[photopress:UIPGH_logo.jpg,full,alignright]Les Clefs D’Or is a sort of fraternity of concierges in up-market hotels. The members wear a pair of crossed golden keys in their lapel. There is no examination, no test to pass in order to join. It tends to be that a concierge at a top-market hotel will be invited to join by the other members.
The term concierge comes from the French Comte Des Cierge, The Keeper of the Candles, who tended to visiting nobles in castles of the medieval era.
Les Clefs d’Or (‘The Golden Keys’) was formed in France in the 1930s although that date needs pinning down and is somewhat suspect. More officially and provably on April 25, 1952, delegates from seven European nations met in Cannes to hold the first ever congress and create ‘L’Union Europeene des Portiers des Grands Hotels (UEPGH).’
The man who drove it forward was Ferdinand Gillet (then concierge at the Hotel Scribe, Paris) and he served as president of the association until 1968.
There are over 3,000 members in 33 countries. Members can be distinguished by the gold keys they display on their lapels.
Now a group of hotels in Shanghai can boast a member of Les Clefs D’or manning the desk of the concierge. They come from the Royalton Hotel, the Radisson Xingguo Hotel, the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Shangri-la Hotel Pudong and the Regal East Asia Hotel.