Most famous hotel concierges and why
By: Alexandra Mundlak
Tailoring to guests needs
The main idea behind a concierge is to please hotels’ guests by tailoring to their wants and needs. What makes a good concierge good and even great is precisely that – adjusting to the guests’ requests and trying their best to get the job done and ultimately succeeding in getting that task done. What makes top tier hotels the best in the industry is the customer service, but more specifically, the concierge service. With guest satisfaction being the ultimate goal in the hotel and hospitality industry, top-tier hotels strive to attain the best of the best concierges to achieve that preeminent goal of utmost guest satisfaction.
St. James’s Hotel & Club in London
The head concierge of the St. James’s Hotel & Club in London, Madeleine Calon, says that she “looked after everything that happened inside the hotel, [while the] concierge looks after everything that happens outside,” and that was how she became a concierge. Throughout her career she worked as a concierge in The Waldorf where she learned that “the best way to interact with guests was by standing next to the concierge desk.”
It was after working for The Waldorf that she moved to work in the St. James’s Hotel & Club. Her day to day consists of the basic concierge duties, including picking up phone calls, staying up to date on the food and entertainment in the surrounding areas, and interacting with the guests face-to-face. Some of the most common requests she receives are regarding chauffeurs and transportation services and recommendations to restaurants and all forms of entertainment, such a the theater, opera and ballet.
She’s also gotten odd requests, like “sourcing chemotherapy drugs for a dog,” per se, or one of her guests “a few years ago asking to arrange an appointment for him to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was previously known to the Archbishop and was a professional speaker so it wasn’t as outlandish” as a random person asking.
The Pierre, a Taj Hotel in New York City
At The Pierre, a Taj Hotel in New York City, the chief concierge, Maurice Dancer, started off as a bellman in a Four Seasons in Austin thirty years ago. He said that it was his “willingness to go above and beyond in assisting guests with their requests and attention to detail” that hotel management felt he “belonged on the concierge team.” From the very beginning it’s evident Maurice has bent over backwards for the hotel guests, as on a daily basis upon waking up, he thinks about “preparing for his next guest interaction.”
He constantly checks his email and addresses all matters in the morning. The most common requests he receives revolve around food and entertainment as well along with some weird inquiries. One of the odd things he once did for a guest was he sent a custom-made business suit to Paris because a guest left it in the hotel. The suit was needed within the next 24 hours and the suit was sent on a plane and got to the destination on time!
In The Peninsula Beverly Hills, California
In The Peninsula Beverly Hills, California, has a chief concierge, James Little, who was listed as “The Best Concierge in the world” in GQ magazine back in 2003. He’s been working with the hotel since it opened in 1991. He’s done quite some extravagant things for his guests as well, such as having a concierge hand deliver a medication to a guest who forgot it in the hotel who had already left to Mexico City, and even arranged “a spontaneous party for one hundred fifty people with two hours’ notice in the Hollywood Hills after a Justin Bieber concert, complete with bartenders, cocktail servers, armed security, valet parking and catering.”
Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel
The chief concierge of the Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel, Jeanne Mills, has been in the hotel concierge business for 30 years. She’s been complied with some weird things to satisfy guests, such as fulfilling “last minute requests via FedEx for lavash bread and exotic Middle Eastern Coffee,” “arranging celebrity meet and greets,” “rented yachts in France,” and “acquired Ferraris in Italy!”
Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, California
The head concierge at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, California, Joyce Louie, has been working as a concierge from 2005 to 2010. She became chief concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles until 2014 before starting to work at the Waldorf Astoria recently. One time, she was asked to “purchase thirty sixteen ounce crunchy peanut butter and crunchy almond butter from Magee’s at the Farmer’s Market and ship to Kuwait,” “organized a unique architectural tour of Case Study houses in Hollywood for a Brazilian guest who was a contemporary artist.”
The Beverly Hills Hotel, California
The concierges at The Beverly Hills Hotel, California have heard some bizarre requests and have had to fulfill them, sucks as arranging for a “jewelry store to bring over a million dollars’ worth of watches to a guest.” Another time, they “had a guest that was breeding her show dog and [had them] arrange an actual wedding for the two collies, complete with a minister, catering, outfits, etc. They got married in the Crystal Ballroom (she wore traditional white) and they honeymooned in one of [their] garden suites, Bungalow 14. Total cost was about fifteen thousand dollars.”
Each of the above concierges are seen as the world’s top and most famous. Why? Because of their willingness to commit to the guests and their requests and help them reach their satisfaction. Evidently, there’s nothing too crazy about being the most renowned concierge; all it really takes is the disposition to please guests and attain their fulfillment. Being ready to take on daily endeavors, regardless of how extravagant they may be, and actually taking them on, is what entails being a great concierge.
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