Asia, Concierge ABC, India, Inspiration, Les Clefs d'Or

A Concierge’s Story

While going on a stroll through Udaipur, we met an elephant and came across this pink telephone in a streetside store. Photo by Andrew Kaufman, Udaipur, India.

While going on a stroll through Udaipur, we met an elephant and came across this pink telephone in a streetside store. Photo by Andrew Kaufman, Udaipur, India.

Concierges have the best stories to tell. At dinner parties I am always asked what is happening in the hotel. This year the Les Clefs d’Or keys have been a topic of conversation too. Some of my friends saw the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel. They thought that the keys were make belief and that they originated from Wes Anderson’s magical mind. So I found myself telling stories about the keys, what being a Les Clefs d’Or member means and how we meet once a year to learn from the very best. We discuss trends in the hospitality industry, share guests’ stories, meet our mentors and become mentors ourselves, celebrate our history, are reminded of the unique position we hold in our hotels and the difference we can make in our guests’ and colleagues’ journeys, embrace our motto In Service through Friendship, strengthen our Les Clefs d’Or brand and message, enjoy good food and dance a little or a lot (in my case). Then we return to our countries, hotels, lobbies, desks and guests and recreate my favorite scene from The Grand Budapest Hotel or is it the other way around and is the scene based upon a real life Concierge story? We pick up the phone and call a Concierge somewhere in the world and ask for assistance. While we are calling, we wonder which Concierge will be calling us and how we may assist. And we wonder what fabulous Concierge story we will tell next.

P.S. I wrote this story for the Les Clefs d’Or USA writing contest. Topic is the importance of congress attendance. Three scholarships are given for the upcoming 2015 UICH Les Clefs d’Or Congress in Mendoza, Argentina. I can’t wait to see everyone in Mendoza and hopefully I win!

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Hotels always have a front and a back of the house. You can compare the back of the house with going backstage at the theatre. As the traveler you will never see the back of the house. This is where you find the employee entrance, the employee hallways (at the Fontainebleau Hotel the employee hallways consisted of a fascinating labyrinth in the hotel’s basement where I often got lost), the employee elevators, the employee uniform room, the employee locker room, the employee cafeteria, the laundry room, the loading docks, offices and lots of storage areas. My favorite storage area is where Housekeeping keeps its soaps, shampoos and body lotions. This area always smells so good. In the employee hallways you will further find all types of message boards with postings celebrating the employee of the month, employee schedules, shopper report results, announcements of upcoming trainings to hotel rules and laws.

Canang Sari, a collection of daily offerings for sale at the Pasar Badung in Den Pasar. Bali has changed so much in the ten short years since I have been there last. There are more motor bikes, cars and hotels. But the Balinese people still have their customs and rituals. Daily offerings are made to express gratitude and to honor the gods, the ancestors and the underworld creatures. It is a serene undertaking and clears the mind and heart. Photograph by Andrew Kaufman.

Canang Sari, a collection of daily offerings for sale at the Pasar Badung in Den Pasar. Bali has changed so much in the ten short years since I have been there last. There are more motor bikes, cars and hotels. But the Balinese people still have their customs and rituals. Daily offerings are made to express gratitude and to honor the gods, the ancestors and the underworld creatures. It is a serene undertaking and clears the mind and heart. Photograph by Andrew Kaufman.

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Asia, Bali, Beyond Miami, Body Mind Soul, Concierge ABC, Indonesia, Tipping, Travel Etiquette, Travel Tips

The Ladies of the Back of the House

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Asia, Bali, Beyond Miami, Food and Drink, Indonesia, Local Flavors

The Art of Jackfruit

Once upon a time, I was a student at Andalas University in Padang, Sumatra. I was living with an Indonesian family and I was lucky. My host mother was an outstanding chef. She knew all of my favorite Indonesian dishes that I had grew up with in the Netherlands and had some secret recipes herself. In my three months as a summer student, I gained five kilo’s. My host mother thought I was too skinny. She also wanted to be sure my mother back home knew she had taken excellent care of me.

Jackfruit at the Pasar Badung in Den Pasar, Bali, Photograph by Andrew Kaufman.

Jackfruit at the Pasar Badung in Den Pasar, Bali, Photograph by Andrew Kaufman.

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Asia, Beyond Miami, Sri Lanka, Travel by Train

Asia’s Own

Sri Lanka
Ceylon
Serendib
Island of Jewels
what’s in a name?

I am taking the train from Colombo to Ella
the world passes by
a boy with a kite
school children in white uniforms
a man working his fields
a lady with an umbrella

Colombo Ella Train Times

The train schedule at Colombo Fort Railway Station. The Rajadhani Express leaves at 9.45 am on Mondays and it takes about 10 hours to Ella, Photograph by Andrew Kaufman.

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