AHL INSIDER

Crispy Soloperto

The legendary director of guest experience at the Standard Spa Miami Beach

Sometimes you meet a person, and their energy and presence seem to light up the entire world. When they happen to be welcoming you to a hotel, there is no question you found a special place, and nothing matters more than that vibrant, magic-feeling connection. If you ever walked into The Standard Spa Miami Beach and met Crispy Soloperto, you know what we are talking about. To say Crispy goes above and beyond to make sure her guests have the time of their lives is an understatement. We chatted to Crispy about her career and the importance of face-to-face interactions to create meaningful moments in hospitality, peeked into her unrivaled collection of anecdotes, and got her advice for travel, for life, and to make friends with all the dogs in the neighborhood. 

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What do you do, and how did you get here?

I’m the director of guest experience at The Standard Spa Miami Beach. I have a very eclectic work background from making holograms, production and prop work for film, bartending, and even pressure cleaning roofs… A gal gotta do what a gal gotta do… I was working as the restaurant manager at the Raleigh and happened to be walking by their front desk when a guest asked the agent where they could buy army surplus clothing for a photoshoot. The agent had no clue what they were asking. I intervened and, within five minutes, had them in a car and on their way. And the love affair began.

Why do you love your job?

I love my gig! I get paid to tell people where to go. It’s my job to create memories and experiences, be there for them when their chips are down and lift them up as well. People stay in hotels for all reasons, not always just for fun. So if I can provide comfort and mischief during their stay, I am super happy. 

What is the best thing about hotels? 

Hotels provide many amenities, and that’s fabulous. But the most important amenity is that personal connection with the guest. All the bells and whistles can only go so far. 

What does a good day at work look like?

Every day I am learning about my guests — what their secret snack, what can I put in their room so when they open the door, that wow factor blows them away… I love that, and for me, guests are not just a key number. I have put a life-size cut of Oprah in a room to surprise a regular. I do proposal setups and have even married a couple who woke up and told me they wanted to be married in Miami Beach. The next day, we were at South Point Park, all three of us crying. I make homemade dog treats, and all the pups in the hood come to my calling.

What’s not to love about what I do! I have wonderful opportunities of making a difference in people’s lives, and the reactions are always so worth it.

Where did you get your sense of hospitality?

I have often wondered if hospitality can be learned. You can teach pretty much anything to anyone, but to grasp the essence of true hospitality, I think you either get it or you don’t, and for many of us, it’s not just a job; it’s our lifestyle, it’s in our blood. We are caregivers, guests become family to us, and we treat you with that in mind. There is a deep passion for it. When you walk in our doors, you are home.

We bet you deal with memorable guests daily. Do you have a fun anecdote to share with us?

I wish I had kept a journal of the antics, requests, comments, and all the wonky interactions I have had over the years. There have been so many unforgettable moments with a crazy cast of characters for sure. One of my faves from many years ago was when Amy Winehouse stayed at the hotel for months. I was behind the bar, and we would sit and chat about what her album should be called and play “pick up stix” on the bar every night. The crazy thing was neither one of us knew who she was to become.

If you could choose a hotel to stay in, that isn’t the one you work for, anywhere in the world, which one would it be?

I have a little list in mind: The Carlyle — in the ’60s in my perfect little world — Little Governor’s Camp on the Mari River, Santa Caterina on the Amalfi Coast, Blue Heaven on Bora Bora… 

In which ways is technology helping you do your magic? 

I love seeing the industry evolve and helpful technology coming to play, but there’s nothing like the human experience in hospitality. With the availability of knowledge at our fingertips clearly, we have more resources that are faster and give instant information. But I find that even at this age, people still long for that human contact, that reassurance that they made the “right” choices of where they are dining and how they planned their holiday. They looked up online and saw the hot places, but sometimes they are still not sure if it was the right choice.  These types of interactions, along with a seal of approval on their choices — sometimes I will cross something off their list and redirect them so they experience Miami as it should be, instead of eating at outposts of their hometown joints. So even with all the devices, guests still need us.

If you could give hotel guests one piece of advice for their stay — and for life — what would it be?

One of the things I like to tell them is not to get their days so structured and planned they don’t allow things to happen organically. Spontaneous moments on vacation and in life are so crucial. We have to be open to adventures that may surprise us. 

What advice would you give to someone starting this career today?

If I were younger and knew this was what I wanted to do with my life, I would have studied languages. That is something I wish I had the ear for. Other than that, a sense of humor and well-rounded interests are key. We have to talk about all kinds of things with all different types of people. A good ear and patience are our best friends.

What excites you the most these days?

I am excited by guests that think outside the box, have a sense of adventure and by those first-time visitors who let go and allow the magic of our gardens and spa to open up senses they didn’t know they had. It’s life-changing. Oh, and the puppies clamoring for treats at my perch really tickles me.  

 

Crispy Soloperto A Hotel Life
Crispy Soloperto and the life-size Oprah cutout she had on hand for a special guest
Crispy Soloperto and the life-size Oprah cutout she had on hand for a special guest
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