Gabrielle De Gray, a club-level concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco // © 2015 Gabrielle De Gray
Feature image (above): The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco // © 2015 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
Gabrielle De Gray, a club-level concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, has always loved learning.
As a young woman, she waited tables at a local restaurant in an effort to put herself through college, eventually graduating with three degrees in hand. Now, several years later, she continues to learn every day — but this time from the guests staying at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco.
What is the best thing about working as a concierge?
I knew the club level was exactly where I wanted to be. It’s an intimate setting, and we get to know our guests really well. I believe the structure of a city is universal. Anywhere you travel, it’s like peeling back the layers of an onion. You come back and go deeper and deeper. San Francisco is a wonderful city because it is very diverse and iconic, but not so large that you get lost in it.
How does this property stand out from others in the city?
It’s the personalized service we provide. When clients stay with us, we become a part of their family. We blend luxurious settings with a warm, relaxed and refined atmosphere. We also have incredible ties to the agent community and often serve as a liaison, whether it’s with a limo company, a private tour guide or anyone else an agent sets a client up with. We link up with them in order to give our guests and their agents the best possible service.
What’s an ideal itinerary for those who are visiting San Francisco for the first time?
There are iconic things San Francisco is known for, such as Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf. I suggest that guests take a cable car down to the Ferry building and then go to Blue Bottle Coffee or Biscuit Bender bakery. Then they can see Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 and walk up to North Beach through Chinatown.
What do you consider “undiscovered” San Francisco?
The Mission district is a wonderful, iconic melting pot of many different cultures. It’s also known for Balmy Alley, a concentration of wonderful murals. If clients book with Precita Eyes tour company, they can go on weekend walking tours to see all the murals in the city. I’m a bit of a foodie, and we also have “Off the Grid,” where guests can visit the city’s approximately 30 food trucks.
What’s the most memorable way you’ve helped a guest?
I had a gentleman who came in with an oxygen tank and said he wanted to eat at every two- to three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the city. As he was checking out, he came to thank me and said he was flying back home and it would be the last time he could fly for a while. He told me that eating at those restaurants was the last thing on his bucket list before he received a lung transplant. It’s the little things like that.