According to Wikipedia “a concierge is an employee who lives on the premises of an apartment building or a hotel and serves guests with duties similar to those of a butler…the phenomenon and the term are most common in France”. As you may have guessed, the term concierge is French so don’t go pronouncing it ‘conseergee’.
To give you some history behind concierge service, Wikipedia states that “in medieval times, the concierge was an officer of the King who was charged with executing justice, with the help of his bailiffs. The term concierge evolved from the French Comte Des Cierges, The Keeper of the Candles, who tended to visiting nobles in castles of the medieval era”. Amazing to think that this was started so long ago and that it not only exists today, but the concierge industry is booming all over the world.
A concierge service is most prominent in hotels. A concierge will help guests with various tasks like making restaurant reservations, arranging spa services, recommending social hot spots, booking transportation (limousines, airplanes, boats, etc.) and getting tickets to special events. Wikipedia states that “in upscale establishments, a concierge is often expected to “achieve the impossible”, dealing with any request a guest may have, no matter how strange”. I can imagine that a privacy agreement might have to signed in such situations…mmm…I am now very curious to know what is the most random request ever made to a concierge.
Another interesting tit-bit of information is that “hotel concierge staff have their own professional association, called Les Clefs d’Or (“The Golden Keys”). It was formed in France in October 1929. It now reaches over 3000 members in over 40 countries. Members can be distinguished by the gold keys they display on their lapels”. It seems like there are many many people out there who love doing things for other people, which I guess is a good thing, but it also entails being told what to do 24/7 – don’t know if I would enjoy that too much.
It seems like there are also many independent personal concierge companies which provide a concierge service for their members. The services include running errands services, informational requests, making dinner reservations, telephone calls and organising travel arrangements – seems to me that a concierge service is basically like a personal assistant or a butler service except that, according to Wikipedia, “concierges also entertain their clients”. Not sure what you do if you are a talentless concierge and your best party trick is making phone calls very quickly or knowing how to bribe people for exclusive tickets for concerts and clubs. Surely not all concierges are pianists, pole dancers and singers?
I think that this service adds a touch of ‘we really care about you’ when staying at a hotel and I can imagine that a lot of businessmen and women might not have the time to organise everything themselves. And then of course, a concierge service exists for those people who have never done anything for themselves and a butler and a maid have always been a part of their family. Either way, I hope that I am one day (and only for one day) in a position to click my fingers and things just get done…and it will be a bonus if my concierge is a also a good tap dancer.
Written and prepared for by Klara Loots