PALM BEACH, FL—Fun is serious business for The Colony Palm Beach’s Rickey Kalinowski. His business card even states “manager of fun.” For him, it’s about making guests happy and letting the good times roll.
“I was working at a well-known Palm Beach resort hotel when a former co-worker reached out to me. He mentioned he was now working at The Colony, and a new position managing recreational programming was being created. That new position was the Manager of Fun, and I immediately sprung to his mind,” said Kalinowski, manager of fun at The Colony Palm Beach. “I have been working in hospitality the majority of my adult life. My first job working in a hotel was actually back in 2000 as a sales manager for the Sheraton Hotel in New York City.”
It’s not all fun and games for Kalinowski, as he wears many hats. He puts a strong focus on the guest experience.
“I want The Colony to be a place where people can come to unplug and disconnect while engaging in memorable activities. I like to conceive innovative and creative ideas so all our guests of every age can relax and have fun. From the beach program, fitness program, beach cruisers and bicycle map, happy hour, live music and holiday parties, the programming I create runs the gamut,” he said. “I love to see people’s reactions when I tell them my job title. At first, they don’t believe it, but once I show them my business card, they ask how they can get such an amazing job. People tell me that ‘Manager of Fun’ fits my personality, and that every property should have a similar position.”
Kalinowski peeled back the curtain on his process for ensuring a memorable stay: “The first thing I do, before I arrive at the hotel, is check our arrival and in-house list to see if anyone might need extra attention during their stay,” he said. “I make sure that any additional services the guest might need are taken care of.”
Since his arrival at The Colony last November, Kalinowski is already leaving a distinctive mark through the signature pink beach buggies and bike fleet for the hotel.
“The Beach Buggy program is something I am really proud of. We shuttle guests the short distance to the beach entrance, then set their chairs and umbrella for them, or send them out on custom Colony paddle boards so they can have a truly seamless oceanfront experience,” he said. “We can even pack personal picnics in our custom Colony Yeti coolers for delivery via the Beach Buggy. We also have an incredible New Year’s Eve event in the pipeline. I like to keep things fresh so that is what I will continue to do here at The Colony.”
His core philosophy? “I don’t believe in telling a guest no,” he said. “What makes my job fun is being a part of the guest experience. I love seeing a guest on-property with the biggest smile on his or her face. Knowing that I was a part of making a guest happy is the best feeling in the world. I have had guests reach out to me months after they departed, thanking me for the amazing time they had on-property. That is what makes my job fun. I hope guests leave happy and wishing the fun didn’t have to come to an end. At the end of the day, I just want everyone to feel special.”