Leroy is hospitality

He has rummaged through mountains of dirty laundry to find a guest’s lost credit card, waded into the water to serve visitors their drinks and driven to the airport on his day off to present guests with a photograph.

Leroy Jordan

Leroy Jordan poses beside a Christmas tree at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Photo: Cliodhna McGowan

But it’s all just part of a typical day’s work for long-time hospitality professional Leroy Jordan.

Among the wonderful band of hospitality professionals in the Cayman Islands, Mr. Jordan is certainly a man who knows how to embrace the spirit of true hospitality and customer service.

‘Leroy truly has a gift for connecting with guests,’ said Vice President and General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Jean Cohen, where Leroy woks as a concierge. ‘He embodies the mission of The Ritz-Carlton, which is to provide genuine care and comfort. He is also a talented teacher and has been eager to share his expertise with our Caymanian concierge staff.’

Mountains of letters and many phone-calls to the hotel expressly mention Leroy Jordan for the wonderful stay he helped guests have while visiting the Cayman Islands.

On one occasion at the hotel, upset guests who lost a credit card mentioned that it may have got caught up in the linens. So, Mr. Jordan went to laundry at 10pm when it was closed and went through a mountain of dirty laundry and four hours later found the credit card.

Then there is the island myth – heard by many tourists and residents – of a server who waded out into waist deep water with guests’ drinks rather than call out to them to let them know their order was ready. Yes, that was Leroy Jordan!

He began his career in Cayman spending six years at The Hyatt Regency, starting in the Banquet Division and then working as a beach server.

He was awarded the Hyatt Employee of the Year in 2004.

That year he was also honoured as the region’s premier industry professional when he was named Employee of the Year in San Juan, Puerto Rico, by The Caribbean Hotel Association.

Now at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Leroy continues to shine.

He was recognized as one of the hotel’s Five Star employees during its first awards ceremony and is always among the first to volunteer for community service projects.

Practically every week, the employee lineup includes a guest comment raving about Leroy.

Mr. Jordan delivers his signature brand of service in ways both big and small, inside and outside of the hotel.

For example, he planned a magical evening for a couple who visited in early 2006. The husband wanted a romantic experience, so Mr. Jordan arranged a horse-driven carriage to collect them and transport them to an oceanfront dinner on Seven Mile Beach. The table was set with the wife’s favorite flowers (gerbera daisies), and a harpist entertained them upon arrival. He also arranged for a local jeweller to have one of its sales professionals approach their table dressed in an evening gown to present the wife with a selection of six diamond tennis bracelets from which she got to choose (of course with prior arrangement/approval with the husband).

The couple subsequently visited The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman twice more and is planning to stay for a full month on their next visit.

Mr. Jordan also had the opportunity to assist a young couple here on their honeymoon.

On the last day of their stay, he took a photograph of them. On his day off, he printed and framed the photo with plans to present it to the couple upon their departure. Unfortunately, he had missed the couple by a few minutes, so he drove the gift to the airport.

Mr. Jordan always makes a point of wishing guests with whom he has worked closely a fond farewell. If they are leaving on his day off and he is not at the hotel in uniform, he will often see them off at the airport.

Some of the many letters Leroy has been given by guests include these sentiments:

‘Thank you for all of your assistance. This was the first time I traveled alone; however, you helped me make this one of my best vacations. Thanks, Eugenia’;

‘Scott and I can’t thank you enough for all of the thought and extra effort you put into making our honeymoon so very special. You are a wonderful man and we wish you all the success, which we both know you will achieve. Thank you for everything. Best wishes, Emily and Scott.’

But, having worked in the hospitality industry for seven years, Leroy could be affected by the rollover policy.

‘His leaving the Cayman Islands would unquestionably be detrimental to Cayman’s tourism industry. He is simply irreplaceable,’ said Ms Cohen. ‘Leroy is an institution – repeat visitors to the island seek him out regardless of whether they are staying at The Ritz-Carlton, and every attraction on the island benefits from Leroy’s enthusiasm and knowledge.’

Although British/Canadian by birth, Mr. Jordan considers Grand Cayman his home, with his island family the passionate core of long time tourism professionals.

He is also often called upon to work high profile events at the Governor’s home.

But, Mr. Jordan seems to take all the praise and hard work in this stride.

‘Some people are really good with math or with organization,’ he said. ‘I’m good with people – simply helping people is what really works for me.’