Les Clefs d'Or (pronounced Le Clay Door & translated as The Golden Keys) is a worldwide professional association of hotel concierges with roots that can be dated back to 1929.

The hall porter or doorman of the time became the focal point of guest relations & customer service at many luxury hotels. It was during this time that the role of the concierge was created in the various grand hotels of Paris and Western Europe. This was the first time a role had been specifically created to assist guests with their requirements in unfamiliar cities. The concierge quickly became a popular & essential service in luxury hotels.

During the mid-1920s, there was a group of concierges from various hotels in Paris (including one from Algeria) who were trying to organise themselves with the guidance of Mr. Pierre Quentin from the Hotel Ambassador (Paris), which opened in 1928 & played host to a ceremony in honour of Charles Lindbergh’s cross-Atlantic journey in 1927. The following year, Paris welcomed another of today’s landmark hotels, such as Hotel Lancaster, The Prince de Galles and the George V.

On 26 October 1929, Mr. Quentin sent an invitation to 20 prominent concierges throughout Paris to dine at Restaurant Noël Peters in the hopes of strengthening the bond among them. The restaurant was located across the street from his hotel, in the Passage des Princes. With 11 in attendance, this dinner marks the first instance of professional hotel concierges meeting as a group.

Within four weeks, the new association was ratified at the first-ever General Assembly, with more than 75 delegates present. Mr. Pierre Quentin was elected the first President of Les Clefs d’Or on 27 November 1929, a post he held for three years.

Pierre Quentin’s presidency of Les Clefs d’Or was followed by François Dechaume, who was elected in 1932 and remained until the war. Mr. Dechaume was among the 11 who created the association. Sadly, there was no activity during the war as all the hotels, especially in Paris, were occupied by the Germans.

After World War II, Mr. Ferdinand Gillet, originally from Switzerland and the former Vice President to Mr. Dechaume, succeeded him as the new president of the organisation. Mr. Gillet started his concierge career in Paris as a Night Concierge at Hotel du Rhin in 1920.

The origins of present day Les Clefs d’Or as an international organisation have traditionally been credited to him, as during his presidency, Ferdinand Gillet travelled extensively throughout Europe to seek and find other hotel concierges.


The First International Congress

After much communication & several smaller meetings (including the initial multi-national meeting that took place in 1951 in Sierres, Switzerland), the gathering of the first six member sections took place on the historic date of April 25, 1952, at The Carlton Hotel in Cannes. This event gave birth to the Union Européenne des Portiers des Grands Hôtels, the international network as we know it today, and it was the very first multinational Congress.

Representatives from the French organisation were joined by prominent concierges from Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain & Ireland. Belgium & Denmark were observing countries, & Spain was an invited guest.

After the congress, each country represented was encouraged to go back and form a formal organisation in their respective regions based on the French model.

Today, our organisation has approx 4000 members in over 80 countries and 540 destinations.

Members are identified by the golden crossed keys on their lapels, these members are an elite fraternity, globally connected, committed to professional development, & driven to setting new standards for guest service perfection, our organisation is based on two pillars: Service and Friendship.

1952 Congress Invitation

April 25th 1952 Hotel Cannes

Commemorating Plaque

St Patricks Day 1977 Irish Section

Members Directory 1930