Category Archive : news

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to join us on Tuesday, December 11th, for our annual gala and silent auction to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation.  An elegant evening of dinner, dancing, and awards awaits you at the Crystal on the corner of Santa Monica and Fairfax in West Hollywood.

Tickets available here:  https://lacagala.eventbrite.com

Dress to impress in your black tie finest.

We are delighted to invite you to join us for the California Concierge Symposium to be held on Tuesday, October 2nd, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  This will be a day of education not to be missed as we host colleagues from throughout the state along with guest speakers covering a diverse range of topics to designed to further develop your hospitality and service skills.  The evening will conclude with a rooftop soiree and networking showcase on the rooftop of Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood for the Los Angeles Concierge Association Expo where you will expand your network to include restaurants, attractions, and companies from throughout Los Angeles.   

The greatest asset to a concierge is your community and network.  These unique connections are what will continue to set us apart from whatever a guest can accomplish on their own.  The opportunity to personally introduce a mutual guest to a friend in a neighboring city, the genuine camaraderie throughout the profession, and the desire to go above and beyond in service through friendship will all set you apart from everyone else.  We look forward to welcoming you to Los Angeles for a series of events to enhance your skills, knowledge, and network at the California Concierge Symposium.

Get your tickets today at https://californiaconciergesymposium.eventbrite.com!

The Society of the Crossed Keys has reunited for the 65th annual International Les Clefs d’Or Congress in Seoul!

Hotel concierges from around the world are attending the 2018 Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hotels Congress in Seoul, South Korea.  This year’s educational summit featured incredible guest speakers Gerry Inzerillo, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide, Gareth Long, Director of Operations Support, Australasia & Japan, IHG, Andrew Pirret, Director, Operations Mobile Services – Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and Neuroscientist Dong-Seon Chang.

In addition to a truly inspirational series of educational speakers and presentations Les Clefs d’Or revealed a brand new website!  Here you will find a fantastic resource to learn everything about the concierge profession, read Les Clefs d’Or newsletters from around the world and find travel inspiration and recommendations on where to eat, where to stay, and what to do in destinations around the world!

A huge congratulations to Jennifer Brody, Peninsula Chicago, announced winner of the Young Leader’s Award!  This massive career accomplishment and well-deserved award is presented annually to the most talented young concierge after a challenging series of tests, interviews, and networking (it’s basically the concierge Olympics).    Jennifer’s win marks a two year streak for the USA after Jess Gorman brought home the gold last year following in Sarah Dandashy’s footsteps two years before.  Talk about girl power!

Attending an International Les Clefs d’Or Congress is a something every hotel concierge should do at least once in your life – and the sooner the better!   There is something truly magical that happens when concierges from diverse backgrounds are brought together, united by a shared passion for service and bonded by the unique nature of the profession.  The energy is electric, a palpable eagerness to learn and network, and a room of hospitality oriented friends that turn quickly from strangers into family.

You can recognize a Les Clefs d’Or Concierge by the shiny, gold keys on their lapels.

 

Are you thinking of applying for Les Clefs d’ Or?  If so, here are some things you need to know:

There are two websites that will become a great resource for you:  http://www.lcdusa.org/, our United States website, and http://www.lesclefsdor.org/, the UICH (Union International des Concierges d’ Hotels) website.  Once you are a member of the United States section, you are automatically a member of the International Les Clefs d’ Or family.  Both websites have great tools to help you in your quest to get your “Golden Keys”. 

We are lucky in the LA Concierge Association to have many members who are also members of Les Clefs d’ Or.  Please take this time to meet and really get to know as many Les Clefs d’ Or members as possible.  When it does become time to apply, your Les Clefs d’ Or friends in LA and ultimately around the country are all asked for their constructive input about you. 

Some basics to keep in mind before you apply are as follows:

  • You must be at least 21 years of age and active in the LACA and or local community.
  • You must be employed by a hotel or resort hotel which has a transient clientele as a full-time hotel lobby-level concierge for a minimum of five years. 
  • The desk must have a sign that includes the word “concierge.”
  • The final year prior to applying for membership must be worked continuously as a full-time hotel lobby concierge.
  • Concierge working on VIP floors and who are not available to the whole hotel’s transient clientele are not eligible.
  • You are also asked about any volunteer work which while not mandatory, does look great! So please make some time to give back in any way you see fit.

Applications are processed quarterly.  Submission deadlines are 5:00 pm Eastern time on March 1st, June 1st, September 1st and December 1st.  It takes about three months or more to get through the entire process. Before you apply there is an online checklist that you must fill out for the Director of Membership.  Assuming you do qualify, you will then be sent an application which must be filled out entirely and ultimately notarized in parts.  You must have Les Clefs d’ Or Sponsors who really know you well.  Ideally they will come to your hotel to see you in action and to see how AWESOME you are! They will also double check that your desk has proper Concierge signage.  Your sponsors will be instrumental in mentoring you along the way. 

There will be a $100 non refundable application fee.  You will need a letter of reference from your General manger in addition to letters confirming employment as a hotel lobby concierge for at least five years from a Human Resources manager.  Both the General Manager’s letter and HR letter must be dated within three months of your application.  If you have had other employment in between, those can be included but are not necessary. You will need a business card and a picture of you at the concierge desk in uniform or work suit with the sign concierge included.  Also, if you have switched properties recently, you will need at least one year of continuous service at your current hotel before you can apply.

Once your application and fee have been submitted to the Director of Membership and are all in good order, the membership committee of Les Clefs d’ Or USA processes your application. There will be a telephone interview that you know about and a secret test call which you must pass and follow up on.  This last part is very important as if you do not follow up on your secret test call no matter how great the call went, you will not pass. There is verification of past employment as a concierge going back five years, verification that your sponsors really support you, and verification of how your immediate supervisor feels about you.

Les Clefs d’ Or Concierge in the Los Angeles area are called to get a minimum of three great, definite, recommendations for membership into Les Clefs d’ Or USA. Once processed the Board of Les Clefs d’ Or will ultimately decide if you are ready yet.  While this is all happening, there will a lengthy written test which you will be given a strict deadline to complete.  The test is designed to have you reach out and we are here for you!

If accepted in Les Clefs d’ Or your membership initiation fee will be $325.  Annual dues are $275 a year after your year of probation as a provisional member.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at dvondran@sheratonuniversal.com or lcdliaison@thelaca.com

Best of LUCK in the application process!

In Service through Friendship,

“Dai”  Daisaku Vondran

Concierge Sheraton Universal Hotel  • Member, LA Concierge Association • Member, Les Clefs d’ Or USA

LA Concierge Association 2018 Les Clefs d’ Or Liaison

This year the Los Angeles Concierge Association is excited to present the “Year of Wellness” with a focus on health and beauty, exploring the many fitness classes and unique outdoor activities Los Angeles has to offer in addition to providing continued education and networking opportunities for our members.  If you have an idea or a venue you would like to promote to our concierge community please email president@thelaca.com.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

The Los Angeles Concierge Association is pleased to present your 2018 Board of Directors:

Kalindra Ashleigh, President • president@thelaca.com

Timothy DeRodeff, Vice President • vicepresident@thelaca.com

Frank Parr, Secretary • secretary@thelaca.com

Rozie Bacchi, Treasurer • treasurer@thelaca.com

Mark Peterson, Director of Membership • membership@thelaca.com

From left to right:  Frank, Rozie, Kalindra, Timothy and Mark

Photo Credit:  Timothy Fielding

Are you ready for an elegant evening of dinner, dancing, and entertainment?  We are very excited to invite everyone to join us at this year’s Gala to be held at the Carondelet House on Monday, December 11th.  You won’t want to miss this delightful evening and opportunity to bid on the incredible packages in our fourth annual silent auction to benefit Make-A-Wish!

If you would like to donate something for the auction please email president@thelaca.com.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting https://thelacagala.eventbrite.com

Black tie with a Twenties twist • Tickets required for admission

By Tim DeRodeff, Hotel Casa del Mar

Santa Monica is a beachfront city in Western Los Angeles County. It is bordered by the Pacific Palisades and Malibu to the north, Sawtelle and Brentwood to the east, and Venice to the south. It was named after the Christian saint Monica, rather arbitrarily, and was officially incorporated as a city in 1886. It is about 8.3 square miles in radius. National Geographic ranked Santa Monica as one of the “Top Ten Beach Cities in the World” – putting Santa Monica in a class with Barcelona, Sydney and Rio de Janerio.

Favorite Lunch

Bay Cities Italian Deli: This traditional Italian deli is home to what is arguably the most iconic sandwich in all of Los Angeles, “The Godmother.” Stacked with salami, prosciutto, ham, and provolone on a delicious hand-made roll, this sandwich is not to be missed. Bay Cities is the perfect place to put together a picnic basket for the beach, which is only a few steps away.

Coast (Shameless plug): One of the only restaurants in Santa Monica located directly on the beach, Coast, at Shutters on The Beach Hotel offers classic seafood and American fare with the option to sit outside on their gorgeous patio. It’s the perfect place to relax and watch the waves roll in and out.

Favorite Dinner

Cassia: Santa Monica is lucky to be home to some of the most exciting restaurants in the country, and Cassia is definitely one of them. Offering a unique take on the flavors of Southeast Asia combined with a Californian, farm-to-table sensibility, Cassia has already reached wide critical acclaim even though it is fairly new. They too offer an expansive outdoor patio.

Mélisse: One of the few Michelin Star restaurants in Los Angeles, Mélisse continuously pushes the envelope with innovative take on traditional French cuisine. Yes, one meal can cost you up to $400, but they promise it will be a meal you never forget.

Favorite Stores and Shops:

Santa Monica has three unique and equally great shopping districts within its radius. The first of which is located in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica. The Third Street Promenade sits directly north of the famous Santa Monica Pier and offers three open-air blocks of shopping, dining, and even street performance. Between the Promenade and the Santa Monica Place, a more traditional mall which anchors to the south, there are over 100 shopping destinations.

Most tourists will be comfortable at the Third Street Promenade, but for those looking for a more unique shopping experience, Montana Avenue to the north and Main Street to the south are both great options. Both districts offer more of a boutique shopping experience, with Montana Avenue being a bit more upscale, and Main Street being a bit more local.

Popular Tourist Attractions

At over 100 years old, The Santa Monica Pier is one of the most popular landmarks in Los Angeles. The Pier is home to Pacific Park, a family-friendly amusement park that consists of carnival rides, arcade games, and a state-of-the-art, solar paneled Ferris wheel. It is also home to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, and a trapeze school. During the summer, the Pier is the venue for the Twilight Concert Series, a weekly outdoor event featuring musical acts from all over the world.

Hidden Gems/Do Not Miss

Bergamot Station: a facility housing over 40 galleries and creative businesses

The Original Hot Dog On a Stick: grab a dog beachside at the original Hot Dog On A Stick, opened in 1945

Go To The Farmer’s Market: Santa Monica offers four weekly farmer’s markers featuring fresh produce, flowers, cheeses, meats, seafood, and more

Take the Train: The Expo Line is one of the most exciting new additions to Santa Monica. Offering direct access to and from Downtown Los Angeles in about 45 minutes, the Expo Line has made it a lot easier to enjoy the day at the beach without the hassle of waiting in traffic.

 

Calling all hospitality professionals! It’s time to get your ticket for our annual showcase of everything Los Angeles has to offer our guests and hospitality community! Please join us for our annual Los Angeles Concierge Association hospitality trade show and expo and network with a variety of vendors, restaurants, and colleagues from throughout the city. This year’s theme is “Around the World in 80 Days” and we encourage everyone to either dress to represent their cultural heritage or embrace your inner steampunk traveler!

You must be at least 21 years old to attend this event.

$15 in advance, $20 at the door • All industry professionals welcome • Cultural attire encouraged
Get your tickets today at https://2017lacaexpo.eventbrite.com

If you would like to highlight your business or restaurant to our hospitality community by participating in the Expo, please contact President@thelaca.com for details.

A Local Exploration by Josue Ticas

This neighborhood is centered around Sawtelle Blvd. The main area is Sawtelle Blvd. between Santa Monica Blvd. to the north, and Pico Blvd. to the South. Parts of the area are an incorporated district within the great City of Los Angeles, and one area is an unincorporated area that is by definition not a part of the city of Los Angeles. From 1899 to 1922, it was its own independent municipality called Sawtelle. This area has a large Japanese population. Many Japanese families moved there due to other communities including Westwood and Brentwood, not being very inclusive at that the time. Now it is a vibrant little community with many Japanese businesses. To many people it is known as Sawtelle, or Little Osaka (to differentiate itself from Little Tokyo), and it 2015, the city placed signs welcoming people to Sawtelle Japantown.

Favorite Lunch Recommendation: I love Japanese Curry, so Hurry Curry of Tokyo is one of my favorites. It is very casual, but it is sort of a comfort food for me. My favorite is the Chicken Cutlet Curry, which is a piece of fried chicken breast fried, and served with rice. and their famous curry. They also serve beer, and sake, and their Lychee “saketinis” are pleasant.

Favorite Dinner Recommendations: Seoul House of Tofu is one of my favorite places period because it specializes in Soondubu jjigae or Soft Tofu Soup in Korean. It comes served with banchan or side dishes. My favorite is the beef served mildly spicy. The spiciest option can be quite deadly. They do serve beer, and also Korean soju which is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Korea. The do not take reservations, and often there is a long wait, sometimes even 45 minutes to an hour. Kiriko is an excellent sushi restaurant that consistently ranks atop the best sushi in the city. It is a cozy restaurant, and is not particularly flashy, but the quality is there. An omakase menu is also available, and the unpretentious restaurant is a great choice for any sushi lover. It is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, dinner only on weekends, and closed on Mondays. Beer, Sake, Shochu, and wine including champagne are served.

Popular Tourist Attractions: That strip of Sawtelle Blvd, itself is somewhat of a tourist attraction. One can find many Japanese restaurants, a Japanese supermarket, a Japanese type of dollar store, karaoke, bookstores, and other Japanese cultural businesses. There are also 2 Korean tofu restaurants, and other establishments.

Favorite Coffee, Stores, Shops – Of course Starbucks has a location on Sawtelle, but many people choose Coffee Tomo which is a hand drip specialty coffee shop. Tomo means friend in Japanese, and serves great lattes. My personal favorite is Beard Papa which is a bakery from Japan known for its cream puffs of which my favorite is the Macha or Green Tea Cream Puff. BlackMarket is an awesome local boutique founded by Jisook Lee. Her store has a fun edge to it, and sells both men’s and women’s clothes. Sneaker aficionados can also appreciate BlackMarkets unique collection. They also sell unique and whimsical accessories, jewelry, and just over all fun knick knacks. Nijiya Market is a small Japanese super market that is not to be missed. Who doesn’t love Japanese confectionaries, and snacks! The candy, and snack aisle always has me fascinated.

Hidden Gems: Furaibo is not particularly hidden, but can be overlooked. It is a traditional Japanese tavern or izakaya. The food is served in a small shared format, and some parts of the izakaya have the traditional tatami floor. It is not a trendy establishment, but it can be a fun option. I love the onigiri or rice balls wrapped in seaweed. LOVE. To be honest I often consider the whole neighborhood a hidden gem.

Tips, Tricks, and do not miss: One can spend all day here! Tsujita LA always has a line out the door, and is sort of a mini scene known for its ramen. It has been mentioned in Jonathan Gold’s 101, and serves artisan noodles! There are so many little specialty establishments like the Blockheads Shavery which is inspired by Taiwanese “snow cream”, Seoul Sausage Co which specializes in Korean sausages, Mizu 212 which is a Shabu Shabu which is where one dips thinly sliced meats in large pots of boiling water, and more. Not all businesses here are Japanese. Some have nothing to do with Asia period such as Plan Check which is known for its burgers and craft beers! Definitely go in hungry, and immerse yourself in this vibrant little community. Many restaurants do not take reservations, so be prepared for long lines. UCLA is not too far, and one often sees college students around. Parking can be a challenge so prepare for street parking. The area is filled with casual, quality, and delicious dining establishments, and it is certainly a fun place to visit in the City of Angels.

Thank you to all our members running for the 2017 Board of Directors! We look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday, November 16th, at The District for our November Elections Meeting.

The candidates are:

PRESIDENT
Kalindra Ashleigh, Beverly Wilshire
Joyce Louie, Montage Beverly Hills

VICE PRESIDENT
The position of Vice President will be appointed by the Board of Directors and approved by a majority vote of members at the next business meeting.

SECRETARY
Josue Ticas, Montage Beverly Hills

TREASURER
Michael Belasco, Sixty Hotel

DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP
Tim DeRodeff, Hotel Casa del Mar
Mark Peterson, Montage Beverly Hills

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