As Chief Concierge of The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin, Thomas Munko always knows what happening in the city and how he can fulfill his guests’ wishes – however unusual they may be – to their satisfaction. Since 2014, the Berlin native has also been president of the association “Die Goldenen Schlüssel” (The Golden Keys), the only professional organization for concierges in the luxury hotel industry in Germany, and he was awarded the title of “European Concierge of the Year” in 2010.
With Fred Astaire and the song “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” the name of the famous New York hotel made music history. What’s the best way to fill tradition and reputation with life in the 21st century?
For us it means keeping up with the times and simultaneously not forgetting the guests’ expectations – naturally, they are different than in the last century and that’s why innovation and modern amenities are a must, even at a traditional hotel like The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin.
As a city, Berlin has an international aura. What brings Ritz-Carlton guests to Berlin and what does The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin offer them specifically?
Berlin is a very young and up-and-coming city with an omnipresent history. In recent years, the city has established itself as a benchmark for art, fashion, and design, and naturally this draws our guests as well. As a hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin reflects the authenticity of Berlin without compromising the charm of a grand hotel.
In addition to the Brasserie Desbrosses, The Curtain Club, and Tea Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton offers an unusual bar called Fragrances. How does the bar balance the art of mixing cocktails and the world of perfumes?
Our new bar offers outstanding drinks based on exclusive perfumes. Fragrances is the first bar dedicated to cocktails and the world of perfume and aromas. Balance is achieved by blurring the lines between the cocktails and perfumes with the effect that the perfume aromas and cocktail flavors harmonize and also make sense. Carefully selected fragrances by famous brands are the basis for these unique drinks. The goal is for the perfume and cocktail to have the same fascinating effect on the guest.
What values, attitudes, and professional ethics does a luxury hotel concierge need in order to be successful?
In luxury hotel business, it is definitely important that the concierge be excellently networked. You need to know your hotel, your city, and your guests, be discrete, professional, and genuine, and you need to be an ambassador of your hotel and of your career at all times. A certain amount of internationality is also important for our job. But, in my opinion, the most important thing is that service be the focus of our profession as concierges. If you have all of these requirements then you will be successful, have lots of fun, and make your guests happy.
What is the nicest compliment one can make to a Chief Concierge and a starred hotel?
The best compliment is when guests enjoyed staying with us so much that they want to return to The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin.