- Giovanna Vargas, 38, is a villa host at the Four Seasons resort in Bora Bora.
- As guests’ go-to resource, she’s in charge of planning last-minute parties and private excursions.
- This is what her job is like, as told to freelance writer Kaila Yu.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Giovanna Vargas, a 38-year-old
villa host at the Four Seasons Bora Bora. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Bora Bora is the ultimate dream destination. Many of our guests save up for years to travel here to celebrate weddings and memorable milestones.
That’s why as a villa host, I do everything I can to make each guest’s experience especially remarkable.
I get to wake up every day in Bora Bora, and it’s heaven on earth. I’m originally from San Jose, Costa Rica, and I first started in the hospitality industry as a freelance tour guide in 2004.
In 2008, after giving birth to my daughter, I decided to look for a more stable career and left my resume at the Four Seasons desk at a travel industry job fair.
I was so excited when I got called in, and after several rounds of interviews, I was offered the job of villa host at the Four Seasons Bora Bora and moved there in November 2011. I live in staff residences provided by Four Seasons, which are a 15-minute boat ride from the resort.
As a 5-star resort, we go above and beyond to exceed guests’ expectations.
So much of our great service is thanks to our staff – many of whom are local Tahitians and eager to share their culture with guests.
As the villa host, I greet guests at the airport and escort them to the resort via a private yacht.
Once they settle in, I’m their primary contact to ensure that everything is perfect.
We pay attention to every detail, including guests’ food preferences, special occasions, favorite wines, and even their desired cut of steak.
I also handle everything from travel planning to charter arrangements to restaurant and spa reservations to private excursions and special celebrations. My job is like a cross between a butler and a personal assistant.
There’s very little routine in my day and time flies by since I’m always busy.
My schedule tends to be based on the villa guests’ routine.
If they’re early-risers, so am I. If they prefer late dinners and evening events, I stay up, too.
I spend some time in the office for administrative duties, but most of the time I’m at the villas catering to our guests.
Each villa has a private infinity pool, outdoor wooden deck, and a full alfresco kitchen.
At the Four Seasons Bora Bora, we have seven beachfront villa estates that lie on a private stretch of white sand beach overlooking Bora Bora’s famous lagoon and the Mount Otemanu.
The villas are huge with two to three bedrooms each and have beachfront decks with private entrances. It’s like staying in your own mini resort.
We also recently added eight new overwater bungalow suites and MoeMoea – a 3,550-square-foot shopping center – so guests never have to leave the hotel.
Guests in the villas are often CEOs, celebrities, entertainers, and athletes.
The villas are private and luxurious, so they’re well-suited for guests who demand confidentiality.
One of my proudest moments was working with a CEO staying at the resort with his family. Halfway through his stay, his children reminded him that it was “mommy’s birthday.” He reached out to me in a panic to organize something on the fly – in less than 24 hours.
Our team jumped into action and threw together an epic surprise party, which included a private chef-cooked dinner, a beach party with a live band, fireworks over the lagoon, and her favorite cake for dessert. The event looked like it took weeks to plan, and the CEO’s wife was none the wiser.
Another time, an actress was staying at one of the villas with her husband. She wanted to treat one of her security guards to a day of fun, so we organized a day for him. We surprised him with a private guided snorkel excursion with our marine biologist and a Mai-Tai cocktail class, and he spent the rest of the day at the spa. They said they’d never seen him happier!
I enjoy helping guests plan their special occasions, such as a famous musician who wanted to set up a scavenger hunt for his girlfriend for an engagement proposal. The search included a customized map with treasures to find all over the resort, culminating with a buried ring on the beach.
I was so paranoid the ring would get lost somehow that I was on edge all night. But she ended up finding the ring just fine, and the romantic proposal followed. After that, they toasted the night away with champagne and a private fire dance by a Polynesian dance troupe.
There are occasional hiccups and challenges that come with the job, even in paradise.
Once, one of our guests lost her diamond engagement ring while swimming in the lagoon. She called me in a panic and minutes later, our security and dive teams started canvassing the lagoon in front of their villa, diving, tracking the tide, and combing the sand.
Within two hours, we found the ring and it was back on her finger. Our resort pearl boutique also adjusted the size of the ring for her so she wouldn’t lose it again.
Many of our guests come back year after year, so I keep in contact with them even after they leave. Some even start planning for their next stay as soon as they get home, and I’m always glad to be their point of contact and welcome them when they return.