Our Guest Services Supervisor, Steven LaCasse is sharing his experience and passion for The Lord Jeffery Inn and everything travel. As part of the original re-opening team, Steven was nominated for 2014 Hotel Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America for his knowledge of “The Jeff”.
What attracted you to the hospitality industry?
I fell into hospitality by accident. The Inn was having a job fair to fill all of the positions before the grand opening and I had seen it advertised in the paper. After three interviews on that day, followed by the last interview a month later, I was hired as the final Guest Service agent.
I did not expect to stay long but found I enjoyed interacting with the guests; making them feel welcome and anticipating their needs. I look forward to many of our regular guests’ returns and truly enjoy the conversations we have!
You have been with the Inn since it re-opened in 2012. What are some fun, historical facts you can share about the original Inn?
One of the very first “guests” at the Inn when it opened in 1926 was the daughter of the innkeeper. She spent her first night here, as an infant, in a dresser drawer. She was also the very first guest checked into the newly renovated Inn. She did not have to sleep in the dresser drawer again.
Robert Frost was a regular guest of the Inn while teaching at Amherst College. The only named room at the Inn is called the Robert Frost room. Apparently, he would sneak out the window in the middle of the night to smoke cigars in the old garden area to the rear of the Inn. We do not recommend our guests follow that example as it’s easier to use the exit right next to his room.
What advice would you share with someone traveling to Amherst for the first time?
I try to give anyone coming to Amherst for the first time the same advice: spend more time here.
Amherst is a fantastic jumping off point for all of Western Massachusetts: scenic car rides; accessibility to the Berkshires; Springfield and its museums are a short drive away; and Amherst itself is home to some of the best restaurants in the Valley, including 30Botlwood.
If you could work anywhere else in the world where would it be and why?
If I could work anywhere else in the world, I would work in Western Europe near, but not in one of, the capital cities at a Relais and Chateaux property. Their properties have a similar focus on personal customer service over quantity of guests that I have found at The Lord Jeffery Inn.
I have lived in Europe before and love that history is not just what you see in a museum but is all around you when you walk out the front door. There is a sense of responsibility to preserve and share that history, however unflattering or painful it may be, that you rarely find in the U.S.
What is one thing people should know about you but don’t?
I love to travel and travel planning. I love seeing new places and being able to share that experience with others. Both guests and employees regularly use me as a resource when heading to areas that they have not been to before and I love that my recommendations can improve someone’s visit to both Western Mass and beyond.