It’s been a long and winding road from the Golan Heights to Mammoth, particularly when you throw in Los Angeles and Las Vegas along the way.
But for Michael Edelshtain, the new general manager of the Mammoth Creek Inn, it almost seems as if his journey from Israel (until he was 8 years old) and through the urban jungle of L.A. has somehow prepared himself for life in a small mountain resort town.
“I’d never been here until I got the job and I love it,” said Edelshtain, who tossed a Chamber of Commerce mixer at the hotel Wednesday evening.
“I’m looking forward to the summer, the 70- and 80-degree weather and nice calm winds,” he said. “So far, I like the quiet of the small town and the comfortable and cozy people. The locals are nice, and so far so good. I haven’t been out so much. I’ve only been here for 4-5 months so far, but I’m learning.
“I grew up in L.A., so this is nice for me. It’s a change of scenery, which is great.”
“Calm” is not exactly the word you’d associate with Edelshtain, though. In the five months since arriving here, he’s been more of a Whirling Dervish than the prototype small town hotelier.
The hotel, on Old Mammoth Road across the street from the Mammoth Creek Park, has undergone some cosmetic changes, but where the significant changes have come is in the customer experience, he said.
A veteran of Caesar’s Palace and the UCLA Guest House in Los Angeles, he said he learned some valuable lessons along the way.
“Vegas, especially, groomed me to who I am today in the hospitality industry: improvising, making the best decisions for my guests and for the ownership—decisions that are cost effective as well as still providing amazing customer service without cutting back as much as I can.”
To that end, he said, the main emphasis in his first season here is in customer service.
“In the morning of an arrival, I try to get an ETA, so an hour or two before they get here we’ll turn on the heater for them. When it’s 20 degrees outside, people want to walk into a warm room.
“We have a courtesy shuttle to pick you up at the airport, take you to the slopes, take you to dinner. If you’ve driven here, you don’t have to drive. You can relax and unwind.”
The experience also includes the relationship between him and his guests.
“I’m very personal with my guests,” he said. “I know 90 percent of my guests’ first name. I don’t say the room number, or give them an ‘excuse me.’ I know them by name.”