What sets a »regular« holiday apart from a truly exceptional one? While the beauty of the location and the property are naturally important factors, it has to be said that there is one thing, above all others, that helps make a holiday the trip of a lifetime: that wonderful feeling of having your every need tended to so that you can truly relax. This experience is guaranteed by the concierge, an exceptional caretaker who ensures that guests of Badrutt’s Palace Hotel are entertained and happy in every possible way.
How long have you been the concierge at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel?
I’ve held the post of Head Concierge at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel since 1999.
How do you become a concierge?
Well, there are two main aspects here. One is the concierge training – the so-called hard skills, and the other, which is, I believe, more important – is the soft skills: your attitude and personality. Being a concierge is not just a profession, it’s a passion!
However, if you mean the hard skills, they like you to have at least five years’ experience of working in the hotel lobby and at least two years’ experience of concierge work.
Back in the days when I was completing my qualification in hotel management, there was still the option to select »concierge« as your field of specialisation, which I did. I fell in love with the profession – you could call it the love of my life.
What is a typical day like for you?
Our aim is to meet our guests’ needs 24 hours a day, every day. This includes knowing our agenda, our arrival list and guests, as well as being aware of everything that is happening in the hotel and in the St. Moritz area.
What is your favourite part of the job?
The best part of the job is the personal contact with our guests. As many of them are regulars who come back every year, we have the unique and rare opportunity to establish a relationship with each one of them.
What is the strangest request you have received?
Well, I wouldn’t call our guests’ requests strange. They’re personal, and they differ from guest to guest. One story I do remember, from the year I started to work for Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, is that we had to organise a private jet to fly in the personal hairdresser of one of our guests from Azerbaijan to St. Moritz at extremely short notice, so that her hair would look exactly the way she wanted it for the reception the following night.
Another memory that I’d love to share with you, which happened just recently, is the story of a wedding cake. Our pâtissier created a beautiful, incredibly large gateau for the said wedding. One part of the reception took place at a mountain hut in the Swiss Alps. The problem was that the cake was far too big to be transported in the chairlift, so we had to carry it the entire way up to the mountain hut on foot using just a table.
So you see our stories aren’t strange. They are personal and create memories, and I’m happy to be part of that.
And what is the most common?
Most of our guests ask us about our personal highlight or secret escape. The trick is to formulate our answers differently each time, and to give ideas and suggestions that match our guests’ impressions.
In which ways have you gone »the extra mile« to make sure guests were happy?
My team and I aim to go »the extra mile« every day. Once I helped out as a babysitter so one of our regular guests could enjoy a romantic dinner without worrying about their child. These guests are still returning to our hotel, and the child is now old enough to stay in the room alone. This evening has been recalled many times and created a special, lasting bond between the family and myself. So I’m proud to have gone »the extra mile« that evening, even if babysitting does not fall within my usual remit.
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
Nothing, I love my job the way it is.
What is your advice to anyone who wants to become a concierge?
As I said before, I think it’s all about personality and attitude, as well as a flair for understatement and an ongoing commitment to your profession.
What does Badrutt’s Spirit mean for you?
Badrutt’s Spirit is the soul of our hotel and keeps it alive. But to be able to truly understand Badrutt’s Spirit, you have to come and experience it yourself.
What makes Badrutt’s Palace Hotel special or unique?
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel is unique because it makes you feel regal and majestic as soon as you set foot inside. Its time-honoured history and tradition date back to 1896, and it celebrated its 120th anniversary in summer 2016.
What shouldn’t guests miss when they visit St. Moritz?
I’d say the inspiring mountain landscape and the town’s glamorous ambience.
Giuseppe Pesenti - Head Concierge