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Our People - Doorman
Carl Holness never tires of welcoming guests to The Connaught. Here, he gives us an insight into life on the door.
“This part of London is lovely and peaceful in the morning” I have an early start most days, especially if I am doing the first shift. So, I’ll leave home in west London at around 5am and be at The Connaught for just after 6.30am. Uniform on, I step out the front and first thing I do is make sure everything at the front is neat, tidy and the revolving doors are sparkling clean. This part of London is lovely and peaceful in the morning. Carlos Place is beautiful, particularly in the summer months. That said, the capital’s weather is unpredictable so the last thing I do before leaving home is check the weather forecast. We also have a monitor in the office so that we can be ready if extra umbrellas will be required at the doors for guests departing for meetings, or sightseeing. I’ve saved many wonderful hairdos from a watery fate.
“I am the first thing people might see at The Connaught”
Every day, I meet with Corrado, the Head Concierge. We talk through the day ahead, and whether there are any special events taking place, or VIPs expected at the hotel. If there is a business meeting, a wedding, a screening, or a social function, it could bring an additional 200 or more people to our door, so I need to be prepared. Corrado has more than 35 years of experience in his area, and I am constantly learning from him.I take great pride in the fact that from the start of the day onwards, I am the first thing that people might see or hear as part of their experience at The Connaught.
“People are always happy to be re-united with their belongings”
If people arrive by taxi, I’ll step out and put my hand at the top of the doorframe, so that they don’t catch their heads. And, once a guest has stepped out, I’ll take a quick look to make sure they haven’t left iPods, iPads or other personal items. People are always very happy to be re-united with their belongings.As the morning progresses, I’ll make sure the front of the hotel is tidy, brushing leaves in autumn, picking up stray bits of paper and so on. My view is at the heart of Mayfair Village, and over time I’ve got to know quite a few of the locals and shopkeepers. It’s a really friendly part of town, and I’m considering applying for the role of Mayfair Town Crier – if it’s ever advertised!
“I’m comfortable behind the wheel of most luxury cars”Each day brings different tasks, but there’s one I particularly enjoy. I’ve been a chauffeur in the past, and so it’s a real pleasure when I am asked to park a guest’s car. I’m comfortable behind the wheel of most luxury cars, but my favourite is the Ferrari 458 Italia. They’ve a very distinctive engine sound, and I can usually hear them coming from a few streets away. I’ve parked a couple already, and even though I don’t reach more than 30mph, it’s still a privilege.The habits of a doorman are very often hard to shake, and one day I was retrieving a car, in uniform of course, when a passer-by hailed a cab. As it pulled up, I reached and opened the door for them. They were really surprised, but I explained that it’s hard to avoid my doorman duties.
From the start of my day till the finish, my brain is always working, particularly to make sure that returning guests are welcomed back. I am quite formal, and even if a guest asks that I call them by their first name, I’ll stay formal. So, I welcome quite a few Mr Toms and Mr Peters. Remembering the names of our guests, especially those who are with us regularly, is a real challenge, but I am happy to say that so far I’ve welcomed everyone correctly. We have many different types of visitor here. From guests in the hotel, to wedding parties, and celebrities. I’ve even walked royalty to their car, arm in arm too. But what everyone gets, regardless of background, wealth or status is the same greeting, and the same level of attentiveness. So, even if I’ve said the words a thousand times in a week and I’m nearing the end of my day, I never get tired of uttering the words ‘Welcome to The Connaught’. It makes me very proud.
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The Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL +44 (0)20 7499 7070
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