Giselle Mueller

Miami
Giselle Mueller

Title: Concierge, Mandarin Oriental, Miami

Born and bred: Although I’m American, I was born in Buenos Aires. I moved with my parents to Miami when I was two.

Lingua franca: English, Spanish, Italian and French.

Could be confused for: I’ve been told Lisa Kudrow or Uma Thurman.

On your iPod right now:
I love Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Bob Marley and Depeche Mode, but I also listen to lots of Latin music (naturally) like Joaquin Sabina and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.

Secret talent: Rollerblading. I grew up skating on South Beach, and I used to skate 8 hours a day. In fact, I worked my way through school as a certified skating instructor.

Private passion: I ride motorcycles. I used to have a Suzuki GSXR sport bike. Hey, what can I say? I feel the need for speed!

Can’t live without:
My boyfriend and a daily fix of Argentine maté, of course.

How you got into this racket: While I’ve worked as a concierge for over four years, I’ve been an unofficial one for more than 15. I’ve always been the person that friends and family come to for destination advice. But I didn’t realize my professional calling until several disastrous dining experiences in Venice. Afterwards, I literally begged a local for a restaurant recommendation that was not a tourist trap! I decided then that I wanted to be a concierge who helped visitors get the best out of my own city. While I’ve been in all sorts of hotel positions — front desk manager, human resources, restaurant manager — concierging was my calling.

Best non-monetary tip: A guest planned to shop at the Bal Harbour Shops — which has the best collection of high-fashion labels — but she was looking for a gift store with unique specialty items instead. She was so pleased with my recommendation that she thanked me with a beautiful designer scarf she purchased from the store.

Most magical moment: Recently I had guests who were planning to go from Miami to Milan and wanted tickets to view Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” There are only two viewings a day in Milan for this painting, and you usually have to book months in advance. Thanks to my network of international colleagues, I was able to get my guests access. They were thrilled — and so was I!

Couldn’t do your job without: The network of contacts I’ve developed over years of living and working in Miami.

What makes a good concierge? You have to have the ability to read a person. Most people don’t even know what they want to do or see, and you have to steer them toward it based on the preferences you can glean from them.

Most common misconception: That we check guests in and out of the hotel — especially in Latin America, where the concierge is often the front desk agent.

If you weren't loving the concierge life: I’d be writing city and restaurant reviews around the globe.

Can’t travel without: My camera and a comfy pair of sandals.

Home away from home: Buenos Aires. I try to get back there once a year.

If you could be anywhere: I’d be in Italy, preferably Sperlonga, snorkeling in the turquoise Mediterranean and enjoying a sandwich with prosciutto, mozzarella di bufala, pomodoro and basil.