From “Red Carpet Genie” to assistant hotel manager of SLS Las Vegas, rarely has the hospitality industry been graced with such an enthusiast as Leo Demarsh. Joining the sbe family to help open SLS South Beach, Demarsh has been a part of the team ever since. For our ongoing “Role Call” series—where we go behind the scenes to introduce you to the colorful crew that is sbe—we took a few minutes to chat with Demarsh below.
When and how did you get your start with sbe?
Back in 2012 I was hired as an agent for the opening of SLS South Beach. That’s really when I fell in love with the company. Seeing the tight knit bond everyone had from upper management to corporate to Sam [Nazarian] and Arash [Azarbarzin] themselves. Paired with the passion [sbe has] to “revolutionize” the game, is what really got to me.
What do you love most about this industry?
As I grew to understand the business and develop my own way of customer service, I found this to be a fabulous opportunity for me. Where else can you meet and talk to some of the most interesting people from all walks of life? Once I got going there was really no stopping me. Along with my former boss, Nicole Ormeno—who was pretty much my mentor—we decided our hotel needed someone on the other side of the desk catering to every guest’s need or wish. Coupled with our red carpet at the entrance, led to the co-creation of my own position, “Red Carpet Genie.”
This is where I thrived/”came alive.” The people I got to meet, establish a connection with, and maintain relationships with were incredible. Whether it was the fabulous lawyer mom from NYC who sent me pics of her puppy, Cheerio, or the beautiful couple from Bondi, Australia, who I still keep in touch with. People would literally call me their Genie, as I fulfilled their every wish at the hotel!
Eventually I was promoted to a management role, which opened many doors, including the opportunity to transfer to Vegas to open our newest venture. I could not have been more excited to bring another sbe property to life.
I saw the vast change from when we opened SLS South Beach to where it is today, and it’s something to be very proud to be a part of. We’ve gone through a heck of an opening period. Hard work, long hours, and perseverance were the tools necessary to succeed. SLS Las Vegas is very special, and I couldn’t be happier to take it to where I know it will be—the top!
Do you have any fun stories from your time at SLS South Beach and SLS Las Vegas so far?
At the front desk you have to have what I call “poker face.” You need to be prepared for anything and everything that could happen. This can range from an upset guest to a crying guest to one that doesn’t speak a word of English—you never know! During it all, you have to keep your composure and have a poker face on at all times.
I call the front desk “the stage.” I really feel it’s an art and we are all performers. I meet people all the time where I have to hold my reaction inside.
During Miami Music week they put me in the front of the hotel, pretty much as the bouncer to differentiate hotel guests with the public who were not invited in. We had the hottest shows of the week but you could only come in the front door if you were a hotel guest. People would do anything—throw money at me, gifts, etc—just to get in the show! That was intense, but so much fun.
How do you compare the vibe in Miami vs. Vegas?
Miami has such a nice quality of life. I drove to work on my scooter, getting a tan on the way. I worked with an extremely tight knit group (that I really learned the basis of everything I know from). Then we’d all hang out—happy hours, nights out—Miami is full of life. That mixed in with the “sbe culture,” we had a great time!
Vegas is where I’ve met some of the most wild guests yet. They range from screaming at the top of their lungs over the phone (for no apparent reason) to claiming they “bumped their head on the confusing red wall” so they needed a comp night. You name it. There’s also some wonderful people we get to meet here as well, and lots of LA guests.
When you’re not on the floor or back of house, where can we find you?
When I’m not on the floor and in the back of the house you may catch me singing and/or dancing with my colleagues—at sbe we make it a point to have our fun! (Check out my Instagram for proof @_leodemarsh).
We deal with such crazy situations all day every day that this is my way of channeling my energy and expressing myself. I love to entertain, period. Whether that’s at the desk welcome the world to our SLS properties or behind the scenes singing some tunes, I’m always entertaining in some way, shape or form.
Tell us about your style.
I grew up in a very fashionable family where everyone dresses to impress. My Papa had a clothing store and knows his stuff and my Gramma is the most fabulous 85 year old out there. She knows the latest trends and is always decked out. My sisters remind me of the Kardashians. The two are like twins and since I was little have always been done up:hair, nails, shoes, clothes, everything! I definitely obtained my passion for fashion from them.
Working in the front office I’m in suits every day. But it’s the SLS after all—so you have to show up with your A-game! I take it as an opportunity to express my individuality. I refuse to wear anything boring that someone else probably wears. Whether its through dress shirts or shoes, I have to stand out. Most recently I’m enjoying tie clips as a favorite accessory. I love Zara—I always find stuff there; and my new fave is Hugo Boss.
Another obsession of mine (I’m vain, I’m sorry) is my hair. There are many different looks but my favorite and most current requires a flat iron and takes some time. After all, I have to look my absolute best! I feel like I’m at the most fabulous hotel and I have to represent. I feel like if you look good, you feel good, you make the guests feel good, and everyone wins.