Photo credit: Union hoteli

In January, Grand Hotel Union’s (the largest conference hotel in Ljubljana) concierges became part of the world-renowned international association of professional hotel concierges “Les Clefs d’Or Austria”. Blaž Sok and Gregor Žibert, are the first concierges in Slovenia to proudly wear the famous crossed golden keys, the association’s symbol, and share the invaluable knowledge, experience and dedication of this esteemed association with Slovenia and its guests.

Grand Hotel Union stands proudly with decades of history behind at an exclusive location in the city center. The hotel with its stunning Art Nouveau architecture boasts with 194 rooms and 21 conference rooms. Over 110 years of gaining the knowledge of the know-how, ensures business excellence, and its tradition is a guarantee of trust and top-quality services.

Photo credit: Union hoteli

Combining tradition with the latest trends and a personal approach that enhances the guests’ hotel experience is their key to success. And the prove for that are also the two concierges recently honoured with the Golden Keys of Les Clefs d’Or.

Les Clefs d’Or (The Golden Keys) is an international professional association, based on friendship between members to assist international travellers and tourists. Members of this old fraternity, that originates in 1929 Paris, can be recognized by the keys they display on the collar of their uniforms. These crossed gold keys are more than just the symbol of the organization — they are the symbol of guaranteed, quality service.

Today the international association of hotel concierges has approximately 4000 members working in over 80 countries and 530 destinations.

What differs a concierge from the concierge Clefs d’Or is, that they will always put the guests requests first, and will do anything to fulfill them in order to achieve the guest’s full satisfaction. They are highly motivated by a genuine desire to serve. They are prudent, patient, kind toward guests and staff alike, self-confident, tenacious, persistent, adaptable, ingenious, disciplined, and flexible. If by any chance they cannot fulfill a certain guest’s request, they have a back-up broad network of acquaintances, colleagues and friends who help them meet the guest’s needs.

Many Clefs d’Or members are multilingual and most are well-versed in many cultures. They know how to communicate with vacationers as well as with business travelers and the petty guests. They have a broad knowledge of trends and know all about their representative city.

To become a member of this association and earn the right to wear the golden key, one must have numerous years of experience as a hotel concierge, they must pass comprehensive testing and prove beyond doubt their ability to deliver the highest quality of service at all times. They take care of the guests needs with calmness, even in stressful situations, integrity and discretion.

Photo credit: Union hoteli

Q: When did you decide to become a concierge and how did you start?

We had already been providing concierge services in our former positions as a lobby boy and receptionist. After getting quite a lot of good feedback from the guests, we really wanted to dedicate ourselves full-time to being concierges and improve, rather than doing it halfway.

Q: Why is the organization Les Clef’s d’Or so special to you?

The Les Clef’s d’Or Association is the highest rank a concierge can achieve, so naturally it represents a standard we wanted to achieve. Now, that we have managed to be worthy of wearing the Golden Keys, it is a confirmation that we are on the right path and must always learn and strive to improve.

Q: What is the advantage of speaking to a concierge over searching the internet?

We are a walking encyclopedia that can show you enthusiasm and passion towards your request and can make the impossible possible (if it’s impossible, it’s just a phone call away from possible).

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a concierge?

Every single day is a new story, every request is unique, every guest is a new king.

Q: What is the strangest request ever received from a guest?

Would you marry my daughter?

Q: What is your favourite guest request ever?

Something seemingly impossible that you have already found half of the solution for in your head.

Q: How would you spend your ideal day off?

I would have a morning coffee with friends in the beautiful old town of Ljubljana.

I would go for a walk to the top of the Rožnik hill with my family, followed by lunch in one of Ljubljana’s fine restaurants.

In the afternoon, I would head to the coastal town of Piran to watch the sunset with my girlfriend and then indulge in some culinary delights caught by the local fishermen.