Meet the Staff: Lidabel at the Casablanca HotelPublished: November 15th, 2014
The Casablanca Hotel chose to interview one of our favorite family members, Lidabel, our Head Hostess in Rick’s Café. Lidabel has worked with us at the Casablanca Hotel for over 6 years and has been loving it ever since!
Tell us about yourself?
I was born in a very rural part of the Dominican Republic. I moved here when I was only 5 years old with my parents, who were looking for the “American Dream.” They chose New York because my grandparents had already moved here as well. I started school as soon as I got here. Once I finished high school, I went to Lehman College and studied education because I was more influenced to pursue that field by my family and friends. I realized in my teenage years that I had two passions in life: music & hospitality. During my down time from the hotel, I sing in a band. We perform every weekend at a few different places throughout NYC. I love it!
How did you start your career at the Casablanca Hotel?
I found out about the position through a friend who was working at the Casablanca at that time. She knew I was very interested in the hospitality field and that the position as a hostess would be a great fit for me. I interviewed with our general manager, John and the manager of the Cafe. I remember being extremely nervous because this would be my first serious job. After I was hired and worked with the girls in Ricks and interacted with our guests, I realized this was the right place for me. Everything about the atmosphere is so welcoming, which is great because this is my home away from home.
What do you like most about your job?
You know what it is? The guests! Our customers are all very warm people that I connect with. All hotels have different types of guests. Some are here for business, but we mainly have people who are visiting NYC for leisure. I love that I’m able to be part of their vacation. I love to be able to connect with my guests not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level, as well. A few of our regular customers have come to see me perform before! It made me so happy to see they were willing to plan a whole evening of their time in NYC to listen to me and my band.
Has hospitality influenced your life?
It really has! I remember last year Adele, our Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Revenue, was being interviewed and she said that the members of our hotels treat our guests like we would treat someone who is coming into our own home. Since then I really have tried to live by those words. Before I worked at the Casablanca I was a kind person, but my attitude on life and how I approach people has reached a whole other level! I’m the New Yorker who will offer to help travelers on the trains who look lost!
How about your love for music? When did you begin your signing career?
I have always been interested in singing. I would sing all the time at home but never thought to do it with others in a public setting. When I was 16 my mother told me, “You know Lidabel, you really can sing!” She encouraged me to join a local choir to work on my form and to learn different singing techniques. Within one year of singing with the choir I was already doing solos. I now work on trying to fuse different music styles together. Music is all about fusion; fusing different styles together, different genres, and even different time periods of music, all to make it your own. It all still fascinates me. I really began my career when I was approached to sing backup for a Dominican artist named Anais Martinez. That is also where I met my now husband, Henry. He managed the band. We soon decided to start our own band in 2010 called Lee Burgos. Henry not only manages the band, but he plays the piano for our gigs as well. We also have a few other members who play bass and drums. Henry got us our first gig at Mamajuana Cafe in Manhattan and we rotated between their five NY & NJ restaurants. We now perform almost every weekend either at Corcho Wine Room or District 12. Editor’s Note: to see Lily and Henry in Lee Burgos do a magnificent live cover of a Donna Summers song click this link: Lee Burgos Live. Both of the lounges are located in Inwood which is in uptown Manhattan. To listen to a sneak preview of her new single click here: Lee Burgos- Feel so lost
When you aren’t taking care of the guests in Rick’s Cafe or working on your music what do you do?’
Whenever I have a little time off, I love to visit this little place near Washington Square called Arturo’s. They have the most delicious coal fired pizza and they even play live jazz music on the piano sometimes. I could stay there for hours. That whole neighborhood is very eclectic. I love it! Other than that, I love spending time with my friends and family.
Lily’s positive energy and caring attitude creates a warm atmosphere for everyone, including all of her co-workers. We appreciate everything you do for us and our guests, Lily! We cannot wait to hear more of your beautiful music.