John Macarthur, concierge at The Vale Resort in Hensol, near Cardiff, has been accepted into The Society of the Golden Keys of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, a society of the UK’s most highly regarded concierges.
Entry to the society is an acknowledgement of John’s dedication to the hospitality industry. The sixty-four-year-old has been a committed member of the team at the award-winning 4* resort for nearly five and a half years and was accepted in June before receiving the prestigious pin badge this month at a London ceremony.
The Keys, as the Society is most commonly known, was established in London in 1952, to develop friendship among concierges and to help develop a network of contacts within the hotel fraternity.
John, from Magor, Newport, is one of only two Golden Keys members in South Wales. The assessment process involved submitting a letter of recommendation from the resort and an interview with a selection panel in London.
John was previously a steelworker for 34 years, before retiring from his management role. The father of two and grandfather of three says: “Since beginning working at The Vale Resort, I have aimed to achieve my keys. To become a member of the society, you have to have a minimum of five years’ service and to be nominated by two head concierges who are also members of the society.
“The assessment process is quite rigorous, but becoming a member makes that all worthwhile. I retired at 55 and couldn’t stay still. I have to have an active life and worked as a delivery driver. I delivered to the Vale Resort and when I was made redundant I thought what a fabulous place the resort was and how I would love to work there. I was lucky enough that a position became available.”
Fellow society members Peter Jones from Cardiff’s Hilton Hotel and Mark Hanks from The Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath mentored John throughout the application process.
The variety of John’s role at The Vale Resort includes everything from recommending local attractions of interest to guests to dressing as Santa at Christmas.
In addition to his wealth of experience at The Vale Resort, which is the highest rated 4* hotel in Wales according to a recent AA report and has also been voted the UK’s best large family-friendly hotel; John built up experience at the Royal Crescent Hotel. He says: “I worked there for two days, so Mark could ensure I was up to the level required. I love being a concierge and, as the first person visitors to the resort see, from the offset, I like to ensure that I’m here to help in any way possible and to facilitate anything any of our guests need. It’s great to work for an independent, family-run venture and to meet so many interesting people.
“Martine McCutcheon has visited as a wedding guest in Hensol Castle and Westlife, Jilly Cooper, Iris Williams, Sir Clive Woodward and Ian Rush have all been lovely guests. When a guest says what a special stay they have enjoyed here, it makes my job worthwhile. Sir Alex Ferguson was another great guest. I drove him and his wife around for a week while they stayed here. No two days are the same at the Vale Resort, making it an exciting and vibrant place to work.”
Paul Beddoe, Sales and Marketing Director at The Vale Resort said: “We are very pleased that John’s dedication to the hospitality industry and specifically The Vale Resort, has been recognised in this way. He is a valuable member of our talented team here and this acknowledgement demonstrates his commitment to excellent standards of customer service, for which we have become renowned here at The Vale Resort. This year has been a particularly fruitful one in terms of the awards and accolades the resort and our team has gained.”
For more information, please see: www.vale-hotel.com