Tom Wolfe, America's first concierge, honored

SAN FRANCISCO -- On December 15, Tom Wolfe, chief concierge of The Fairmont San Francisco, was recognized for his visionary achievement as the first concierge in the United States by Les Clefs d'Or USA and the Northern California Concierge Association at a special tribute hosted by the landmark hotel. 
The Fairmont San Francisco was the first hotel to offer the services of a concierge in the United States.  In the 1970s, Wolfe, who trained as a concierge in Europe, set up a concierge desk in the hotel lobby.  Because most Americans were not familiar with the concept, he placed a note explaining the concierge's role and the ways in which he could assist travelers in each guest room.  Wolfe later founded the US chapter of the international organization of hotel lobby concierges, Les Clefs d'Or, in 1978.
At the tribute, Wolfe explained, "By introducing concierge service to the United States, I feel that I have done what I was put on earth to do.  Ever since I was a little boy, I have always been enamored with grand hotels.  I am fortunate to have been able to follow my dream and realize my true calling."  
He continues, "As the first concierge in the United States, mine was a unique vantage point.  Having worked in Europe, I knew what was expected of a great concierge.  I was able to take this revered European tradition and inject with an American's 'can do' spirit."
Many of concierges attending the event credited Wolfe as their mentor in a profession that is now an industry staple at upscale hotels nationwide.
Thomas Klein, Regional Vice President and General Manager of The Fairmont San Francisco, comments, "Tom Wolfe is an integral part of the Fairmont legend.  He not only raised the bar for service excellence at our hotel but throughout the nation's hotel industry."  A plaque commemorating Wolfe's pioneering role in the hospitality industry has been placed at The Fairmont's front desk in perpetuity.
Note to Editors:  Attached please find a photo of Tom Wolfe, chief concierge of The Fairmont San Francisco, and Thomas Klein, regional vice president and general manager of The Fairmont San Francisco, with a plaque commemorating Wolfe's role as America's first concierge.  
Since 1907, The Fairmont has served as the San Francisco residence for US presidents and world leaders.  The hotel offers 591 newly renovated guest rooms and suites, three distinctive restaurants, a health club and easy access to the city's most popular attractions.  The Fairmont San Francisco is located atop Nob Hill at 950 Mason Street.  For reservations, please call 1-800-441-1414 or visit

A leader in the global hospitality industry, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is an extraordinary collection of luxury hotels, which includes iconic landmarks like Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Québec City, Fairmont The Norfolk, Nairobi and London's The Savoy, reopening in 2009. Fairmont hotels are one-of-a-kind properties where sophisticated travelers can discover culturally rich experiences that are authentic to the destination. Situated in some of the most exclusive and pristine areas in the world, Fairmont is committed to responsible tourism and is an industry leader in sustainable hotel management with its award-winning Green Partnership program. Fairmont's portfolio includes 56 distinctive hotels, with plans to develop over 25 new properties in the coming years in destinations as diverse as Shanghai, Morocco and Anguilla.  Fairmont is owned by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, a leading global hotel company with 91 hotels worldwide under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel brands. The company also manages Fairmont and Raffles branded Residences, Estates and luxury private residence club properties.  For more information or reservations, please call 1-800-441-1414 or visit


Tom Wolfe exemplifies The Fairmont San Francisco's dedication to providing exceptional service to its guests.  As the founder of Les Clefs d'Or in The United States, Wolfe introduced the European concept of concierge service to America in the 1970s.  With his traditional European training and American "can do" attitude, he feels that he offers the best of both continents to the hotel guest.

Wolfe's love affair with hotels began when he was a child.  His family traveled extensively and he soon became enamored with the ambiance of luxury hotels.  He appreciated their beauty and especially liked the feeling of "being looked after".  A native of New York, Wolfe traveled to Europe after graduating from American University in Washington D.C.  His first job was as chef de reception at The Ritz in London.  Here, he learned the gracious art of European innkeeping and the significance of a seasoned concierge.  He soon aspired to be a concierge but knew that many years of training stood between him and the coveted position.
In 1970, Wolfe began his apprenticeship with The Savoy Management Group at the exclusive Hotel Lancaster in Paris.  Just four years later, he returned to The United States to work as the country's first concierge at The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.  He worked with The Fairmont Hotel Company from 1974 to 1981.
Wolfe went on to become resident manager for The Boca Beach Club, part of The Boca Raton Hotel & Club in Florida.  In 1982, he returned to San Francisco as chief concierge at the Hotel Meridien (now The Westin San Francisco Market Street).
His pioneering spirit led him to become the first concierge in Japan.  From 1985 to 1989, he served as chief concierge and director of international guest relations at The New Otani Hotel and Tower in Tokyo.
In 1989, Ivana Trump appointed him executive chief concierge and director of guest services for New York's Plaza Hotel.  After working at The Plaza for four years, Wolfe returned to Asia to work as group concierge consultant for Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts.

Like Tony Bennett, Wolfe left his heart in San Francisco.  In 1995, he returned to The Fairmont San Francisco and, today, continues to exceed guest's expectations as the hotel's chief concierge.  Wolfe speaks English, Japanese, French, Spanish and Italian.