“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is an aphorism that many of us attempt to live by.”
Certainly, it’s a philosophy that The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s Les Clefs d’Or Concierge Raymond Wong has wholeheartedly embraced. For him, the words “work” and “job” do not apply to him. Rather, his chosen vocation is a passion, a reflection of his values that brings him genuine joy and purpose every day.
After experimenting with various professions in his hometown of Vancouver, Canada, Wong recognised his enthusiasm for interacting with people and sharing his knowledge of the city. He joined the hotel industry, where he could meaningfully engage with others through hospitality. “Communication and building relationships are very important to me,” he says. “When I see a smile, that’s the gratification, and if I contributed to that, that makes it
even more exciting. It’s fantastic when I can allow my guests to make pleasant memories.”
A lover of travel and a proponent of living mindfully, he has been a concierge at hotels across the world, including in Switzerland and Japan. His interest in travel has ensured his commitment to helping others enjoy their own vacations as fully as possible, and he regularly seeks out new learning opportunities and adventures. Recently, he went skydiving for a friend’s birthday.
“I always say I should try everything once,” he said. “Now I’ve had an experience that I can share with others, too.”
LES CLEFS D’OR
Part of building his extensive arsenal of experience and knowledge has been joining Les Clefs d’Or professional concierge association. Membership into the elite group requires a rigorous application process and a proven track record of excellent service.
“Of course there are certain expectations of a Les Clefs D’Or member,” Wong says. “I like to meet that criteria and, if possible, go beyond it.”
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman General Manager Marc Langevin praised Wong’s adherence to the tenets of integrity, continued learning and ambassadorship that Les Clefs d’Or asks of its members.
“In our quest to continuously provide exceptional levels of service and create memorable experiences for our guests, the experience and knowledge of our concierge is most instrumental,” Langevin says. “To achieve a Les Clefs d’Or status, a concierge must demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and a passion for learning. Les Clefs d’Or concierges are set apart because they constantly seek personal growth and professional knowledge, but they also have a mission to educate the guests on their destination to enhance their experience.”
ABOVE AND BEYOND
It’s not unusual for Wong to go the extra mile for his guests. After a couple casually mentioned that they were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, he organised a “wishing tree” with handwritten messages from Ritz-Carlton employees attached to its branches.
As it was their golden anniversary, he also included a bottle of sparkling juice (after learning that they were not alcohol drinkers) set in a bucket of golden-wrapped chocolates and candies. He researched significant moments in history that had happened 50 years ago, printed them on gold paper and included them with a card. He also framed a photograph of them taken in the hotel lobby and the whole arrangement was sent up in their hotel room with balloons as a surprise. None of this was requested of him; Wong simply wanted to help celebrate a couple’s happiness.
In other instances, he has ensured that fresh floral leis were flown in from Hawaii for a themed wedding, planned personalised menus for a client’s professional dinner guests and babysat a mother’s children so she could enjoy a relaxing spa day on her own.
“You have to think outside of the box,” Wong says. “That’s where the magic comes in, especially as a concierge.”
Wong’s commitment to fostering joy in others extends beyond the walls of the hotel. He has regularly offered to assist guests outside of his working hours and has built strong relationships with community elders whom he considers to be his adoptive family. He takes pride in the Cayman Islands, its culture and people, and enjoys sharing that love with visitors.
Not only does Wong authentically live by the “do what you love” slogan, he also encourages others, through the Ritz-Carlton and beyond it, to do the same by experiencing life to its fullest.
“It makes it all worthwhile to make people happy,” he says. “That’s why I don’t use the word ‘job.’ Sure, I’m on duty, but I truly love this.”