Who knows what’s happening in a city better than a hotel concierge? As the point of contact for hotel guests seeking information or assistance during their stay, they need to be extremely knowledgeable about a great number of things, from where to eat to what is the current hottest play to see to where to get a fabulous blowout. It’s a tough, but rewarding job.
Each month, Inside Vancouver will get to know one of Vancouver’s top concierges, by putting six questions to them. This month, we interview Stéphane Mouttet, Chef Concierge at the award-winning Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver — a 119-room luxury boutique hotel that is strategically located in Vancouver’s vibrant city centre. It occupies the first fifteen floors of a 61-storey landmark building, which is currently the tallest in the city.
How long have you been a concierge?
I graduated from the International Concierge Institute in Paris in 1989 and started my first concierge position at the Gloucester Hotel in London, England. After a year of mandatory military service in France, I moved to Canada where I worked as a concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel, both in Vancouver and Toronto. I did not enjoy the weather in Toronto and moved back to Vancouver where I joined the Pan Pacific Hotel as the Senior Concierge. I am currently the Chef Concierge at the Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver – so to answer the question: 26 years in total.
What is your favorite part about being a concierge?
I am very social and love meeting new people. There is nothing more rewarding to hear at the end of a guest’s stay “Thank you for making my stay in Vancouver so wonderful”. It makes me feel like I have achieved my goal. I also really enjoy taking care of the requests from our residents at the Shangri-La Hotel. They definitely bring a different dynamic to the role of concierge. Many of them are well travelled and they often seek my advice and allows me to use my connections with many Clefs d’Or Members around the world.
What service do you provide that guests may never think of?
Sometimes people don’t utilize the concierge services to the fullest potential, or at all! Many leisure travellers will do their own research on the destination before arriving, and will not think to ask concierge for recommendations. Whether it’s giving directions to the city’s attractions, or helping make dinner reservations at a busy restaurant on a Saturday night, we are here to help with all our guests’ requests, all it takes is an ask!
What is the strangest request you’ve ever had from a guest?
It is difficult to choose one request; but one of the strangest request that I received while working at the Gloucester Hotel in London was to fill a room with sand. The family from Qatar was staying at the hotel for the whole summer and they rented out an entire floor and wanted to have a room for their kids to play, so we organised to have one of the room filled with sands so they can use it as their playground!
What is your favourite activity to do in Vancouver?
If it is a beautiful sunny day, the Eye of the Wind on top of Grouse Mountain is stunning.
Lesser known attractions include seeing the amazing skeleton of a massive Blue Whale hanging from the ceiling of the Beatty Biodiversity Museum at UBC or visiting the exquisite Bill Reid Gallery – a hidden gem in Vancouver. I also love exploring the local Farmers’ Markets in different neighbourhoods and chatting with local producers. It really makes me feel so connected to where we live!
Name three local restaurants that you enjoy dining at.
You will likely to find me in local restaurants. I really enjoyed The Parker, a vegetarian restaurant on Union Street in Chinatown – it has good food and has a great Vancouver vibe.
For more upscale dining, I really truly love the food at MARKET by Jean-Georges.
I also love Bishop’s in Kitsilano for its focus on local ingredients and the quiet and elegant ambiance where we can have a conversation.
Read the full article at Inside Vancouver.