Q: What made you choose London as your current home and how long have you been at the Sofitel St James?
A: London has always attracted me I think. When I was 17 or 18, I remember taking the overnight coach and ferry to Dover and heading straight to London, sometimes only for one night. The city fascinated me, it was so different to my home town of Paris.
I have been at the Sofitel St James for more than 8 years now. The hotel has changed so much over the years – we extended to the building next door a couple of years ago and opened the award-winning “So Spa”. More recently, there has been a complete refurbishment of our St James Bar and we also opened our new restaurant, The Balcon, with great success.
Q: If you could be a concierge in another city, where would it be and why?
A: Maybe Rio de Janeiro or Moscow, two very different but incredible cities.
Q: Do you have a favourite story from your work as Concierge?
A: Yes, it was about 4 years ago and it ended sweetly. A French film director was in London for the premiere of his movie and staying with us. He was at the screening when he received a call from his pregnant wife in France, informing him that she was having contractions and was heading to the hospital.
He was understandably very nervous and surprised, since his wife was not supposed to give birth for another 3 weeks! The film director and his assistant rushed back to the hotel, but since it was already 10pm there was no Eurostar or flights to Paris. I managed to find a driver who would accept the drive all the way to Paris at such short notice. After a long drive through the night, they managed to reach the hospital at dawn, just on time for the film director to be reunited with his wife and witness the birth of his first child!
Q: Tell us about your favourite hidden gem in London.
A: It has got to be the Hampstead swimming pond. It feels as if you’re miles away from London. To be totally honest, I have never swum there myself, but walked or ran past it many times and you can always find a couple of swimmers brave enough to swim in very chilly water! The pond was recently featured in a scene from the “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” movie.
Q: What’s your most prized possession?
A: My set of Golden Keys! And my family, as well as my special one of course, she’ll understand 😉