorite is December to April. The weather is the best during this time of the year.
Spending Christmas in Disney is a once in a life time experience that you cannot miss. All city glows with lights and decorations that will literally make you believe you are part of a fairy tale. Even living here I still have goose bumps whenever I see Disney and all the Orlando Christmas decorations.
Halloween is another amazing time to experience this special magic…
What are your picks for under-the-radar gems only experts know about?
Florida Springs are a great way to cool off. They stay at a constant temperature between 72 – 76 degrees all year round. If you are lucky, you may see some manatees!
About 1 hour away at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, you can go bioluminescent kayaking during the summer in clear kayaks. The season for this is from May – October, and most visible with a new moon or no moon.
What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had? What’s the craziest request you’ve ever satisfied?
One fun request was for a unicorn to meet a little girl on the front drive at arrival. The “unicorn” was a white miniature pony complete with rainbow colored hair; it was a special welcome to the resort!
More Information About the Four Seasons Orlando
For more information about the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort visit them online.
And check out my posts on KatieLara.com about Honeymooning in Disney World, VIP Tours in Disney World, Disney Golden Oak, A Review of The Villas at Grand Floridian, Best Rides in Epcot, and Best Rides in Magic Kingdom.
And my article for Forbes about How to Experience Disney World like a VIP.