SUPERCAR hire, celebrity pampering, even arranging a white horse to trot across the top of Arthur’s Seat – all in a day’s work for top Capital concierges.
And they don’t come any better than Gavin Stirling, Head Concierge at Charlotte Square’s The Principal and newly crowned Concierge of the Year at Scottish Hotel Awards 2018.
The 40-year-old from Brunstane has been looking after the hotel’s guests for a decade.
“I’ve been working in hospitality for 18 years and I’ve loved every minute of it,” beams Gavin.
“One personal highlight would include arranging for a GT Continental or DB9 supercar to be delivered to the hotel. “Arranging a white horse to be on top of Arthur Seat so an American guest could take an epic photo and, of course, the many celebrities that have crossed my path during the last 18 years.
“There are far too many amazing stories, it’s impossible to pick one!”
Gavin moved back to Edinburgh in 2000, with no formal hospitality training and seeking a new opportunity.
He got his big break at the opening of The Scotsman Hotel in 2001 where he joined the concierge team.
“The job entails everything and anything,” enthuses Gavin. “From the daily tasks to extravagant gestures.
“Essentially I am here to manage the guest experience from pre arrival to departure. We strive to create the warmest welcome and fondest farewell but to also connect our guests with the very best experiences Edinburgh has to offer.
“We want our guest to feel special so we endeavour to add value at every opportunity which means building relationships with local suppliers and service providers. A typical day involves fulfilling guest requests for theatre tickets, dinner reservations, transport, shopping and sightseeing recommendations. I don’t see this as job, more a way of life – we genuinely live and breathe it every day.”
Gavin says a good concierge enjoys the variety of work and credits his “amazing” team and their varied skills set.
“Above all you really need to show empathy towards others,” he adds.
“You also need to bring an element of determination to the job and be able to provide solutions to the many challenges that guests can present to you.
“Being a good lateral thinker is important and having the ability to think outside the box – I always make sure we go above and beyond for every single guest that walks through our doors.”
On his recent award success, he says: “I was absolutely delighted - albeit in a bit of a shock! “There are so many excellent Concierges out there – especially in Edinburgh – so there are so many others who deserve a mention too.”
And how does an award-winning concierge celebrate? “I went straight home and had a good night’s sleep!”