Senior Insider


In the collective imagination, a concierge is often a character as useful as an invasive little bit and who lives on the ground floor of buildings. It goes without saying that the profession, exercised in a luxury establishment, does not correspond in any way to this description. Even less when those who exercise it wear Golden Keys on the back of the collar of their shirt. In France, there are about 400. In the world? Nearly 4,000. In Saint-Barthélemy, for now, there are three of them. A woman, Olivia Vidal, assistant head concierge since November 2021 at Rosewood Guanahani, and two men: Stéphane Carou, head concierge at Rosewood Guanahani, and Benjamin Carrara, head concierge at Carl Gustaf. Three members of a global association whose daily goals are to ensure standards of quality of service as close as possible to excellence.
The last to get her "gallons" was Olivia Vidal in 2022. Not without pride. Because becoming a member of the Golden Keys requires experience, knowledge and determination. "You have to have five years in the profession, three of which are in pure concierge," explains Olivia. We also need three sponsors who already have their gold keys and who are active. But this is only a starting point."More legitimate in the profession"
Then, the candidate (or candidate) must write a written application in the form of a cover letter in which she mentions her background, the institution in which she works, etc. Finally, for the most convincing, there is a convocation to an interview with seven members of the Golden Keys Committee of France. "They bombard you with questions about our motivation, the history of the golden keys, about Saint-Barthélemy too," Olivia explains with a wide smile. A few weeks later, she was able to pin her Golden Keys to her outfit. "I felt a difference in the relationship with customers and, above all, I felt more legitimate in the profession," she says. In short, a form of consecration for the young woman who holds a BTS (higher technician certificate) in the hotel and restaurant industry but who is also a graduate of the Lycée des métiers de l'hôtellerie et du tourisme de Toulouse. The only establishment in France that provides training in hotel concierge. A trajectory that has led her to major establishments in France (the Bristol, the Marriott, the Royal in Deauville), Australia, Canada and... in Saint-Barth, of course. A first time at Guanahani then at the Cheval Blanc and, after the long period of Covid, at Carl Gustaf before returning to "Guana" for the reopening in 2021. "I was very happy to find her again," says Stéphane Carou."The concierge is here! ”
When the expression "ancient of Saint Barth" is pronounced, it is not uncommon for it to be attached in the name of Stéphane Carou. Not because of his old age, but because he has been practicing on the island since 1996. "I landed by chance after working in Méribel and Provence," says the chief concierge. And when he "disembarks", it's to work at... Guanahani. "I climbed the ladder, I even created the concierge," he remembers. First alone, and then we were two, three and now four. For me, the concierge is here! Hear, at Rosewood Guanahani, where he won his Golden Keys in 2002. For the third holder of the Golden Keys, on the other hand, it is at Carl Gustaf, in Gustavia, that the music is danced.
As for Stéphane Carou, Benjamin Carrara's story with Saint Barth is already long. Indeed, it was in 2007 that he put down his suitcases on the island for the first time. "On November 16," he recalls precisely. Thanks to a phone call from... Stéphane Carou. Because the Golden Keys is also and above all a network of professionals. "He asked the Golden Keys office in Paris if there was anyone available quickly," says Benjamin. The office strongly recommended me. He called me on a Friday to start the following Thursday. On Monday, I said yes. And that's how he also found himself in Guanahani."I don't see myself doing anything else"
He started as a concierge assistant before soliciting and obtaining, under the sponsorship of Stéphane Carou, his Golden Keys in 2012. "I worked for eleven years at Guanahani, until November 2018, says Benjamin Carrara. Irma (the category 5 hurricane that ravaged Saint Barth in September 2017, editor's note) marked me a lot. ”
Therefore, after his departure, he decides to "breathe" a little. "I spent Christmas with my family for the first time in fifteen years," he smiles. He then resumed service in some prestigious establishments in France before being contacted by the Barrière group. On March 3, 2019, he is back on the island but, this time, at Carl Gustaf. "I like to be a hotel concierge," he says. What drives me is to provide a quality service, to see customers come back, to make things possible when a priori, they are not. I don't see myself doing anything else at the moment. And then I am very attached to the island. ”
For Olivia, Stéphane and Benjamin, excellence is therefore the rule. The very principle of Golden Keys which, if everything goes well, should have a fourth member in Saint Barth in the coming months. An organization created in 1929Les Clefs d'or France was born in 1929 by Pierre Quentin. The organization will then expand on a global scale and inspire many luxury establishments. "The Concierge "Clefs d'Or" is the keystone of personalized service in a luxury hotel," says the president, Dimitri Ruiz, chief concierge at the Barrière Le Fouquet's hotel in Paris. "Being Keys d'Or is the guarantee of values, know-how and service through the excellence of the profession of Hotel Concierge," he says. Les Clefs d'Or is also a training of young concierges in partnership with National Education, thanks to the Lycée hôtelier de Toulouse and the intervention of Clefs d'Or throughout the year.


Senior Insider
Bravo. Our first experience (long ago) with a concierge clefs d'or was Gérard Ravet at La Cour des Loges in Lyon. Those golden keys mean they know their business for sure . . . and know how to unlock doors for their clientele :nerd: