I met Tracy Mercer, General Manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto, when he wrote asking if I knew the whereabouts of Yann Debelle de Montby of Alfred Dunhill. We put our heads together and Tracy tracked de Montby down in Shanghai where he serves as director of that chain's expansion in the East.
One connection leads to another and a few days later over lunch Tracy was showing me the lavender shagreen cufflinks that he gets in Bangkok. Alfred Dunhill of course offered shagreen links for years, though they have apparently been discontinued. The stuff is a hard-wearing form of leather made from the dyed skin of the rayfish that's used in a variety of applications, from furniture to bespoke shoes to accessories like the pictured credit card wallet in green alligator and tan stingray from April in Paris. But back to the Four Seasons.
Four Seasons as you know takes an approach that's the opposite of Dunhill's near-constant change. It's been the world's leading operator of luxury hotels for most of its existence and is known for its impeccable service. Tracy arrived at the Palo Alto property in 2007 from Tokyo, where he managed the Four Seasons Tokyo Marunouchi, and is responsible for what appears to be a smooth-running operation in which every staff member knows you by name.
I've written in the past that if a man is looking for the best dry cleaner in a city he should call the local Four Seasons and ask where they send their guests' clothing. That's even easier in Palo Alto, where the hotel runs its own plant that does indeed accept clothes from the general public. Just leave your work with the doorman and yes, it's probably the best cleaners in town.