The quality of concierge services can make or break a hotel stay. No request is too big or too small for these five concierges who build a career dedicated to fulfilling the guest’s every wish.
Years of service: Ron Greedy started in the hospitality industry in 1985. He has been with The Westin Sydney for four years now.
Most unforgettable request: One New Year’s Day, Greedy received an urgent request for a bridal bouquet that was needed for the next day. However, most retailers and florists were closed for the holiday. Greedy dug deep into his contact list and persuaded a florist to open shop to create a floral bouquet – using flowers and ribbon type specified by the bride. The very happy guest witnessed the bride walked down the aisle with the last-minute bouquet in her hands.
When visiting The Westin Sydney, look for the distinctive gold crossed keys pinned to Greedy’s lapel. The Golden Keys signify his membership in the elite group known as the Society of Les Clefs d’Or Australia, something he shares in common with three other colleagues in the concierge department.
Years of service: Jake McHugh has been a concierge for 11 years, eight of them spent at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.
Most unforgettable request: A year ago, one guest left an important piece of luggage at the hotel, McHugh went all the way to Singapore to personally deliver the bag.
While McHugh heads a team of eight concierges, he is also very active in organising creative excursions for guests staying at the hotel. One such activity is “The Grand Race”, a signature teambuilding programme for business groups. To wean participants from over-reliance on technology such as the internet and mobile phones, McHugh designed a race that requires each team to be proactively hands on. Tasks that include eating local delicacies such as stewed ducks feet help contestants experience Hongkong in an enjoyable and competitive environment.
Years of service: Paul Lydka has been with the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze since the pre-opening in 2008.
Most unforgettable request: A couple was celebrating their wedding anniversary with their two grown children. Lydka was informed in secret that a renewal of marriage vows had been organised as a surprise to the wife. Two hours before the ceremony, the husband ran to the concierge desk saying that he had left the rings in the safe at their previous hotel in Rome. Lydka arranged for the rings to be delivered to Florence by train and they arrived just when the ceremony was about to start.
Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo
Years of service: Kenji Yui has been in the hotel industry for five years.
Most unforgettable experience: A guest was leaving very early on a Sunday morning. Yui, who was assigned on the night shift at the time, not only personally accompanied the guest to the bullet train station, but also carried the luggage all the way down to the platform. After taking his leave, Yui returned to the platform shortly after with a bento breakfast box, noting that the restaurants were yet to open. He left before the guest could offer to reimburse him. Impressed, the guest wrote the hotel praising Yui for his efforts in taking the extra mile.
Years of service: 21-year-old Theresa Shui shows great promise in the field of hospitality after only two years in the industry. She was a finalist in the Singapore Experience Awards’ best customer service staff in the hotel category.
Most unforgettable request: Shui once customised an itinerary for a couple who wanted to experience the different faces of Singapore – a challenging task considering that the wife was recently discharged from hospital with a warning against strenuous activities. Shui hired a taxi for the city tour, booked a river cruise and conducted leisurely visits to Sentosa and the Night Safari. The couple was very thankful for “one of the most memorable holidays” they ever had.