New Girl in Town: Samantha Cox
by jared shapiro
New South Florida resident Samantha Cox trades caribbean castaways for high rollers at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.
Samantha Cox in the VIP “Man Caves” chickee cabana at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
It’s hard to imagine anything more beautiful than Necker Island, Richard Branson’s private, luxury island sanctuary in the British Virgin Islands. But Samantha Cox, who lived there for four years as Branson’s personal assistant, believes she may have found something even better.
Cox is the new director of VIP services at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino—a 140,000-square-foot casino, Hard Rock Live concert venue (Counting Crows and Weezer are playing in June), and 500-room hotel and spa. “I look after all the high rollers and any celebrities that we have here—either staying in-house or playing at Hard Rock Live—anything they want, any time,” says Cox, who often greets VIPs’ private jets with a limo on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale. “I have guests who have lost a million dollars still coming back and having a great time.”
Born in England, Cox moved Down Under to be the assistant to the COO of Virgin Australia before the owner of the company, billionaire Richard Branson, offered her a position on Necker in the Caribbean. Four exhilarating years later, she moved back to Australia where she met Larry Mullin, COO of Seminole Gaming at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. “He was getting ready to come here to start revitalizing the Hard Rock,” says Cox. “I knew South Florida, loved the climate, loved the culture. And with Larry’s vision of where he wants to take the Hard Rock, it was kind of a done deal.”
While her job on Necker Island often skewed toward the extravagant—a guest once requested KFC chicken, so she chartered a helicopter to nearby St. Thomas to fetch some—her new role at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel isn’t all jackpots and hot tubs. “I sleep with my cellphone at my bed; my guest experience is absolutely vital,” she says. “I’m their main point of contact, and if they need me at 3 am to arrange a limo, then that’s what I’ll be doing.”
No matter how all-encompassing the job is, Cox wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love my job,” she says. “I’m a world traveler, and I’ve chosen to live here in South Florida.” 1 Seminole Way, Fort Lauderdale, 954-327-7625
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.