#5StarsChallenge Week 18 Finale

Every week, our colleagues will demonstrate a special talent and then challenge a sister hotel to do the same. Here comes to the end.

[Week 18] Have you ever watched any movie about Mahjong? There are many different kinds of tiles in the game. Our colleague at Aberdeen Marina Club could tell the tiles just by touching it! How amazing!

Concierge of the Year – Colin Toomey

Since 1995, Colin has been greeting guests and making their journey great at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney. He is a consummate professional and was awarded the well-deserved prestigious title “Concierge of the Year” at the Hotel Management Awards.  In this interview, he shared with us how he has been able to excel in his role for almost two decades and told us a heartwarming story at work!


Congratulations for winning “Concierge of the Year”! How do you feel about it and can you share your secret in winning such a prestigious award?

It was a great personal honour winning the award but more importantly it demonstrated the support and commitment that Shangri-La has for the Concierge profession. For myself and my colleagues to be able to provide the highest level of Concierge services to our guests, we obviously require the necessary resources and training. Shangri-La has always recognized the importance of having an experienced and dynamic Concierge Department in the lobby and I think that in receiving this award we have justified the time and effort that has gone into building a very strong team.

You have been with Shangri-La for 21 years! What motivates you to stay?

Unlike some other positions in the Hotel the role of Concierge is very much dependent on the relationships you have built up over a long period of time. Working for a prestigious hotel group, such as Shangri-La, has allowed me to develop a wide network of contacts which in turn makes it easier for me and my team to provide the very best of service to our guests. I’m not sure if I would have had that same opportunity elsewhere. Having been with the property for so long, I also feel a real attachment to the people I work with. I am only one of a number of long serving employees here in Sydney and over the years you develop a special bond with these people. It is also very rewarding to be recognized as the “Face of Shangri-La” and that comes from having been an integral member of our front line team over so many years.

In your opinion, how did Shangri-La develop or change over the years?

I think one major change has been our focus on welcoming and caring for our guests like family. It is one thing to provide friendly and efficient service but to take that to the next level and really embrace the concept of family is something quite unique. It is also a much larger hotel group now than when I first started. There has been considerable growth over the last few years which is very exciting for us. With this expansion comes an opportunity for colleagues who would like to further develop their careers in different cities and countries across the world. I have had a number of colleagues from Sydney who have been lucky enough to travel overseas to continue their development with Shangri-La Hotels.

Can you describe how you have been able to utilise your talent at Shangri-La?

Working on a busy Concierge Desk certainly has its challenges but that is what makes the job so appealing. Because of the varied nature of the role I have to have an intimate knowledge of our city and that I think that comes from experience. I like being organized and that is definitely a prerequisite in managing a large department. I’m constantly learning in this role as well so being receptive and inquisitive is also quite important and something that I’m very conscious of. Developing the younger staff in my department is also quite rewarding and something that I enjoy a great deal.

 What makes you proud of being a part of the Shangri-La family?

Shangri-La Hotels are recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious hotel groups so it gives me a great deal of pride to be a part of the team. Because we all share a common goal of being the very best we can I think it builds a unique bond amongst our colleagues which is quite special. Apart from working closely together there is also a wonderful social aspect to being a part of the Shangri-La family and that also brings us closer together.

Being a Chief Concierge you must have many stories to tell. Can you share with us one of the most memorable stories at work?

I have had the pleasure of dealing with some very interesting guests over the years and some of them leave an indelible impression on you. Only recently I had a young Spanish couple staying at the hotel who required some special attention. The couple was on their honeymoon but just prior to arriving in Sydney the husband injured his leg quite badly in a horse riding accident and was hobbling around on crutches. What should have been a joyous occasion for them was marred by this terrible inconvenience and they were quite despondent. I sat down with them on arrival and we carefully revised their itinerary to include as many activities as possible given their circumstances. I was able to book them on a helicopter joy flight, a private harbour cruise and even a special wheelchair tour in the Sydney Opera House. Rather than limiting their opportunities we explored options they had never even considered. Through creative planning I was able to turn their pessimism into optimism and they left Sydney with renewed vigour and some wonderful memories. For me that was one of the most rewarding guest experiences I have ever been involved in.

[Part1] Mercy Mission Team at Shangri-La’s Fiji Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island

Maurice FaheyHere is a short brief of my first trip to Salialevu & Ura Estates (belonging to Shangri-La) on the Island of Taveuni as a CSR volunteer, part of Post Cyclone Winston “Mercy Mission Team”.

We left on a Monday morning 29/02/16 to board the ferry from Suva to Taveuni. It was a 20-hour trip stopping off also in Koro and Savusavu. I really couldn’t imagine the level of damage and also the living conditions of the people in our two estates in Ura and Salialevu. Continue reading “[Part1] Mercy Mission Team at Shangri-La’s Fiji Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island”

Which Personality Type are You?

Are you Sensitive? Logical? Talkative? Emotional? Risky? Agreeable?

Sometimes, we learn descriptions of ourselves from people around us. But are the descriptions totally true? Have you ever doubt about others’ comments? Here is a chance for you to understand yourself more. Click here for a free online personality test.

Remember – There’s no perfect personality! Being an introvert is nothing worse than an extrovert. Different types of people have different strengths and shortcomings. What we have to do is to understand our own weakness so we can make better career choices and life decisions.



003 memory – Udaya Thapa


Year 2015 was very memorable year for me and my classmates who had just completed 3 years of study in the University. After completing the hospitality management course, 14 classmates and I got an opportunity to join Shangri-La’s Sanya Resort & Spa, Hainan as an internship trainee. As it was our first time to travel abroad, going to be far from our family, friends and relatives, every body was quite upset and nervous. Once we reached Shangri-La’s Sanya Resort & Spa, Hainan, all of us were very surprised to be welcomed and treated as family members. The friendly and helpful behaviour of all Shangri-La colleagues made our days easier. We had never assumed that our one year would pass so quickly.

Finally, we completed our internship at the end of 2015 – the moment that we were very upset to leave that heart-warming family. Before going back to my country, I decided to continue being in the Shangri-La family so I applied for a vacant position. Luckily, I was selected and now I am working as a service associate in one of the Shangri-La properties.

Share your #100memories here.