Operations manager creates the ‘wow’ factor at Foundation Room
For Gabrielle Rivera, operations manager of Foundation Room, it’s about being a part of the guest experience. “I get to experience that moment when people are dancing like no one is watching, except I’m watching and it’s awesome,” said the Washington, D.C., native.
The Mandalay Bay hot spot, located on the 63rd floor, has some of the best views in the city. “Even after two years working here, I still find the view absolutely amazing,” Rivera said. She joined Foundation Room as the hostess and it’s been a meteoric rise ever since.
“Some parts of hospitality are innate in people. I’ve always been a people person,” she said. “It’s never been work for me. It’s about creating that wow factor, that ooh-aah moment.”
Foundation Room presents a lot of those moments, and has been doing so for more than a dozen years. “There is nothing like it,” Rivera said. “We’ve been here since Mandalay Bay opened and we are still relevant. People still love coming up here.” The lounge and adjoining restaurant is like a one-stop shop for a night of dinner, drinks, dancing and a darn good time.
“As soon as you walk off the elevator, it’s like you’ve entered a hidden gem; it has that speakeasy vibe,” Rivera said. “After dinner, you can go into the lounge and enjoy a cocktail and dancing and before you know it, the sun is coming up. ... Working in this industry is definitely a calling. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
It’s just a fun name for a fun drink. “I joke with my guests, you are what you eat, but you can also be what you drink,” Rivera said, laughing. “There’s just something naughty about ordering the Hot Daughter!” It’s one of many specialty cocktails offered at The Foundation Room. The sweet yet slightly spicy libation mixes Maestro Dobel Diamante Reposado tequila, Cointreau, simple syrup, and fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice with muddled basil leaves and Serrano chilies. The cocktail is shaken and strained into a martini glass, then garnished with a basil leaf.