Welcome Concierges!

Welcome to the Concierge Connection London blog from Morris Visitor Publications UK!

The idea behind this site is to provide a place for you to visit whenever you have a moment, be it at work or at home – to be part of the London concierge community. This will be a place to see photos from concierge events, interviews with other concierges, hotel news, MVP partner offers and of course interaction with other concierges.

Your input will always be appreciated and if you feel there is anything we need to be covering that would be of interest to everyone, please do feel free to let us know.

We are constantly updating this page with new events and information as it comes in so be sure to check back daily.

We hope that you enjoy the site!

BURNS’ NIGHT SUPPER AT FORTNUM & MASON

Celebrating the life and poetry of Scotland’s national bard : Fortnum’s first supper club of 2015 will take place on Saturday 24 January

Tomorrow night, Fortnum & Mason will host the famous Burns’ Supper in the much-loved Fountain Restaurant at their Piccadilly home.  A celebration of the life and work of Robert Burns, guests will enjoy a superb traditional menu, accompanied by poetry, music, witty toasts and the best wines.  This is a date when everyone will discover there’s more than a little Scot in their make-up.

 In keeping with tradition, the evening will begin with the Selkirk Grace, the solemn and triumphant procession of the haggis, its address, and the surrender of the steaming delicacy to the plunging dirk. There will then be a five-course meal, featuring the choicest Caledonian cheeses, homemade oatcakes, and superb wines and whiskies.   And of course, there will be entertainment throughout, as rich and high-spirited as the poetry the bard is renowned for.

So, reserve your table, dust down your kilt, and join us for a wonderful celebration of the life and work of Scotland’s favourite son.

Menu
Fallow Deer Carpaccio with Blackberries and Apple
Fortnum’s Blanc de Noirs, Paul Dethune N.V.
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Haggis, Neaps and Ayrshire Tatties with Whisky sauce
Served with a wee dram of Fortnum’s Highland Single malt whisky to toast the haggis
Fortnum’s Bourgogne Rouge, Joseph Drouhin 2011
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Traditional “Atholl Brose” Cranachan
Fortnum’s Eiswein, Helmut Lang, Austria 2008
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Handmade Oat cakes, Isle of Skye Caboc & Strathdon Blue
Fortnum’s Rioja Crianza, Bodegas y Vinedos La Encina
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Coffee, tablet (fudge) and shortbread
Dalmore 15 Year Old 

Tickets are priced at £75.  For reservations please telephone 020 7734 8040.


About Fortnum & Mason

Since its foundation in Piccadilly in 1707 Fortnum & Mason has been at the heart of London life, supplying the very finest goods and services. From the Food Halls at street level to the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon on the Fourth Floor, it is filled with unique and exceptional food and gifts. Known for its exquisite and impeccable service and surroundings, the Fortnum’s experience is one of pleasure, where nothing is too much trouble. In November 2013 Fortnum & Mason opened its second UK store in 307 years at London’s St. Pancras International Station, and in March 2014, its first standalone store outside the UK in Dubai. Both stores offer an edit of Fortnum & Mason products, as well as all day dining options.

www.fortnumandmason.com

 

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Happy New Year! (and something for the weekend)

Hello everyone and Happy New Year to all!

Hopefully everyone has managed to take a few days off at some point over the past couple of weeks?

If you still don’t feel like you’ve celebrated quite enough, we still have the Chinese New Year to look forward to as well! On Sunday, the 22nd February, we can welcome the Chinese ‘ Year of the Sheep’.

Credit: visitlondonimages/ britainonview/Grant Pritchard

If your guests are looking for something to do this weekend, how about the Winter Lights Weekend at Canary Wharf?

Canary Wharf Winter Lights Weekend

Unfortunately, the Ice Sculpting Festival is now not taking place in Duke of York Square (as mentioned in the January issue of Where London), from today until the 11th January, so the Winter Lights Weekend could be a good alternative. There are lots of family friendly and interactive activites, so a good one for families in London this weekend.

Short and sweet for my first week back at work, but will be posting again shortly.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

 

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Christmas in London 2014

It’s been quite a while since the Concierge Connection blog has been updated and our resolution for 2015 is for all that to change!

First and NB: Xmas Opening Times page – Retailers has now been posted and Attractions has been updated with Serpentine Gallery and Winter Wonderland opening times.

The past year has been a roller-coaster for everyone it seems, with several high profile London hotel openings including the Shangri-La London, The Beaumont and Mondrian hotels. Here at MVP, we’ve had the launch of a new Where London Latin American Edition, which has been really well received by VisitBritain in South America, as well as a second edition of Where London Arabic in October that was largely distributed in the Middle East.

Christmas is a very special time in London, and for your guests there is such a vast array of events to go to and the most picturesque places to visit to catch the festive spirit. My personal favourite is visiting the Southbank (even better, after dark), and the annual German Christmas Market, ice-skating at Somerset House and wandering around Covent Garden and the West End to see the incredible lights and decorations.

Goes without saying, loving the Christmas decorations at hotels this past couple of weeks:

 Rosewood Courtyard

InterContinental Park Lane

One of things I’m going to try and do while on Christmas break (yes, those of us that are not in hospitality are fortunate enough to take a few days off including Christmas and New Year’s) is find and take a picture of all the Paddington Bears on the ‘Trail’. If you’d like to make your younger guests aware of it, or even have a look yourself, you can find the information here: http://www.visitlondon.com/paddington/

Lastly, after seeing this bus driving around London when out and about, it looks very appealing and if there’s time and space available, I’m going to try out the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour.  They offer gluten free, vegetarian and Halal Afternoon Teas as well. If you’ve been, please share your experience, it would be great to hear your feedback.

So on that note, have a great time when you get a day off here and there over Christmas and New Year and if you need anything from our side, please let us know.

More to follow before Christmas…

 

 

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Christmas and New Year Opening Times Update 2014/5

If you take a look at the Xmas Opening Times page, you will currently find the updated information for London Restaurants and Attractions, as well as Out-of-Town Attractions for this Christmas and New Year. Hopefully, the information for Retail will also follow very shortly.

We have painstakingly contacted each establishment individually to make sure we have the correct information for you (at the time of publication).

Please do let me know if there are any restaurants/attractions/retailers you would like me to add to this database.

Many thanks,

Sam

A Clefs d’Or (or Golden Keys) Concierge…

For those of you that ARE a Clefs d’Or Concierge (and for those that aren’t) and sometimes wonder why you’re doing the job on a really difficult day, this video was produced by and features Thomas Wolf, Chef concierge at The Fairmont, San Francisco. In the words of Les Clefs d’Or Blog, it “truly represents the spirit, passion, and dedication of our concierge profession”.

And just in case you don’t know who this amazing Thomas Wolf is… The Fairmont San Francisco was the first hotel to offer the services of a concierge in the United States.  In the 1970s, Wolfe, who trained as a concierge in Europe, set up a concierge desk in the hotel lobby.  Because most Americans were not familiar with the concept, he placed a note explaining the concierge’s role and the ways in which he could assist travellers in each guest room.  Wolfe later founded the US chapter of the international organization of hotel lobby concierges, Les Clefs d’Or, in 1978.

Wolf explains, “As the first concierge in the United States, mine was a unique vantage point.  Having worked in Europe, I knew what was expected of a great concierge.  I was able to take this revered European tradition and inject with an American’s ‘can do’ spirit.”

An incredibly inspirational man who has a real passion for his career!

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Part-Time Role Available

Do you know anyone within the concierge community who might be interested in a part-time role visiting other hotels for an exclusive London Gentlemen’s Club? If yes, please get in touch with me for further details.

Many thanks.

Sofitel Hosts Michelin Star Gourmet Event In London on 21 March 2013

Sofitel Luxury Hotels is delighted to announce that its next Stars, Food & Art charity event will take place the first time in London at The Balcon at Sofitel London St James on Thursday 21 March 2013.

Stars, Food & Art combines art with gastronomic excellence and the London event sees four talented chefs participating: Raymond Blanc, Christophe Muller, Michael Moore and Guy Krenzer. Each chef will prepare one dish in this four-course fine-dining charity event which begins with a Champagne reception.

Strategically placed screens in the restaurant will broadcast live video from a webcam in the kitchen, offering a behind the scenes view and Chefs will also meet with diners in the course of the evening.

While special dietary requirements will be catered for, menus will only be revealed on the evening itself.

Raymond Blanc is Chef Patron of two Michelin Star restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. The self-taught French chef has appeared on a number of television shows and was awarded an OBE in recognition of promoting culinary excellence and for raising awareness of the importance of healthy food.

Christophe Muller is Executive chef at three Michelin Star L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, the French restaurant founded by legendary chef Paul Bocuse. French born Muller is known for his precision, speed and innovative methods, and has worked at the temple of classical French cooking since 1994.

English born Michael Moore is one of Australia’s most respected chefs. Renowned across three continents the popular television chef, food consultant and author has a passion for nutrition and food science, making high-end food accessible to both the cook at home and to the discerning restaurant patron.  Michael is currently the chef/owner of Sydney O Bar and Dining, located atop the famous Australia Square building.

Guy Krenzer is Executive Chef and Creative Director at Lenôtre. At 26, Krenzer had already been awarded a medal at the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the Olympics of pastry making, held every four years in Sorbonne. Chef, artist and artisan, Krenzer leads a team of 500 and yet is known for his calm and serenity, perhaps aided through his love of Shiatsu.


The event is being held in aid of The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia – Friends in the UK.The Royal Flying Doctor Service offers primary health care and 24-hour emergency service to those who live, work and travel throughout Australia, especially those in remote and rural communities.  The Friends in the UK work to raise funds for aircraft replacement.

The spectacular gourmet festival “Stars, Food & Art” combines art with the highest culinary pleasure: Ambitious artistical performances will underline the delicious creations of internationally renowned chefs.

The tickets are £275 + VAT per person and include the menu and 
corresponding wines as well as an exclusive art program.
Reservations must be made in advance by contacting Corinne Cleret (Corinne.cleret@sofitel.com / Tel. +44 (0) 20 7747 2205)

For more information visit www.starsfoodart.com.

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New for your foreign guests in 2013 – Chinese and Japanese London Maps

Exciting news for 2013! After repeated requests from hotels, we are creating a Where London Map in Chinese and one in Japanese this year. They will be available to your establishment by the 7th of June this year.

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The Dorchester’s Gingerbread House (that was actually a hotel!)

What can one say really about The Dorchester’s absolutely incredible gingerbread model of the hotel! It’s an incredible, painstaking feat of engineering and we are now the number one fan of the resident pastry chef (or it must indeed be chefs?) that accomplished this work of art! Congratulations!

P.S. The beautiful pop-up sweet shop in the lobby is an absolutely inspired addition to the hotel for the festive season!

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Bill Mullarkey – 50 Years in the Concierge Business

We spoke to Bill Mullarkey about the highlights of his astonishing 50-year career on the concierge desk…

“A close family friend worked in the hotel industry for many years and he encouraged me to apply for a job to see if I would like it. It was a coincidence that I was walking in Russell Square with some friends and noticed that a new hotel called The President had opened and it was looking for staff. I therefore decided to apply for a position as a day porter and was successful. The year was June 1962, which was also the year that The Beatles came to London and were staying at the hotel!

“As the years moved on, I became more attached to the hotel industry and started to really enjoy it. I also had challenges to overcome within these years, which included having to manage four hotels. However, these challenges were made easier by being fortunate enough to have good team members in each hotel, together with a good family-run business, Imperial London Hotels, as my employer.

“My most treasured memories have been when I met stars of the 60s and 70s such as The Beatles, Cilla Black and more recently the experience of the London 2012 Olympics. I have also received some memorable awards, which include receiving the Commendation from the Metropolitan Police in November 2006 for ‘dedication, tenacity and investigative ability in apprehending and convicting a professional and habitual burglar.’Alongside this, in 2008, I was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award at the annual Morris Golden Keys Concierge Awards.

“Over the 50 years in the hotel industry it has been a very exciting and enjoyable journey. I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people and some of them have become close friends.”

 

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