There is one job at The New York Palace that involves interfacing with guests on a daily basis, especially Towers guests experiencing our new lobby for the first time. The Maître d’Etage, also known as a butler, enhances the guest experience from pre-arrival to post departure.
Samir Saleh is one of The Palace’s long-standing Maître d’Etages, having served at the hotel for 19 years. Saleh started at The Palace after his move to the United States from Egypt per the recommendation of a friend. After five years of working in housekeeping, Saleh transferred to the Towers and has worked there since.
We talked to Saleh who spoke candidly about his experiences at The Towers and his excitement for the renovations.
The New York Palace: What made you want to work for The Palace?
Samir Saleh: Previously, I had worked in a couple of hotels in Egypt. When I first got to the United States, I held a couple of positions in other industries. I heard of the hotel’s prestige through friends, saw a posting for a position in the housekeeping department, and applied. I worked in the housekeeping department for five years until I was chosen to work in the Towers and have never left!
The New York Palace: Take us through a typical day at The Palace.
Samir Saleh: My main job is to assist all VIP and Towers guests. Whatever a guest needs, I am there to help them from before they arrive to even after they leave. I look at the profiles of incoming VIP guests to find out their preferences, for example, what types of beverages they may want in their room, if they need a microwave, or want extra towels.
I prepare for guests by communicating with all departments and making sure all requests are met before their arrivals. When a guest arrives, I greet them, bring them up to their room and continue to be available to them throughout their stay. While these are my main tasks, I often find myself helping out wherever needed.
The New York Palace: Do you have regular extended stay guests? If so, how long do they usually visit?
Samir Saleh: It depends; we have had guests stay for up to six months. We even have a guest who has been here for about five years. The New York Palace is her home and she is like family to us.
The New York Palace: Have you assisted any celebrities during your tenure at The Palace?
Samir Saleh: Yes, of course. I have had the pleasure of meeting celebrities such as Katie Holmes, Beyoncé, Shaquille O’Neal, and many more. In addition, I have assisted many dignitaries from foreign countries.
The New York Palace: What are you most excited about for the new renovations?
Samir Saleh: I am excited for everything, really! The entire hotel will be brand new with more modern décor and updated technology to match our superior service. With the opening of our Towers Lobby this week, we are all mesmerized by the lobby’s splendor.
The New York Palace: What has been the best thing about the hotel undergoing renovations?
Samir Saleh: Being under renovation can be a stressful time, but the finished product will be worth it. I think working in smaller spaces due to the renovations has really allowed the employees to get to know each other better.
The New York Palace: What is your favorite part of your job?
Samir Saleh: I really like working with people and being able to make someone happy. We have a lot of repeat guests that I assist regularly and have built good relationships with. When guests come back and ask for me personally, I know I have done a good job. For me, that is the most rewarding part.