Focusing on the high-end hotel industry, the article investigates reception work highlighting the dimensions of complexity and discretion. Both the tangible and intangible contents of work are explored. The data come from a participant observation during which the author assumed the role of front line receptionist in two hotels in Milan. The focus on working practices underlies different scopes. It enables, on the one hand, to explore the peculiarities of a high-quality service, on the other, to shed light on the plurality of skills required to workers. The considerations developed through the study of high-end hotels also allows a better understanding of the characteristics of front line work in service organizations within the upper-end market.
Keywords: High-end hotels; front line workers; tangible and intangible work; task complexity and discretion; service encounters; service work.