So you want to be a concierge? What kind of person is right for the job?
Bettye Bradley, former concierge, The Watergate Hotel. "Somebody who will go anywhere, do anything, make a deal with anybody to satisfy the guest."
Eugene Ferguson, head concierge, The Ritz-Carlton, Boston, and president, Les Clefs d'Or, U.S.A. "I think my position here is to make life as easy and enjoyable for the guest as I possibly can."
Christiane Juster, head concierge, The Fairfax. "It's basically someone who can tap dance a lot, really accommodate the guests with all their needs and requirements . . . as expediently as possible."
Jack Nargil, head concierge, Four Seasons Hotel. "Style is the key word. Every concierge has his own style, which must blend in with that of the hotel . . . The concierge, in effect, becomes the principal ambassador for the hotel, the see-no-evil individual, but the keeper of many secrets . . ."
Rene Sauthier, general manager, The Madison and Dolley Madison Hotels. "A concierge is someone who is called upon to do the impossible."
Paul L. Chapman, president of the International Hotel & Restaurant Institute, Vienna, Va., draws a distinction between the concierges in the grand old hotels of Europe and those staffing the larger, less personalized American hotels. Chapman estimates the concierges in traditional and pricey hotels in Europe -- the Georges V in Paris, the Grande Bretagne in Athens and Claridge's in London, for example -- might, with tips, make $50,000 to $60,000 a year.
In the U.S., he estimates that though it varies greatly from hotel to hotel, a head concierge probably makes a base salary of $12,000 to $14,000; an assistant concierge $9,000 to $10,000. And, he cautions, tips in these larger places could be almost "nonexistent."
Although an insider at one of the East Coast's smaller and finer hotels acknowledges that every hotel has its own job description for a concierge, "a starting salary for a concierge with experience," he says, "and with a good knowledge of the city that he's working in -- and especially a member of 'The Keys' -- would probably be in the vicinity of $20,000 to $25,000.