Tributes have been paid to Hugo de Castro, the head concierge at the Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa for the last 38 years, who was "the familiar smiling face that welcomed guests with a natural warmth and affection". He passed away aged 57 following a short illness.
De Castro arrived in Jersey from Madeira aged 12 to join his parents. After attending St Helier Boys' School, he worked at the Savoy Jersey for five years before joining the 123-bedroom Grand hotel.
In 2000 he joined the prestigious Les Clefs d'Or concierge society and was a finalist for Ambassador of the Year at the 2020 Pride of Jersey Awards. He also attended to the Queen when she visited the island for the 60th anniversary of the Liberation in 1995.
Simon Miller, regional general manager – Channel Islands at Hand Picked Hotels, said: "The entire team at Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa and I are very saddened to have lost our friend and colleague, Hugo de Castro, who just recently passed away after a short illness. Hugo was our beloved head concierge for over 38 years, and the familiar smiling face that welcomed guests with a natural warmth and affection.
"A member of the elite Golden Keys Society, Hugo was considered a true champion of the island and was a finalist for Ambassador of the Year at the 2020 Pride of Jersey Awards. Hugo was the epitome of the Grand and simply had a passion for creating guest happiness. We will miss him greatly and our thoughts go out to his family."
Giovanna Grossi, who got to know him through her work as an AA inspector, said: "In a long career in hospitality and many years of inspecting hotels and restaurants, I've been fortunate to meet so many amazing people in this industry, but few that genuinely touched my heart as much as Hugo de Castro. I was fortunate to first meet Hugo about 15 years ago on my very first trip to Jersey. He was kind, caring, a wonderful ambassador for the beautiful island and, of course, for his beloved Grand hotel, where he worked for 38 years.
"I can't put into words how sad I was to learn that he had passed away. I adored him and he was so kind to me over the years I knew him. He epitomised everything that makes our industry so special and was a great ambassador for the concierge profession and the Golden Keys. I will always remember the wonderful long chats we had and how he always asked about me when my friends and colleagues visited the Grand. Jersey will never be quite the same for me without Hugo's smile. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. RIP my lovely friend."