Chief Concierge, Hotel Lutetia
Some people search their whole lives before finding their true vocation. Bastien Lalanne found it at age 20.
Born in Bordeaux into a wine-growing family and raised partly in Martinique in the French West Indies, Bastien came back to France in 1998 for university studies in English literature and took what was supposed to be a summer job at the relatively new hotel outside Paris. He found that the hospitality business was "really me–I loved it right away." When the summer ended, the head concierge told him he had done well and offered him a longer-term position as a porter. "The job I really want is yours," Bastien replied. The concierge chuckled: "Sign the contract, and let’s see where you go."
Bastien stayed for two years before moving on to concierge positions at luxury hotels in Paris and, finally, to the Lutetia, where he is head concierge directing a staff of 30 concierges, porters, and valets. What does he look for in a team member? "I don’t have a checklist–everyone is an individual," he says. "But you do have to be curious about everything. Things change so quickly, especially in a city like Paris. Our guests aren’t coming here to see tourist attractions; they are coming to see the real Paris, to have a unique experience. You need to stay on top of things to give guests the best information."