The Concierge with the Golden Key

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Arriving at the Concierge desk at Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, it is hard to miss the legendary golden key – an achievement proudly displayed, and with very good reason.

Les Clefs d’Or (translated as The Golden Keys) is an elite network of 4,000 hotel concierges that stretches across 80 countries and 530 destinations. Said to have "keys of gold," these exceptional concierges possess the knowledge, skills and contacts to open practically any door for their guests. In other words, they are the ultimate insiders in the world of travel and hospitality!

Chief Concierge Narain Rao has been a member of the Malaysian Hotel Concierge, affiliated to The Society of the Golden Keys Malaysia (the national chapter of Les Clefs d’Or), since 2021 – a recognition awarded to only a handful of candidates each year. In 2022, only three new members were accepted. Additionally, Narain is also part of the society’s executive committee, holding the position of Assistant Honorary Secretary.

Becoming part of Les Clefs d’Or is the holy grail for concierges around the world. Narain is the first team member from Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur to win this distinction, marking a milestone not just for himself but also for the property. As he notes, “Getting a chance to serve on the executive committee is nothing short of a dream come true.”

To ensure the highest standards of membership, the comprehensive testing process includes everything from references and work experience to interviews and written exams. Once admitted, members enjoy access to the international network of Les Clefs d’Or concierges, as well as a closely-guarded list of top vendors and organizations in Malaysian hospitality.

Along with access to these coveted resources, Narain also enjoys the daily privilege of wearing the Malaysian Key, a symbol of his remarkable concierge credentials. Crafted in collaboration with Royal Selangor International, the pewter lapel-pin combines a golden key with a hibiscus, the national flower of Malaysia. The hibiscus represents genuine Malaysian hospitality, while the golden key evokes expertise, discretion and the sacred bond between guest and concierge. In the Middle Ages, concierges in European castles and government buildings were known as the "keepers of the keys," a phrase that neatly summed up their crucial importance.

“As concierges, we make wishes come true, be it answering a simple query or facilitating a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” explains Narain. “Our role includes anticipating the guest’s requests, sometimes before they even know what they’re looking for.”

With its roots stretching back to 1929, Les Clefs d’Or enjoys a near-mythical status among luxury hospitality professionals. Officially registered as the Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hôtels (UICH), the association is headquartered in Paris, France.