• Maria Jose Velez Arango

First Job POV: A Whole World Behind Closed Doors

Maria Jose Velez Arango has just begun her hospitality career with

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Surfside, Florida as a Guest Experience Coordinator. She's a recent Master's Graduate from the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Maria Shares her perspective in starting her career journey.

Maria Jose Velez Arango at the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Surfside, Florida
Maria Jose Velez Arango at the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Surfside, Florida

Ever since I was a little girl, hotels have been the place where people choose to go to escape from their reality, to relax and forget their troubles, to spend some lovely vacation time with their families, to celebrate a special occasion, or even to have a good night sleep before an important meeting; but the truth is that I had never fully understood the magic held behind closed doors until I began my hospitality career and my life in the hotel industry. It wasn't until then that I realized how much was being done to see a satisfied guest smile and hear a "I can't wait to come back" comment.


As guests, have you ever wondered what lies below the magnificent lobby you walk through to check-in? Have you ever thought about what goes on behind the barely noticeable doors that camouflage in the hotel's facade? Have you ever wondered what goes on in those extra elevator levels that no room key has access to? Well to put it in simple terms, all those places described above are where the true magic happens and even if the view is not precisely oceanfront, it is still incredibly beautiful. As employees, those places that no one seems to notice while staying at our property are actually our home, and the hidden offices between hallways are our comfort zone.

birthday balloons
Maria making a birthday special for a guest

Behind every uniform, there is a passionate human being that is motivated by the sole purpose of knowing they contribute to making a guest's stay memorable, and even when the days are filled with pressure, stress, and last-minute requests, we all understand that in the end, these are just small components that build up to a successful day. One where a whole lot of smiles, fulfilled expectations, and unconcerned guests are what makes it all be right in the end.


Our job description implicitly includes playing an active role in people's life-changing events, and even when some might see it as a huge responsibility, I personally feel grateful to know I have never-ending opportunities to touch someone's heart or change their day for the better in any way. Just as a famous saying states, " people might forget what you said and forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel".