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Our People - Head Concierge
Corrado Bogni, the Connaught’s Head Concierge, is a true citizen of the world. We find out what brought him to the Connaught and ask him about his role at the hotel.
“Maybe I was even an Englishman in a past life”“A German guest at the Connaught said to me, ‘Corrado, do you know what your name is in German and what it means?’ I didn’t, so he suggested I look it up. It turns out that Konrad is a very old German name that means bold and wise counsellor.” Corrado is the Italian version.“I was born just outside Milan in a small town called Gallarate. We call the area our ‘Lake District’ and it’s renowned as the centre of a textile industry that specialises in linings such as satin. But I now consider myself a citizen of the world, a proud Londoner, and maybe even an Englishman in a past life.”
“I was swamped every shift, but pleased as punch too”Corrado started his career with the ‘big boys’ in the kitchen when he was only 14 and boarding away from his family to take the chef’s course at a catering school at the Excelsior Hotel in Ponte di Legno in northern Italy. He quickly realised that he would struggle to compete with boys who were much older and physically stronger in the kitchen, where in those days such traits were valued. After a heart-to-heart with his father, he switched to the more engaging and personal front of house course. An anecdote reveals his innate understanding of other people’s needs. “They had a really old switchboard at the school, and students would man it in shifts. The biggest problem was parents ringing to talk to their loved ones; the school was such a warren of rooms the boys on the switchboard could never find anybody. “But I could. I’m not sure if I am naturally nosey, but I always knew exactly where each student would be at what time. So word got round the parents to ‘call when Corrado's on’, and from then on I was swamped every shift, but pleased as punch too.”After his time in Ponte di Legno, Corrado came to London. Over the next 15 years he worked in various London hotels, and before joining the Connaught in 2008, helped launch the first of a new generation of five-star hotels, One Aldwych.
“I met the last person living in Monument Valley”A traveller in his soul, Corrado spends his holidays seeking out new experiences. He retells an adventure that happened in Arizona’s Monument Valley. “It was early evening and I was waiting for the sunset when a banged-up old jeep pulled in beside me, a Native American stuck his head out and said, ‘Want to meet a real local?’“I jumped in, and for the next three hours got to meet the last person living in the valley, an old woman who shared some tea, and explained that the Native American women’s tents have nine poles to represent the nine months of pregnancy, and the men’s tents have three to represent... well, you know!”
“The spirit of the Connaught gets deep in your heart”Corrado says he always knew about the Connaught; everybody in the industry did, because it was consistently in the Top 10 world hotels on any list. When he heard about the Head Concierge position at the newly re-opened hotel, he knew it was for him. When he got it, he felt like he was really home at last. “There is something about the spirit of the Connaught that infects you, gets deep into your heart, it says ‘Don’t mess with me’, it is bigger than you, it draws you in, and that staircase watches over you, making you feel sheltered and above all, loved.”
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The Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL +44 (0)2035 539 096
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