A concierge, pronounced “cawn-see-airzsh” is one of the oldest and noteworthy professions dating back over 800 years to medieval times. The term originated from the French Comte Des Cierges, “the Keeper of the Candles.” His position centered on tending to the needs of nobility who were visiting the castles and palaces in Europe.
The value of having a concierge was quickly recognized and the position expanded, beginning with executing justice in service to the King. Having a concierge was quickly incorporated into the lifestyle of the elite members of nobility and was considered an essential status symbol.
In 19th century Europe, concierges held positions as property caretakers in apartments. They lived on the premises and monitored the property, served as security and attended to the needs of the occupants. By the 20th century, the position of concierge had established itself around the world and became accessible to mainstream society. All high-end hotels required one and by the end of that century, most hotels had concierge services available.
The 21st century expanded the title to include positions at hospitals, theme parks, and private clubs. It has also become an entrepreneurial haven for private personal errand businesses as the start up costs are minimal. In 2003, a society of concierge physicians was created in the United States. The purpose was to create retainer-based practices in hopes of serving their patients better and more efficiently.
The most common position in the concierge business remains in hotels. Many high-end properties support a concierge (or club) level where premium services and security are offered. Even most budget hotels offer an entrance attendant, assistance with luggage, messages and reservations.
A concierge is considered your contact person for any accommodations, recommendations or reservations you may require. There is no request too mundane or extravagant and each task is accomplished with an air of pleasantry, integrity and discretion. Their focus is to enhance the experience of the hotel guests while promoting tourism and the novel attractions the city has to offer. Standard services include, spa and massage treatments, limo services, boarding passes, restaurant reservations, tickets to events, and tours of the city.
Unique personalized concierge services cater to the ultra wealthy in society, providing services from private jet charters, luxury yacht charters, exotic car rentals, mansion stays and much more. Bluefish Concierge Services, Corporate Concierge, Millionaire’s Concierge and Premier Concierge, are a few examples of exclusive custom operations producing the highest ratings.
The elite of the concierge world are members of The Clefs D’or, pronounced “clay door”, which translates “keys of gold”. This unique international society came about in 1929, founded by Ferdinand Gillet, a legendary Parisian concierge himself. A pin worn on the members lapels, marked with crossed gold keys, identifies them as part of an international group, dedicated to service. Only the highest quality hotels attract these members.
Members of The Clefs D’or society are held to the highest standards of service. Their motto is “In Service Through Excellence”. They have a pulse on their city and know what recommendations to make and what to avoid. The tools of their trade include Zagat, Fodor’s, airline guides, maps, sample restaurant menus, entertainment, nightlife, sports, theater and music listings.
The connections with other Clefs D’ors from all over the world are their greatest resource. They also have an inexhaustible network of acquaintances and colleagues. At times, they serve as social advisors, business expediters and personal confidantes. Through a long history of dedication and excellence, concierges have become a trusted friend to all travelers.