We had the pleasure to interview our dear friend Ronen Alkalay, Chef Concierge at David Intercontinental Tel Aviv and President of LCD Israeli. We asked Ronen to tell us what are the values a Concierge should possess, when his section was born and… the strangest request he has received from a guest that seems to be truly miraculous!
1) Ronen, in your opinion what makes a Concierge excel in his job?
In order to excel in his job a good Concierge should desire to help people, the passion of having curiosity and knowledge and above all patience and empathy: these are the main ingredients of our profession.
2) Can you tell us when your Israeli association was born, how many members do you have and which activities you carry out during the year to propose to your hotel guests?
The Israeli Association was created in 1970 by the founding father Mr. Alfred Kahn and since then hosted three International Les Clefs d’Or Congresses: 1974 Tel Aviv, 1986 Hertzeliya (a Resort city near Tel Aviv) and 1995 in Jerusalem, where all LCD presidents where invited to a cocktail reception at the President of the State of Israel official house. We have now 25 members in the most known and luxurious brands. Most of our members are located in Tel Aviv hotels and the second group of Concierge members are coming from Jerusalem. Once a year we have a National meeting where members from all over the country meet. Besides of this Congress we also have local meetings where we are invited to expose ourselves to newly opened spots such as: museums, galleries, restaurants, bars and other touristic attractions. All that help us to know those places and then after to recommend them to our guests
3) What was the strangest request you ever received in your career from a guest? Were you able to fulfill his/her request?
One of the strangest requests I received during my career was from a lady who stayed at our hotel for business meetings and on her last day before her departure flight came to our desk to ask for a special help. A lady who her niece had some problems in getting pregnant. She was trying for a long time – unfortunately with no success. She heard a story of the Milk Grotto (Crypta lactea) whereas a common belief states Mary’s breast milk was spilled into the ground while she was nursing Jesus and turned the grotto’s red-brown stones into a creamy white powder. The belief is that this rock powder, when blend with milk, it can help those who struggle with infertility. Apparently, she was trying for a few days to find her way to get to the Milk Grotto, unfortunately with no success. On the last day of her visit, she was already desperate. As her last hope – she approached our Concierge to check maybe they can assist and arrange the blessed rock powder for her, before leaving the same day afternoon. Niv had managed to contact an experienced tour guide – who had to rush out to Bet Lehem, used all of his charm and got the rock powder. Finally, he had met her at the airport and she got to take it back home to her niece. One year later… As a charm, miracles do happen in the land of milk and honey – her niece got pregnant!