A Q&A With Lenita Norris: Meet the World’s Best Concierge
Discerning global travelers recently ranked Secret Bay the #1 Resort Hotel in the Caribbean in Travel + Leisure’s 2020 World’s Best Awards, and much of this success can be attributed to the hotel’s highly customised six-star experience, tailored to each guest’s liking. And an essential contributor to this world-renowned experience? The world’s best concierge: Lenita Norris. An integral pillar of the Secret Bay service family, Lenita represents our commitment to best-in-class hospitality, so we decided to get the scoop on just how she crafts the most unforgettable visit for her guests, time and time again.
Can you tell us what being named the #1 Resort Hotel in the Caribbean and the #6 Hotel in the World in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards means to you?
It’s incredibly exciting! We have an amazing team here at Secret Bay that goes above and beyond to ensure every guest experience is one to remember, and winning this incredible award offers us a great sense of achievement. It reinforces the fact that all our hard work genuinely pays off. Yay, Secret Bay family!
What would you say is the secret sauce for creating an incredible guest experience?
Without a doubt, it’s the Secret Bay service and team members. Every single person on the team — from landscapers to our villa hosts to food & beverage and reservations — deeply cares about the guest experience. Not to mention, we have great pride for our island home, our culture and our food, and are super eager to share. There’s nothing too big or too small to do for my guests, and I always execute tasks with a smile (because it really does make me happy when they are happy).
Can you walk us through a typical day as a concierge at Secret Bay?
The day begins with a group huddle very early in the morning to discuss the day’s events, share details about our guest experience and cultivate opportunities to ‘wow’ our guests.
Then it’s a walk through the property to make sure that every detail is in place, from checking that our property flowers are even more beautiful than the day before to ensuring that the facilities are in the perfect condition. This is followed by a series of phone calls and face-to-face conversations. I’m making sure Fire is getting ready for his trip, Ryan has life vests and water shoes packed and that the villa host has placed an order for that surprise birthday cake. Later, I’m checking in with the purchasing department for my guest’s special requests and following up with the chef on our turn-down amenities.
By this time, I am ready to meet with my new arrivals. This is the best part. I check their arrival and departure dates, do some research using their pre-arrival questionnaire (to get a feel for their level of adventure), grab a map and make my way to each villa. We sit and chat about their vacation dreams, and I show them the wonders of the island. We talk about the tough hikes, the easy hikes, the amazing water adventures and local festivities, food and more. Sometimes I get a glimpse into their side of the world, and I love checking out pictures of my guests’ past holidays and, of course, their lovely family photos.
Once our conversations are done, I jump right into planning and provide a curated experience itinerary based on the adventures we agree works best for them. A lot of planning takes place throughout the day to ensure that everything goes smoothly and all requests are met in a timely manner.
If you could recommend just three experiences on The Nature Island, what would they be?
For the adventurous, I would recommend a visit to Boiling Lake, a canyoning expedition or Lionfish Catch & Cook. For those seeking a more leisurely activity that is just as awe-inspiring, I’d recommend a rainforest hike to Middleham Falls, snorkeling the Nature Island’s crystal-clear, tranquil waters or soaking in the natural hot springs.
What do you think guests enjoy most about staying at Secret Bay?
Being pampered and not having to worry about a thing. Having amenities from a Kindle loaded with daily international papers to a resort-issued iPhone for personal use and on-call service, guests can escape the world without a worry of missing any of the comforts they would have at home.
What do you think sets Secret Bay apart from other resorts?
It’s the personalisation that makes this place so incredible. We understand that we are working with different people, with different expectations, different lifestyles and different experiences — and we tailor our interactions to suit. And on top of that, we genuinely care about the experience and how our guests will remember Secret Bay and Dominica once they leave us.
When you’re not working, what can we find you doing?
I grew up in the Roseau Valley, home to some of the island’s best hot springs, waterfalls and lakes. I absolutely love being outdoors and appreciate reconnecting through nature as often as I can. I also taught my son how to snorkel, so discovering the ‘sea world’ with him is also quite satisfying on an off day. And I love Dr. Birdy, so if he is going up the mountain to capture images of the Parrots — I’m there!
“I am not young and I have traveled a lot. At Secret Bay, I met without a doubt the single most impressive hospitality employee of all time, Lenita Norris. She combines the three essentials of a hospitality professional in a way and to an extent I have never seen.”
— Secret Bay guest testimonial via TripAdvisor