8 Things You Can Learn from Roberto M.W.S. Van Geenen

Advice from the general manager of the Ritz.

photography by Dan Sellers

“We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” Roberto M.W.S. van Geenen, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, explains after offering pastries and tea. The Ritz opens its Dallas hotel—the first domestic opening in four years—in July, and the company is noted for its highly specialized customer service. Although this reporter doesn’t consider herself a “lady,” she can attest to van Geenen’s unparalleled chivalry. Even with her ungainly efforts to steer the conversation away from the subject of the Ritz toward more personal matters, he pleasantly, and firmly, stayed on message. 

Don’t underestimate pillow talk.
We use highly upgraded pillows, including Euro shams, layered on each bed to create a comfortable, home-like experience. Note to self: Get a better home life.

There’s a “right” way to make a bed.
And we have a DVD on how to do it. But, to summarize, our housekeeping professionals suggest standing on one side of the bed, fluffing the feather bed and then billowing each sheet over the entire bed (from a single side) prior to tucking it in with hospital corners.

Spend some cash on the soap.
Bulgari white tea body lotion, shower gel, and soaps are provided in each room. Editor’s Note: Shower gel, $41, and body lotion, $49, available at Nordstrom at NorthPark Center.

Get personal.
Invest in some pretty paper—we provide our VIPs with stationery printed with their name and “in residence.” My personal cards are a heavy card stock and carry my family crest, which was presented to us in 1549 by Emperor Karl V. Note to self: Get family crest.

Eat at the Best Places.
Nothing beats home cooking. My best meal in Dallas was the dinner that my wife, Gudrun, prepared for me after I had been traveling for five months. It was a very traditional dinner with goulash, lots of garlic, and a fabulous bottle of pinot noir.

Diplomacy is underrated.
There are no bad guests; only guests who haven’t expressed what they want.

Embrace our city.
I run at White Rock and find it a very relaxing experience. I’m also very impressed with the Arts District. The shopping isn’t shabby either. I like Stanley Korshak, and of course the original Neiman Marcus

Be Spontaneous.
Pop-ins aren’t necessarily a bad thing. We want to be the living room of Dallas.

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