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Meet Graham Luff, Head Concierge at St. James's Hotel and Club

From originally working for the BBC to smoking his own salmon, Graham reveals how he's a man of many talents!

Can you tell us about the career path which led to where you are today?

Since my initial vocation as a video-tape editor for the BBC was abruptly terminated when the training course was cancelled, I needed to find a job fast. A flatmate knew there was a job going as a night porter at 47 Park Street, which I took.

This eventually led to a 28-year-long apprenticeship at The Capital Hotel.


Are there any specific mentors you’ve looked to for guidance, and how have they helped you on your journey? 

A brief stint at the St. James' Court Hotel under the late David Burner helped me appreciate the importance of the Concierge and our relationship with the guests, while Clive Smith at The Capital taught me most of the other things I've learned and helped me to adapt my individual personality. David Levin, who owned The Capital for most of the time I was there, gave me the confidence to be who I am.

"The most rewarding thing is creating trust with people I wouldn’t normally get to meet and being able to provide them with experiences they probably can’t get anywhere else."

St James's Hotel and Club. Photo © VVShots |

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 

Becoming Head Concierge of St. James’s Hotel and Club Mayfair.

Dealing with guests cannot always be easy; what’s your approach to winning over difficult guests?

I try to win them over with my knowledge and wit, or simply try to give them what they want as efficiently and professionally as possible.

What personal sacrifices have you had to make to become so successful in this field? 

Since becoming Head Concierge in December 2022, I have been the only Concierge, so I have had to suspend a lot of things I used to do in my time off, specifically developing my own cure then working on smoking my own version of smoked salmon, composing music and spending time with the family.

There is light around the corner, however…

What attributes do you think you possess that make you a successful Concierge? 

A fantastic memory for storing guests’ requests, their needs and the available possibilities to keep them amused, interested and creating wonderful memories during their time at the hotel; the ability to talk (a lot) and to think on your feet.

If you could give advice to Concierge new to this profession, what would it be? 

Ask lots of questions, go out on to the streets of London and start learning about this amazing city - and don’t believe everything you read on the internet!

What is the most rewarding thing about being a Concierge? 

The most rewarding thing is creating trust with people I wouldn’t normally get to meet and being able to provide them with experiences they probably can’t get anywhere else. Some of these people I now consider friends. Since moving to St. James’s Hotel and Club, 26 guests, who used to stay at The Capital, have come to stay with me.

Les Clefs d’Or’s motto is ‘service through friendship’; how important is collaboration with colleagues across the industry to you?  

Les Clefs d’Or provides me with the possibility to complete tasks, set by the guests, in a more efficient and effective manner, mostly without them noticing.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I could probably still rustle up a rendition of the theme tune to “Ivor the Engine” on my bassoon, given a couple of hours of practice. (Please don’t ask me to!)





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