The name Moira Mdakana frequently comes up among guests at the Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront.
Ms Mdakana is the assistant head concierge and her comforting smile, professionalism and diligence often leaves a lasting impression.
Her passion for her work stems from her deep-seated conviction that hospitality and working with people is her calling. She was inspired to pursue a career in hotels over 12 years ago when she enjoyed the privilege of high tea at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.
“I was quite simply captivated by the whole experience. I just knew right then and there that this is what I am destined to do; not just a job, but a career path,” she recalls.
Ms Mdakana set her plan in motion to make hotels her career. She completed a diploma in Hotel Management and Food and Beverage, and did her internship at the Commodore hotel from 2006 to 2007. Her first job was at the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel as a receptionist. After four years there, she had the opportunity to be part of the opening of the Taj Cape Town in 2010 which was excellent experience for her. She then moved to Singita Game Reserve head office as a reservationist. While she enjoyed the work, she wasn’t getting the guest interaction that she, as a people’s person, so enjoyed.
When she got the job as assistant head concierge in 2012 it was like a dream come true. Certainly, working at one of Cape Town’s most prestigious hotels is a tremendous source of pride and inspiration for Ms Mdakana.
“I just love my job at The Table Bay. No two days are the same, with new people, new challenges, and countless rewards. I enjoy meeting new people every day and playing a part in fulfilling their needs to make their stay with us special and unforgettable. It is my passion and I love what I do,” she says, adding that she gets to be part of guests’ most magical mom-ents.
“A colleague and I arranged the engagement of one of our guests because he was unsure of how to propose.
“Imagine how rewarding it is to be part of orchestrating such a milestone life event for someone!”
When she isn’t planning guests’ days and seeing to their needs, she spends time with family and close friends, exploring her city and trying new restaurants.
“I have to be able to talk from experience you know,” Ms Mdakana says.
Mom to Isabel, aged two, she also has a passion for singing.
“It’s an extra mural activity I like doing on my off days,” she says.
In five years’ time, Ms Mdakana has no doubt that she will still be in the concierge field but hopes that she will be head concierge one day.
To those thinking of pursuing a career as a concierge, Ms Mdakana has this advice: “You have to be a people’s person. You have to enjoy being around them, engaging with them, helping them.
“You need to be passionate about your work and willing to find solutions.
“There is no doubt that to be a good concierge, you also need to have extensive knowledge of your city and surrounding areas.
“You need to know the best places to eat, especially those off the beaten track, you must have knowledge of the tourist attractions and activities that will complete your guests’ experience.”