History

UICH History

1976
May 09

1976

Canada was admitted as the 18th member section and the first country that took UIPGH Les Clefs d’Or to the next continent. Mr. J. Gillet from France became the president of the organisation.

1974
May 09

1974

Mr. A. Molero from Spain became the president of the organisation.

1972
May 09

1972

Mr. R. Burdeyron from Great Britain became the president of the organisation.

1970
May 09

1970

In 1970 in St. Moritz, with the addition of Israel, UEPGH Les Clefs d’Or (Union Européenne des Portiers des Grands Hôtels “Les Clefs d’Or”) changed its name to UIPGH Les Clefs d’Or (Union Internationale des Portiers des Grands Hôtels “Les Clefs d’Or”) to accommodate the organisation to reflect its growth and presence outside of Europe.

1969
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1969

Mr. O. Wirth from Switzerland became the president of the organisation.

1968
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1968

Mr. T. Godde from Germany became the president of the organisation.

1965
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1965

Greece joined as a member section.

1957
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1957

Austria, Norway and Sweden joined the organization as member sections.

1952
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1952

After much communication and several smaller meetings, the gathering of the first six member sections on the historic date of April 25, 1952, at The Carlton Hotel in Cannes took place, which was the birth of Union Européenne des Portiers des Grands Hôtels “Les Clefs d’Or” the international network as we know it today, and the very first international Congress. Representatives from the French organisation were joined by prominent concierges from Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, and Ireland. Belgium and Denmark were observing countries, and Spain was an invited guest. This allowed each country represented to go back and form a formal organisation in their respective regions based on the French model. This allowed each country represented to go back and form a formal organisation in their respective regions based on the French model. The members in Morocco, being a French protectorate at the time, although outside of mainland Europe were regarded as French members.  

1946
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1946

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 has traditionally been credited to him as during his presidency, Ferdinand Gillet, travelled extensively throughout Europe to seek and find other hotel Concierges.

1936
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1936

The headquarters of Les Clefs d’Or moved to its present location at 12 rue Cambon in Paris.

1930
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1930s

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. François Dechaume at his desk at Hotel Raphael        

1920
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1920s

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. The hotel opened in 1928 and played host to a ceremony in the honour of Charles Lindbergh’s cross Atlantic journey in 1927. The following year, Paris welcomed landmark hotels like 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 4 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.    

1800
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1800-1900s

The commonly used title, especially in France, was ‘Portier’ or ‘Porter’ in English. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the Concierge was, and still is, a title used for the caretaker in a building. The hotel porter or doorman became the focal point of guest relations and 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 and essential service in luxury hotels.

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