At LUXit, we strive to provide our clients with only the most exceptional experiences. We are privileged to work with amazing people who endeavour to do the same, including the Concierge team at Australia’s most luxurious hotels. This week, we had the honour of speaking with James Nobleza, the Chief Concierge at The Langham Sydney, one of Sydney’s top 5-star hotels. With over 20 years of experience, we are grateful for James’ expertise in delivering exceptionally high-standard customer service and for trusting LUXit with their Guests.
What prompted you to start a career in the hotel industry?
When I was a teenager, my family and I travelled to the USA, and we stayed at the Westin Bonaventure in LA. I befriended the hotel concierge who wore the Golden Keys. I was both fascinated and intrigued by him. He was tall and well-spoken, and we had a great conversation about his city. Fast forward a few years and the Sydney Olympics was coming up. I wanted to work in a luxury hotel and have the opportunity to showcase my city to all the international travellers. Interestingly, I got my first opportunity at The Westin Sydney in 1999 (now The Fullerton Hotel).
Describe a typical day at The Langham:
A typical day at The Langham starts long before I put my uniform and keys on. I read several news outlets to see the headlines, make my way to my desk, check my emails, review my arriving guests, functions, and special notes, and ensure that my lobby is flawless. We are great at communicating this to the greater team. Beyond that, we are at the guests’ disposal.
What aspect of your job do you most enjoy?
The most enjoyable aspect of my role is that my team and I are the faces and first impression of the hotel. We take that responsibility very seriously. Providing a positive, consistent, and warm welcome takes a lot of professionalism, dedication, and teamwork. That, along with training/mentoring the next generation of hoteliers are my biggest joys. Outside of the day to day joys, I am a member of the Les Clefs d’Or, and meeting and sharing stories and best practices with fellow like-minded Concierge professionals is also very special. My Les Clefs d’Or peers are a wealth of experience, and it is wonderful to pick their brain and implement this knowledge to The Langham.
What’s the most challenging aspect of being a concierge?
As a Concierge, there are many moving parts to running an efficient shift. We are frequently organising multiple guest requests simultaneously. These can be challenging but also very rewarding when the guest plans are organised seamlessly and without fault.
What keeps you motivated and inspired?
What a great question. One of our Langham values is ‘Better Every Day’. That value inspires me. It’s the hunger for Service Excellence and learning from yesterday. Not just of myself but the team. What motivates me is two-fold. Professionally, I like to think of myself as a Service Purist. A guest deserves the best of me daily and within every single interaction. Personally, what motivates me are my children. I teach them that no matter what they choose to do in life, they should work hard and try to be the best at that role they can be. As a dad, I have to lead by example.
As a member of Les Clefs d’Or Australia, what do you believe are the top qualities needed for someone to be a concierge?
I am absolutely thrilled to be a Les Clefs d’Or Member. I think the non-negotiables of being a good Concierge are attention to detail, dedication to the craft, a good memory, and a sincere want to serve. Whilst we do an 8-9 hour day at the hotel, a Concierge never really switches off. We try to stay at the forefront of Sydney information. The city is constantly evolving, and staying abreast of that is something we do well. Les Clefs d’Or members are great information sharers, and so we learn from each other.
What is your favourite spot in Sydney?
Ohhhhh I have many favourite spots in Sydney. Whether being on a boat/ferry or at a harbourside bar/restaurant. Enjoying Sydney’s spectacular harbour will always be a favourite. Beyond that, I love going to the Sydney Fish Markets. I love the variety of seafood available and the general hustle and bustle of a working market.
What advice do you have for those interested in getting into the industry?
My advice to people interested in getting into the hotel industry is… enjoy the adventure. Many people will say that the Hospitality sector is challenging (shift work, working weekends, etc.). Think of the positives. The variety of your day, the interesting people you meet, and the teams you work with. It makes waking up easier each morning. Knowing your days often won’t be the same.