Talking with Caesars Palace concierge Jasmin Vitale
Wed, Nov 21, 2012 (midnight)
If I didn’t know he worked here, I would guess Jasmin “Jas” Vitale was a high-profile guest—the fine watch, the impeccably tailored suit, the most perfect necktie knot. He’s a concierge supervisor, dedicated to enhancing the experience of every visitor who walks through the door, whether they have trust funds in their pockets or $1 chips. They call on Vitale for all manner of reservations, recommendations and special requests, from finding a missing husband to shipping a classic car across the ocean.
Recently honored by the U.S. branch of esteemed international concierge organization Les Clefs d’Or (the keys of gold), Vitale has distinguished himself as one of the best in the business. At Caesars concierge headquarters, he reflected on his athletic past, his wife’s unmistakable Cirque legs and getting tipped in Canadian junk food.
Your mom is from France, and you grew up in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec. “Concierge” being a French word, was it your childhood dream? I didn’t really know what a concierge really was until I came down here in hospitality. … [It] means “janitor” in French as well.
So what brought you to Vegas then? My girlfriend at the time, she was also from Montreal. She was a swimmer for Team Canada, and she had taken a job at Cirque du Soleil as a swimmer for the O show. … I came to Las Vegas as a vacation for about a week, and the week became a month, and the month became today. She’s my high school sweetheart.
Today, she’s also your wife. But your initial U.S. destination was far from here. I was playing hockey back home, and then I went to Florida. … I realized I was a couple steps closer to being in the NHL, but I knew I wasn’t that good. It made me realize a lot of things, so I came down here and found a new career. Easier one on the knees, that’s for sure.
After almost 14 years, your wife is still performing in O. Can you spot her during a show? Even when there are 12 girls in the water, I know exactly where her legs are.
I’ll bet she can spot your necktie knot a mile away. It’s perfect. I practiced in front of the mirror. … I had never worn a suit before I started to work as a concierge, and now it’s one of my favorite things to put on.
You started as a concierge at Caesars in 2006. After a couple years you moved to MGM Grand, and after a couple years there you came back. Why? When I came here on vacation, the very first casino I wanted to see was Caesars Palace because of all the history. … As soon as I walked inside the casino, there’s something special about this place.
It’s the ghost of Frank Sinatra. I was going to say that! (Laughs) There’s something where you feel comfortable in luxury. It’s been going on for so long. The name itself—it’s known throughout the whole world. I said to myself, “One day, if I work here, I’m set.” … I truly believe we’re still No. 1 on the Strip. And we’re getting better.
Including you, there are now five Caesars concierges wearing the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or lapel pins. A lot of travelers, they know what the keys represent. They know you know exactly what you’re going to be talking about, that your recommendations are going to be the best in town.
Do you ever get any off-the-wall requests? I helped a gentleman about two years ago to purchase a car and ship it to Australia, a 1967 Mustang. Anything. Sky’s the limit for the concierge, as long as everything is legal and we can do it, no is not an answer.
So who knows more about this city, the concierges or the taxi drivers? Concierges. Not even close.
How do other big-city hospitality scenes compare to Vegas, in your experience? No disrespect, but I think this is the fastest pace anywhere in the U.S. or anywhere that I know throughout the whole world. Las Vegas is Las Vegas, where millions of people come every year. … We’re constantly, as soon as we open the phones till we close, busy all day long. … And we all have fun doing it with a big smile on our face. As long as our guests are happy, that’s what matters for us.
Happy guests are good tippers. Do you ever get anything other than cash? Before their arrival, I’ll be on the phone with [Canadian guests]. Being from Canada myself, they always ask me the same question: “What do you miss about Canada?” ... My first two answers are ketchup chips and maple syrup. … That, to me, is the best gratuity.