Stefan Piraux is the chef concierge at Little Rock’s luxurious Capital Hotel.
Born in Stuart, Florida, Stefan grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands on St. Thomas and moved to Arkansas, where he attended high school. He has stayed ever since.
“My family has been involved in hospitality my whole life. My father, who’s from Paris, France, was part of the Ritz Carlton for 14 years, so I was fortunate to be able to start visiting luxurious hotels at a young age. I’ve always been fascinated with hotels, and always knew I wanted to be a part of one.”
Stefan’s top tips:
• Ahead of your trip, the first thing to ask your concierge is about any local events going on, concerts or plays, anything that you might be interested in during your stay. You’d be surprised how often guests miss something when planning their weekend getaway or business trip. Always think of any special arrangements you may need, including transportation requests. Most hotels offer complimentary transfers to the airport, and even to nearby restaurants.
• If you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or any special occasion, be sure to let the concierge know. Even if it’s something as small just coming in for a special getaway, or to do a bit of sightseeing, we love to provide surprises at every possible turn.
• Concierges pride themselves on their knowledge of all the best secret places, and Little Rock is definitely a secret foodie town. The city offers many great options, from tiny hole-in-the-wall places to haute cuisine. The hard part is to narrow it down to the type of fare and atmosphere you’re looking for. A couple of my top choices would be the Pantry Crest (try the bacon-wrapped dates!), the Faded Rose (genuine Louisiana cuisine), Doe’s Eat Place downtown (steaks, steaks, steaks), and the real diamond in the rough, David’s Kitchen (a taste of real Southern soul food).
• If you’re on a business trip — which are not always the most relaxing — spend some time each stay de-stressing. With either the help of a concierge-recommended spa or in-room masseuse, or even a secret walking trail, don’t miss out on a chance to regain your footing from a stressful workday.
• Don’t be afraid to make requests. They may seem outlandish to you, but the chances are that it’s nothing we haven’t been asked before. Our concierge team really strives to go above and beyond for every guest, no matter the request. As we always say, there is nothing we won’t do for you as long as it’s kind, and legal!
Favorite part of being a concierge: Being able to provide solutions for busy people, and getting to meet people from all walks of life and backgrounds.
Most unusual request you’ve ever had: One guest asked for some of our pecans to be sent to each of his five houses in different countries. It may not seem too outlandish, but I’m sure most of us don’t have five houses in different countries
Favorite thing to do in Little Rock: Riding and running the river trail, and trying new places to eat whenever possible (always using the excuse that it’s my job!)
Number one rule that you apply to your own life that you learned from being a concierge: Being a concierge has really taught me a whole new level of calmness. There’s always a solution to every problem, no matter how dire the problem may seem.
Favorite southern tradition: Sweet tea and cheese grits. My grandmother on my mother’s side grew up in Georgia so I was exposed to both as a kid, but had to come back to the south to be happily reintroduced.