If you’ve stayed at The Blake before, chances are that you’ve met Lauryn Mangat, Guest Services Manager, or at least seen her infectious smile from behind the front desk. From managing guest reservations to leading art tours though the hotel, Lauryn does it all, but one thing she does best is building the relationship between the hotel experience and her guests.
“I love people and I especially love the people in Taos,” she muses. When the Blake opened for business in February 2017, Lauryn was there. After living in Denver for 15 years, she was seeking an escape from the city. She applied for the Guests Services position and was in Taos six weeks later. It was a homecoming of sorts; Lauryn grew up visiting Taos and even lived here for a few months after graduating from Lewis and Clark College.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Lauryn first began coming to Taos at age 12 when her mom bought a vacation home in the area. She spent her summers rafting the Rio Grande, hiking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and making art downtown. And during winter breaks, she skied. She remembers one winter in particular, in 1994 when the mountain opened on Thanksgiving with a 60-inch base. “The whole family was here for the holiday; squeezed into my mom’s tiny house. That was the first time I hiked the peak.” A Dead Head at heart, Lauryn remembers unloading Lift Two and seeing the tie-die Taos Ridge T-shirts for sale outside the patrol shack. “My brother told me I couldn’t have one until I hiked,” Lauryn reminisced. “So he carried my skis and we trekked all the way to Kachina and skied down Main Street.”
Flash forward to 2016 and the move back to Taos felt natural for Lauryn. Her background in the arts made her a perfect match for the job; given The Blake’s unique art collection. But more than just the staging of the hotel, the community here quickly became her favorite part. The Blake, she says, is like walking into a friend’s house. “You can’t help but feel at home.”
Even just a year and a half after the grand opening, The Blake has already become known for it’s high level of customer service, thanks in large part to Lauryn’s work and the example that she sets for the rest of the staff. She selflessly accredits part of it to the intimate size and culture of the community. “It allows us to have real, genuine relationships with our guests,” says Lauryn. “We get to know them on a personal level. We’ve even had tears shed at checkout when they say goodbye. I think it is because Taos has a magic and energy that spreads… It is contagious and you can’t help but give into it.”
Lauryn is looking forward to getting back to meeting and greeting guests with the reopening of The Blake on June 13. She says she is excited for the action. But most of all, she is ready to continue creating relationships with guests. As she will tell you, “We have the best guests in the world.”