Concierge Spotlight: Miriam Edwards, Chef Concierge at the Pan Pacific Vancouver

Miriam Edwards, Chef Concierge at the Pan Pacific Vancouver

Miriam Edwards; Image courtesy of the Pan Pacific Vancouver

Who knows what’s happening in a city better than a hotel concierge? As the point of contact for hotel guests seeking information or assistance during their stay, they need to be extremely knowledgeable about a great number of things, from where to eat to what is the current hottest play to see to where to get a fabulous blowout. It’s a tough, but rewarding job.

Each month, Inside Vancouver will get to know one of Vancouver’s top concierges, by putting six questions to them.  This month, we interview Miriam Edwards, the Chef Concierge at Vancouver’s world-renowned Pan Pacific hotel — located right on the water at Canada Place, in the heart of downtown Vancouver, and the only hotel in the world built on top of a cruise ship terminal.

Pan Pacific Vancouver

Image courtesy of the Pan Pacific Vancouver

How long have you been a concierge?
I have been a concierge for the past 17 years: I was in charge of the Concierge Department at The Westin Regina in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico [now named the Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta], for 3 years; upon my return to Vancouver, I set up the concierge desk at Canada Place; and for the last 7 years, I have been employed with the Pan Pacific Vancouver as Chef Concierge. I have also been a member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada (a society of hotel Concierge) for 10 years.

the Pan Pacific Vancouver

Atrium Lobby; Image courtesy of the Pan Pacific Vancouver

What is your favorite part about being a concierge?
I love my job. I do not see it as just a job, but as a career, and every day is new and exciting. I feel really good when I can exceed guest expectations.

With the large number of guests we welcome on a daily basis, I receive different requests, which keeps me on my toes. I enjoy meeting visitors from all over the world and get to use all of my languages regularly (German, Dutch, Spanish).

I had a guest from England last week, whose wife was in the hospital for an unexpected surgery. The guest was supposed to return a rental car to the airport but was unable to. Because we have great networking skills at the concierge desk, I was able to contact the car rental manager, who did us a special favor and came personally to pick up the vehicle. The guest was in tears and very thankful; those are the things that make my day.

Name some services you offer as a concierge that you think makes a guest’s stay all the better?
The concierge desk provides various services, such as the charging of our guests’ tablets and phones; providing HDMI cables for guests if they need it; arranging in-room massages; organizing for private personal trainers to come to the hotel; and even cufflinks for those guest who forget theirs — we have some on hand.

During the TED Conference, we had one guest ask for an ice skating instructor, another one requested a private plane charter, and a famous TV personality asked for yogurt that is only available in the U.S., so we drove south to pick up the yogurt.

What is the strangest request you’ve ever had from a guest?
I had a guest looking for South African beef jerky.

What is your favourite activity to do in Vancouver?
Being raised in The Netherlands, I love to go for a great bike ride. Sometimes I’ll ride through Stanley Park, or along the seawall from Olympic Village to Granville Island, and sometimes as far as Spanish Banks. I also enjoy browsing antique stores on Main Street, or visiting many great galleries on South Granville.

Stanley Park Seawall

Stanley Park Seawall; Ted McGrath|Flickr

When I do decide to take my car and have visitors in town, I enjoy driving along Marine Drive in West Vancouver and stopping at Lighthouse Park; going for fish and chips in Horseshoe Bay; and taking them to the newest attraction in Squamish, the Sea to Sky Gondola.

Lighthouse Park

Lighthouse Park; Shannon Leigh Photography | Flickr

Name three local restaurants that you enjoy dining at.
I miss my Dutch food occasionally, so I love to have my croquettes with Dutch mustard lunch at De Dutch at Canada Place. Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House is always a classic, with a great selection of seafood dishes. It’s always consistently good. I especially love dining at Joe Fortes when their rooftop patio is open.

Joe Fortes

Image courtesy of Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

With visitors, I will go to the Teahouse in Stanley Park or Seasons in the Park; brunch is my favourite time.

Seasons in the Park

Seasons in the Park; Image courtesy of Sequoia Company of Restaurants

Thanks Miriam for chatting with Inside Vancouver this month!

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