A Golden Key hotel concierge is synonymous with the most fastidious levels of service and hospitality. Those who have earnt the prestigious golden brooch are lifelong professionals who go above and beyond to serve. One of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Milestone Hotel & Residences is proud to count three Golden Keys hotel concierges among its valued staff members. But how does one attain this impressive accolade and what does it mean for our guests? Here, we look at the history of the global organisation and how a Golden Key can truly elevate a stay.
Who are the Golden Key hotel concierges?
The Society of Golden Keys of Great Britain is affiliated with the Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hotels, aka Les Clefs d’Or. The not-for-profit association was inaugurated in France and stakes out two qualities: service and friendship. The British arm was established years later in 1952 by the head porters from a selection of London’s premium hotels.
Gathering together its 45 national boards, the Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hotels hosts a congress in a different country each year. This enables its members to meet and share ideas with other top hospitality providers. Sprinkled the world over, there are around 4,000 Golden Keys employed in over 80 countries and 530 hospitality providers. Serving more than 100 million guests per year, these concierges go out of their way to grant every desire, from the ordinary to the exceptional. It is extremely fortuitous to find multiple Golden Key hotel concierges in one place, as is the case at The Milestone in London.
To The Milestone’s own award recipient, Jose Pauco, a Golden Key concierge brings “the ability to challenge, study and develop” to the hospitality industry. “For anyone attempting nomination, thinking outside the box and trying to inspire other concierges by leading from the front” are essential qualities. With three Golden Key award-winners at The Milestone, guests can enjoy the unparalleled experience and impeccable knowledge that define the Society’s core values. It’s said that Golden Key concierges possess the key to the entire city. Whether it’s a reservation at the most coveted dining table in town or the most scenic route to a nearby attraction, of which there are many in historic Kensington, The Milestone’s specialist London staff are on hand to help.
Each Les Clefs d’Or concierge is an ambassador for their chosen destination and strives to provide an inspired service. One example Jose shared, which epitomises Red Carnation’s ethos of “no request is too large, no detail too small” was when a hotel guest asked him on Christmas Eve to purchase a Saint Bernard puppy and arrange delivery just in time for Christmas morning. Jose succeeded, and the hotel guests were so pleased on Christmas Day.
What does it take?
“It was a very challenging process,” says Jose. Each applicant requires five years’ concierge experience minimum to even be considered. “The Society then asks hotels to nominate specific concierges they feel go above and beyond in their industry.” Following this, candidates must undergo a gruelling series of interviews, one over the phone, one in person. “During either, I could be asked any question about my career or any number of recommendations. It was extremely challenging.” The candidate’s full application is then presented to the entire board for approval.
A successful few receive the coveted Golden Key pin, exclusively produced by Swiss jeweller Bucherer, to display on their lapel. It’s the badge of honour that instantly identifies a Golden Keys hotel concierge. “I won my award in October of last year, a proud moment of my career,” Jose tells us. “I feel my work has not changed since winning the award—but guests’ expectations are often changing and that is what drives us.”
For first-rate recommendations and up-to-the-minute knowledge of London, allow one of our three Golden Key hotel concierges to assist you when staying at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Milestone Hotel & Residences.