The world’s most esteemed association of hotel concierges, Les Clefs D’Or, welcomed Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney’s longstanding chief concierge, Colin Toomey, as its International President at the International Congress of the Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hôtels (UICH) in Mendoza, Argentina on 13 April 2015. Mr Toomey is only the second Australian to hold the position.
This year, Mr Toomey celebrates his 20th year with the iconic 565-room Sydney hotel in the historic district The Rocks with panoramic views of Sydney harbour from 36 floors. His connection to Les Clefs d’Or began with his official keys presentation only two months after he started with the hotel. Steady progression through the Australian ranks of the organisation saw Mr Toomey gain prominence on the international scene, culminating in him receiving this rare honour.
His primary responsibilities are to act as the official spokesperson for Les Clefs d’Or, oversee the association’s global operations, manage and maintain existing relationships with industry partners and preside at official Les Clefs d’Or events.
With origins dating back to the Hotel Ambassador in Paris in 1929, Les Clefs d’Or means “the golden keys” in French, the symbol of an elite concierge organisation of some 4,000 members world-wide with strict admission policies.
The hotel concierge of Les Clefs d’Or invented the modern profession the world now calls ‘concierge’. In the same way that true ‘Champagne’ must come from Champagne, a true concierge must come from a hotel lobby.
To gain membership, a concierge must be employed by a hotel of very good standing and have at least five years’ experience in hospitality, three of them as chief concierge or assistant to a chief concierge who is a member. They must provide letters of reference and receive introductions from at least two members of the society and attend an interview.
“Colin is an absolute asset to our hotel and a role model in the team of five concierges, inspiring his team members to delight the hotel’s 150 or more enquiring guests each day,” said general manager Michael Cottan.
“Throughout his many years of service with Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, he has received numerous awards and given advice to tens of thousands of staying guests. There is nothing about Sydney that this man does not know. As the first, and last, point of contact at the hotel, the concierge plays an integral role in our five-star standard of service.”