The Capital’s Concierge

Andrew Van Der Hoeven. Photo courtesy of The Westin Ottawa. 

April 10 to 15, local Westin head concierge Andrew Van Der Hoeven will be heading to Dubai to compete against elite concierges from around the world.

Van Der Hoeven is representing Canada in the annual Les Clefs d’Or Congress, where he will be competing for the Andy Pongco Award, which honours the memory of a Clefs d’Or international honorary president. He’ll be up against 17 other hopefuls, who come from a pool of congress newcomers.

Ralph Fiennes in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ wearing the crossed key symbol on either shoulder. This symbol is almost identical to the ones you can find on Andrew Van Der Hoeven (above).

He is the only Ottawa member of Les Clefs d’Or, an international group of esteemed concierges also known as the society of golden keyed concierges. The golden keyed concierges are known for their vast knowledge and extraordinary service. They’re also the inspiration for the fictional ‘Society of the Crossed Keys,’ which appeared in the Oscar-Winning movie The Grand Budapest Hotel.

To become a Clefs d’Or member, Van Der Hoeven had to be nominated by two other people and pass rigorous testing on his local knowledge and skills. He passed it in 2013 and has since been trying to create a Clefs d’Or chapter in Ottawa.

“We are all so proud of the selection of Andrew to represent Canada for this prestigious international award,” says The Westin Ottawa’s General Manager, Ross Meredith. “While in Dubai with hundreds of other professional hotel concierges, Andrew will have the opportunity to invite people from all over the world to Ottawa and join us as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday celebration in 2017.”

The society of golden keyed concierges has more than 3,700 international members. It began as a French-only community in 1929, but opened its membership globally in 1952.