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Meet the Concierge at the Top of His Game

We talk to David Haines, Head Concierge at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London, after being awarded Honorary Life Membership of The Society of the Golden Keys.

headshot of Head Concierge David Haines
Head Concierge David Haines. Photo: Jaizinho White.

Firstly, congratulations on receiving the Honorary Life Membership of The Society of the Golden Keys. What does this mean to you on a personal level? 

Personally, I feel very honoured on receiving this award, as it is recognition from my peers and colleagues within my profession, who I have a great deal of admiration for.


You now have the full suite of accolades – London Concierge of the Year, the Service Through Friendship Award, 25 years’ Service Pin and the Lifetime Achievement Award, in addition to Honorary Life Membership – what's next for you? 

My main focus is to continue doing what I love and supporting the incredible team and guests at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London.



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

I started back in 1985, at The Park Lane Hotel (now Sheraton Grand) as a Night Porter, within 6 months I was then made Assistant Head Night Concierge, and 18 months later, Assistant Head Concierge. After 10 great years there, I moved to Grosvenor House as Senior Concierge for 18 months, before moving on to Head Concierge at The Millennium Bailey for a further 18 months, followed by a move next door to the Millennium Gloucester Hotel for 13years.

The experience I gained across all of these properties and teams, then led me to the incredible opening of Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London in 2010, and I have been here ever since.

     

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

The four real mentors through my career were Bill Copley, Head Night Concierge at The Park Lane; Henrique De Freitas, Dennis Purcell and Robert Watson - help and advice from these gentlemen have steered me over the years.


"I have learnt to evolve as a Head Concierge to be innovative and creative as the business is constantly changing and I like to stay ahead of the game."

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 

I have met a lot of famous people and dignitaries over the years, which is always fun, however I would say the real highlight has been seeing team members that have worked for me over years progress to become Head Concierges. Which was 18 of them, the last time I checked!


park plaza hotel westminster bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London. Photo: Park Plaza Hotels.

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

I do not really think of them as difficult guests, just guests with problems and challenges; my job is to listen and empathise and fix their problems and challenges - I find this approach has always worked for me.


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

I think anyone in the hospitality industry knows that long hours and weekends are part of this role. My wife, Mirela, has been very supportive, as well as our family, which goes a long way.   


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

I would like to think, after all the years doing this job, that I have now gained the ability to think quickly on my feet and stay calm in all situations. I have learnt to evolve as a Head Concierge to be innovative and creative as the business is constantly changing and I like to stay ahead of the game.


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

Go do as much as you can, even on your days off eg: a museum, tour a theatre show etc. Try to go to as many invites as you can, as this will help you when the guests ask you, you will now be talking from experience, as you would have been there and it will make your job so much easier. 


Toru Machida and David Haines
Society President, Toru Machida presents David Haines with his Honorary Life Membership. Certificate.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a Concierge? 

Helping all different types of people and making their stay as rewarding and memorable as possible. 


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

It is the foundation of our society, being able to pick up a phone and get the information or advice from other members has to be the main benefit of being a member, which is invaluable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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