What are the golden keys that concierges wear on their lapels?
If you’ve ever been to an elite hotel, you might notice your concierge wearing a pin on their lapel: two crossed golden keys. If they were, they were part of a society called Les Clefs d’Or.
From founding to Golden Keys
Founded in 1929 in Paris, the association was organized so concierges could work together for their clients. Though it’s gone through various reorganizations since then, it remains a strong professional association with a notable symbol: that lapel pin you see on many hotel concierges’ coats. It wasn’t until 1953, however, that the society adopted the Golden Keys for their badge. In 1998, Swiss jeweler Bucherer created the official version you see on lapels. You can read a much more comprehensive history on their site.
What they do and how to join
National chapters are under an international umbrella with about 3,800 members total. The group vows to “accommodate every guest request so long as it is morally, legally, and humanly possible.” The concierge’s unique mix of hustle and discretion may have helped make the professional association strong. Members meet at conventions across the world.
So, what does it take to get the golden keys? In the USA, members of the American chapter have to be 21, have to have worked five years in a hotel, and worked at least three as a concierge before they can apply. Some chapters also administer a written exam that tests knowledge of wine, menus, airlines, florists, and general problem-solving. Start studying now.