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Affectionately known as ‘Big John’ to his team, John Andrews, head concierge at the five-red-AA-star, 69-bedroom Goring hotel in London, is described by managing director David Morgan-Hewitt as “knowing London better than anyone else”, and as someone who will “go to extraordinary lengths to make a guest’s stay memorable”.
For example, he once found out the colour of a paint used in Buckingham Palace that a guest liked and had it mixed and sent to them in the US; he also arranged a ‘flash mob’ proposal with a band on a private capsule on the London Eye, all while keeping the future bride none the wiser.
Andrews joined the Goring following positions at the Berkeley and the Lanesborough. As part of his role, Andrews oversees a team of three other concierge, as well as the team of doormen and luggage porters, and takes
Andrews cares passionately about his team and will discuss their personal development with them regularly. In fact, due to his dedication to training, he has been asked to train employees at Gatwick Airport in the importance of customer care.
It is through Andrews’ support of the Goring’s apprenticeship scheme that he has taken apprentice Harry Sellick under his wing. After completing his first year as an apprentice, Sellick won Apprentice of the Year at the Purple Umbrella Awards.
Andrews has encouraged inter-departmental transfers and development and plays an integral role in mentoring and inspiring the students from the Hotel School, which the Goring runs in partnership with the Passage charity to teach homeless people the basics of hospitality and help them into full-time work.
He takes people into his department from the charity and helps train them so they can take these new skills into future employment.
He fully supports the Goring’s work experience programmes and often visits schools, colleges and universities throughout the country with the HR team. Over the past year he has assisted with more than 30 student placements from various schools and colleges.
Andrews is also an active member of Les Clefs d’Or and is regularly participates in staff social activities, encouraging his team to do so too (the concierge departmental cake in the Goring Bake-off came second this year).
He is involved in the Goring’s Employee Engagement Platform, and will often recognise staff from all departments, not just his own. He even treats his team to nights out and will personally buy them gifts.
In summary, ‘Big John’ is described as being “loved by all” and “a fantastic concierge who is a credit to and ambassador for our industry”.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
“John epitomises the guest care obviously required to lead the concierge team. His discretion and integrity is combined with excellent communication skills.” Lucy Gregory, deputy general manager, Radisson Blu Portman hotel, London
“John looks outside the normal job description of a concierge, giving back to the community and industry selflessly. He is well respected industry-wide and looked at as a leader in the concierge field, setting a great example for the next generation of concierges and promoting the profession to the younger generation, ensuring that it lives on.”
David Young, head concierge, Brown’s Hotel, London
John Andrews, The Goring, London
Zaneta Kalinaite, InterContinental London Park Lane
Jack McCarthy, Formerly at the Cavendish London
Dan McCaskie, Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living
2017 David Young, Brown’s hotel, London
2016 Anton Coburn, Rockliffe Hall, Darlington
2015 Alixandra Mellor, Charlotte Street hotel, London
2014 Burak Ipekci, South Place hotel, London