A CONCIERGE at a top Newcastle hotel who started out as a pageboy at the Park Lane Hilton in London has been picked as the best in his business.
After a career which has seen Dean Maddison answer the needs of the rich and famous at some of the UK’s leading hotels, the 41-year-old is a deserving winner of the Concierge of the Year Award for hotels outside London.
Maddison, currently head concierge at the Jesmond Dene Hotel in Newcastle, was backed by his bosses and guests at the luxury Jesmond Dene for the award from the Society of Golden Keys, which is the worldwide association of concierges.
He had to impress the judges with his unflappable resourcefulness in the line of duty, however difficult the guest or bizarre their request.
His resourcefulness seems boundless: he once booked airline tickets to the hottest place in Europe (Madrid) when Christina Onassis demanded an afternoon of sun while staying at the Park Lane Hilton.
“I’ve never been defeated by a request,” he said. “As long as it’s legal, I can get anything – though it may have a price!”
When asked about the VIPs he’s had to deal with, Dean laughs. “It’s easier to say who I haven’t met!” On his second day as a naive page boy, he met Prince Charles. It’s a roll call of royalty, rock stars, actors and writers, including Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duval, Salman Rushdie, Yoko Ono and Sarah Ferguson.
“The award is a fantastic achievement not just for me and for the hotel, but also for the city” said Dean. “Having just achieved our third rosette and now having been recognised again as having the best concierge service outside of London just continues to demonstrate the North provides food, service and hospitality as good as the South.”
Dean, who joined Jesmond Dene House in November 2007, was judged not only on reports from guests and colleagues but also had to give a presentation, have an interview and sit an exam before being short-listed down to the final two.
County Durham-born Dean has over 20 years’ experience as a concierge. After a spell in the Army, in 1986 he left Houghton-le-Spring where he grew up, to join the Park Lane Hilton as a page boy, the bottom rung in the concierge department.
He the worked his way up through the ranks of the Hilton hotel group.