Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
- Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7DR, England
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1996
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Chief Concierge, Four Seasons Hotel London in Park Lane
- Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England; Four Seasons Hotel London; The Regent, London; Kensington Park Hotel, London; The Grand, Brighton; The Lancaster, Paris; Imperial Hotel, Torbay
- Lancashire, England
- English, French
George Murray’s gig as head concierge of Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane was like starting over – in more ways than one. An effervescent presence at the longest-serving Four Seasons for nearly a decade, George departed London in 2005 to help launch Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire and ended up switching careers. “After three years, the concierge and guests services operations were running smoothly and I had the choice of returning to the city to seek a new concierge position or finding something in Hampshire until the Hotel reopened,” he remembers. “I thought it best to wait.”
The interim did him good. Joining Hampshire’s conference and catering team, George plunged into event planning with a focus on nuptials. The job tapped skills he’d honed in London, including a talent for multitasking and overseeing endless details. “I coordinated a lot of high-end weddings and the key was always the same: deliver whatever you promise the guest,” he says, echoing what might as well be the unwritten creed of the concierge.
While Buckingham Palace remains where it has always been, plenty else has changed since George last worked London. Last year’s hot restaurant may be this year’s must-skip, and new galleries, nightclubs and museum exhibits pop up all the time. Fortunately, Hampshire is just an hour out of town, so he hasn’t been completely out of touch. Still, George notes that the job of a concierge has changed over the past five years, with guests now seeking personal recommendations rather than information they can readily access on the Internet.
Charming, discreet and trustworthy, George was well known at the old London property, particularly for unflappability in the face of hundreds of daily requests. He also leapt at heroic missions, such as hopping the Eurostar for Paris to retrieve a misplaced laptop and handling the shipment of a rare bull’s…er, uh…genetic output to Buenos Aires before it expired. “Perfect training for a wedding planner,” he says with a laugh.
With his return for the Hotel's reopening in 2011, George was intent upon diversifying the new Hotel’s concierge team, adding female staff to what was previously an all-male bastion and seeking customer service experience outside of hospitality. “The city can be learned in good time, but a talent for communicating with guests is something you must bring.”
A confessed extrovert known to sing through the day – “Well, not too much; I don’t want to frighten the guests” – George pursued a lifelong passion for dramatics in Hampshire, where a lively amateur theatre scene had him tap dancing and singing in everything from Anything Goes to Phantom. Alas, such opportunities are rare in London. But, typically, George is unfazed: “I’m going to be so busy reopening the new Hotel, I’m going to have to put theatrics on the back burner for a few years.”