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Meet Rahim Ismail, Head Concierge at The Savoy

Rahim reveals how he started in hospitality at the age of 16 and has been dedicated to the industry ever since.

Rahim Ismail, Head Concierge at The Savoy.

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

I began working at my family-run hotel at 16 years old and instantly fell in love with hospitality. I pursued a degree in hospitality and completed my placement in a hotel in Mayfair. I was then invited to join the concierge team in Marylebone, where I developed a passion for luxury hospitality and have been dedicated to the industry ever since.


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

During my placement, my manager Geoffrey Wild saw potential in me and promoted me to Reception Manager. In this role, I learnt a great deal and fell in love with the guest-facing aspect of the job. Geoffrey taught me to be proactive and further honed my skills in hospitality.

Amanda Cooper introduced me to the world of Concierge work. She pushed me a lot, giving me freedom to express myself in my role while also providing support.

"Guest satisfaction is immensely rewarding, especially when we witness our guests' special trips come to life."

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 

Earning my Golden Keys in 2015. It took five years of hard work and sacrifice, including missing many family events and facing self-doubt. However, receiving the keys brought a sense of relief and pride. Since then, I wear them with pride and remain thankful for my journey.

The Savoy, London
The Savoy, Strand, London. Photo: Shutterstock.

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

Empathy, collaboration with other departments to meet guests' goals, maintaining a calm persona, staying positive, being the voice of reason and offering the best solutions even if it means more work for yourself. Most importantly, following through with my commitments are essential aspects of my approach.

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

Early in my career, I was given opportunities to move abroad, but I decided to pursue the Concierge world in London. Another significant sacrifice that was difficult but ultimately necessary for my professional growth was sacrificing time spent with family. Despite the challenges, I knew it was the right choice for my long-term goals.

What attributes do you think you possess that make you an award-winning Concierge? 

Problem-solving, attention to detail, extensive local knowledge, cultural awareness, and adaptability are crucial skills in the hospitality industry. These qualities are some of the most important aspects of being a good Head Concierge.

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

Knowing your area, building contacts, and maintaining a sense of curiosity are essential. It's important to explore, stay updated by listening, reading, watching, and continuously discovering new aspects of London.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a Concierge? 

Guest satisfaction is immensely rewarding, especially when we witness our guests' special trips come to life. It's amazing to see people arrive with worries or uncertainties and then witness their relief and joy as we take care of everything, ensuring their experience exceeds their expectations

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

The fact you can speak to someone you’ve never spoken to in another country that you’ve never visited and they will help you without question is a huge benefit and it’s something that technology couldn’t replace and this is one of the many reasons why Les clef d’Or is so important.





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