Photograph courtesy of The Montague
Having worked in the hotel industry for almost 40 years, Mustafa El'mari has been Head Concierge at the Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury for a decade. Our interview with Mr El'omair (the second in our Ask a Concierge series) reveals a seasoned professional who takes great pride in his work.
How long have you been in the hotel industry? How did you get your start?
I have been in the hotel industry for 39 years. I began at the tender age of 15. A student at the time, I completed my work experience as a 'Bus Boy' in the Stratford Court Hotel.
When did you start at The Montague and what do you like most about your job?
1999 was the year I started at the Montague.
There are so many aspects of my job which I enjoy. The interaction with our guests; the challenges that each new day presents in dealing with their various requests. But most of all, it is the sense of achievement and pride I feel when my team and I see and hear the numerous compliments from our guests (Trip Advisor, guest comment cards). Guest enjoyment and satisfaction is what I strive for and nothing beats the feeling I get when, at the end of their holiday/business trip, they leave the hotel with smiles all round and promises to return.
What sets your hotel apart from other nearby accommodation options?
What sets the Montague apart from other hotels? Quite simply SERVICE, SERVICE, SERVICE! From the moment you enter the Montague our guests are warmly welcomed and become our number one priority. They are acknowledged and recognised and this is continued throughout the duration of their stay. Unlike many other establishments where you are just a room number, every guest is a VIP at the Montague.
What should hotel guests know about the services offered by a concierge? Do people ever cross the line with strange requests or a complete misunderstanding of how you're there to help them?
My motto as concierge is 'Nothing is Impossible'. I think our guests need to know that no matter how unusual or quirky, no matter how seemingly impossible, the Concierge 'Can do and will do'. We will go that 'extra mile' to ensure our guests requests are met and will exceed all their expectations. From obtaining tickets to the show they say is sold out, a dinner reservation at the fully booked restaurant, planning travel arrangements, personal shopping expeditions the list is endless.
We are very open minded and non judgemental, so what might seem like a strange request to others, you can be sure that the Concierge has probably heard it all before, so I don't think of it as crossing the line. Our guests know that we treat each and everyone of their requests with the utmost confidentiality and discretion.
In your opinion, when's the best time to visit our fair city?
The festive season of Christmas is a fabulous time to visit London. The city celebrates Christmas with such style and London becomes even more vibrant than usual. There is just a general air of goodwill and happiness that this time of year brings. The Christmas lights are out in abundance, the shopping is second to none and if you take the time to go to St. Martin's In The Field you will be treaedt to a wonderful candlelit carol service.
Have any suggestions for an ideal visit to London?
Little Venice and Regent's Canal.
Mustafa El'mari's hotel is located at 15 Montague Street (WC1B 5BJ). Find the Montague online at www.montaguehotel.com.