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Randolph concierge crowned UK’s best

William Thomson head concierge at the iconic Macdonald Randolph Hotel
William Thomson, 30, head concierge at the iconic Macdonald Randolph Hotel has been crowned as the UK’s Young Concierge of the Year by the elite global association Les Clefs d’Or.  
The Society of the Golden Keys (Les Clefs d’Or ) is the world’s premier association of concierges and only the very best are admitted. Identified by the Concierge Clefs d’Or keys they display on the collar of their uniforms, these are already the very best hotel concierges in the world, yet William has beaten stiff competition from London-based rivals to be awarded the title of UK Young Concierge of the year.


Scrutinised by a panel of judges, William was put through his paces with a succession of tests on his product knowledge, empathy, confidence, use of evolving technology and his understanding of international travellers’ needs. He also successfully passed a written exam on the history of the Les Clefs d’Or, international geography and hotel knowledge, before progressing to a final international panel presentation on his aspirations within the industry.  

William said: “This is a fun but rigorous competition; mystery shoppers tested me and interrogated my association and representation of Les Clefs d’Or. Joining this respected international group is recognition of a job well done, but to have won this prestigious award and be identified as the very best in the UK is a fantastic achievement.”  

William will now progress to represent Great Britain at the Les Clefs d’Or world congress in Berlin next year, where he will vie for the title as the world’s best young concierege. In addition to this, William will now be part of the panel that will rigorously test next year’s Young Concierge of the Year nominees.  

He added: “I am excited to be representing Britain and going head-to-head with the very best concierges in the world. At the Macdonald Randolph, we are the city’s only Golden Keys concierge team. As the head concierge, this attainment is a testament to the passion and dedication that the team give to each and every visitor to our hotel.”  

Michael Grange, Macdonald Randolph’s general manager nominated William, he said: “William is a worthy winner of the Young Concierge of the Year award. He is the youngest head concierge across the Macdonald Group’s 40 plus hotels and the youngest member of the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or. It is fitting that his dedication and comittment to providing the very best experience for our guests has been recognised. William is a true people person who goes out of his way to help others and is often named by our guests as making their stay special. I am excited to have him leading our team as we celebrate 150 years of excellent service.”  

Born in Germany on an army base, William moved to North Yorkshire where his obsession with service made him want to join the Guild of Butlers. He recounts: “I didn’t join the Guild, but did undertake a transformational catering and hospitality college course that led to an apprenticeship at the Manor Court Hotel in Carnaby. This led to me moving to join the Macdonald Group at The Macdonald Bear in Woodstock in 2006. After helping the hotel achieve its four-star status, I  eventually became their first concierge in 2008. In 2009 I transferred to the iconic Macdonald Randolph hotel – in my eyes the best hotel in the world. In 2012 I was awarded Les Clef d’Or  and in 2014 became the hotel’s Head Concierge.”  

The celebrations continued for William as he picked up the Editor’s Choice Restaurant of the Year for the Randolph Hotel’s Acanthus restaurant at the 2016 Oxfordshire Restaurant of the Year ceremony organised by The In Oxford Group, publishers of Living In Oxford Magazine.  

In presenting the acolade, Richard Rosser, Chief Executive of the In Oxford Group said: “Over the course of the summer I entertained approximately 100 customers at Acanthus. I was therefore able, first hand, to experience the excellent service, quality of food and exceptional value for money that Acanthus offers. I was also able to personally witness the evolution of the restaurant, following the traumas of last year’s fire, into a busy, vibrant establishment providing a first class option for tourists, hotel guests, students and businesses.”  

These awards come in the year where the iconic five-star hotel celebrates its 150th birthday, just over a year after the hotel survived what could have been a devastating fire. General manager Michael Grange said: “It is a privilege to manage such a landmark hotel and welcome tens of thousands of guests from all over the world. The Randolph has long been the top choice location for famous faces – from royalty such as King Alfonso of Spain to politicians including President Clinton, and actors such as Hugh Grant to authors including Colin Dexter, the writer behind the famous Inspector Morse books which were often filmed in the hotel.  

“Whether an international celebrity of not, everyone at the Macdonald Randolph Hotel gets the star treatment from the moment they are greeted by William and his team at the door and long may this tradition continue.”

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