Thursday, 26, November 2015
A Day in the Life of: A Marylebone Concierge
There’s plenty to celebrate at The Marylebone this month, thanks to the hotel’s award-winning concierge team. The good news starts with Marylebone’s Assistant Head Concierge Riyas Kallan, who was awarded the Andre Damonte Award at The Annual Morris Golden Keys Concierge Awards 2015 on October 29th 2015.
This award comes soon after Riyas received his prestigious Golden Keys lapel pins back in May 2015. The Society of the Golden Keys Great Britian is a UK based organisation that seeks to reward Britain’s top Concierges and chooses the individuals based on their ‘professional gravitas, integrity, local knowledge and impeccable recommendations’.
Another Marylebone Concierge to also receive his Golden Keys lapel pins this year is Head Concierge-Rahim Ismail. Rahim has worked at The Marylebone for 5 ½ years and received his recognition in October 2015. Rahim is known for his expert knowledge of London and the surrounding area. Whether he’s making a restaurant recommendation or planning a walking tour of Marylebone village, Rahim helps guests experience their perfect stay in London.
With all the success of The Marylebone Concierge team, we sat down with Riyas and Rahim to find out what it’s like to spend a day in the life of a concierge at The Marylebone;
A Q&A with Riyas Kallan
Congratulations on your win in the International Concierge Awards! How do you feel to win this prestigious award?
I'm so honored and feel very proud of winning this year’s Andre Damonte Award- coming from a profession I have served with great pride and passion and people I have loved so well; it fills me with an emotion I cannot express! It’s a great privilege - representing Great Britain at the next Annual ‘The 63rd UICH Les Clefs d’Or World Congress Dubai’ and competing for the international Andy Pongco concierge award. I believe in what Andy Pongco stood for -we need to keep our profession alive, healthy and progressive and encourage the youth of today as they will be tomorrow's elite!
Describe a typical day on the concierge desk?
I speak to babysitters, transfer companies, tour companies, theatre tickets agents, sports tickets agents, courier companies and any other supplier you can think of! My day is mainly taking requests, running around to make them meet and then informing the guest that it has been done and make it seem like it was no effort at all!
What is your favourite part of the job?
Every day has its own challenges and experiences, and I find meeting different people from all around the world and experiencing foreign cultures stimulating and exciting . If I can 'wow' my guests it makes my day even better!
How does the concierge desk help guests at The Marylebone?
By continually educating ourselves we provide up-to-date, in-the-know insight that helps the guest enjoy a stress-free trip and keeps that same guest coming back for years to come. Through our vast contacts, we’re able to open doors that no others can. We strive to delight our guests, colleagues and hospitality partners, everyday!
What are your top London recommendations for guests? (Attractions, restaurants etc.)
From all the famous sights that you've heard about for years (Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, etc) to the must-do activities like high tea, shopping on Oxford Street and Theatre shows, there's just an overabundance of things to see and do! The Thames flows through Central London and provides a stunning backdrop to many of the city's top tourist attractions. River bus services are a great way of beating the traffic and enjoying fantastic views.
A Q&A with Rahim Ismail
Congratulations on receiving your Golden Keys title! What does this mean to you?
I am thrilled to be part of nearly 4000 elite Concierge friends from around the world. This profession has a very long history internationally, and it is an honor beyond words to become a part of it – all while representing both Les Clefs d' Or Great Britain, The Marylebone Hotel and The Doyle Collection.
What’s is it your favourite part of the job?
The Best part of being a Concierge is the opportunity to meet guests from all over the globe. Helping make someone’s trip so special and memorable is very rewarding for myself and my team.
Building contacts with different agents and associates within the Les Clefs d’Or allows me and my team to ensure that no guest request is too large. Seeing my guest walk away delighted and with their expectations exceeded is the most rewarding part.
Do you know of any hidden gems in the Marylebone area that you recommend to guests?
Marylebone Farmers Market - A must visit Sunday outdoor street market trading in seasonal foods from artisan and the best local producers. Marylebone Farmers' Market put the 'Marylebone Village' on the map as a destination for great food. On Sundays, the market site usually has between 30 and 40 stalls and is heaving with locals doing their weekly shopping, as well as food enthusiasts from all over the capital.
La Fromagerie cafe - Consistently recognised and awarded for being a very special place to indulge your cheese addiction, La Fromagerie is one of the best cheese shops in London and is only a short stroll away from the hotel.
The Wallace Collection - The Wallace Collection on Manchester Square is considered to be one of the best collections of fine arts including paintings, porcelain and furnishings in the UK. Also housed within this fantastic building is the Wallace Restaurant. A wonderful space that combines al fresco dining in a delightful setting, dotted with trees and sculptures and flooded with natural light.
What are the most common questions you get asked by guests at the concierge desk?
Everyday questions might include: Which way is the nearest underground station? Where can we get on a four-mile run? Where should I go for dinner? Which pub is your favorite? These might seem like easy answers, and most of them are. But I learned early on in my career that in order to make the right recommendation, I need to ask guests the right questions and then listen carefully to their answers.
About The Society of the Golden Keys
The Society of the Golden Keys was founded in London in 1952 and is still thriving today. With strict conditions of membership requiring proof of professional relationship with guests and work colleagues, approximately 330 concierges in Great Britain now proudly wear the symbol of their status: the Golden Keys lapel pin. Next year the society will hold the 63rd UICH International Congress in Dubai from April 10th.
The Doyle Collection is very proud to now have a total of 9 Golden Keys concierge members across 8 of its hotels.