For many travellers, the concierge is the single most important
person in a hotel. With their encyclopaedic knowledge, connections
at hip addresses, and insight into hotel goings-on, the concierge
proffers invaluable - even essential - insider tips.
But what's the view like from the other side of the desk? We
spoke with Edwin Saldanha - concierge at the iconic Oberoi, Mumbai - for his perspective on the
role. From Mumbai's coolest nightclubs to what a day working in a
super-luxury hotel is really like, he's shared some
tantalising concierge secrets.
Edwin Saldanha is the concierge
at the iconic Oberoi, Mumbai © Oberoi Hotels and Resorts
Greaves: Tell us about how you got started at The
Edwin Saldanha: 'Working for an iconic hotel like The Oberoi,
Mumbai is inspiration enough to start my day every morning. I've
completed three decades of service at The Oberoi Mumbai; actually,
it's been my first and only employer!
It goes without saying that The Oberoi, Mumbai is a great place
to work. We are empowered to do what we can to meet the
expectations of our guests, and this makes my role in the hotel
even more enriching.'
The Oberoi, Mumbai has an
impressive waterfront view © Oberoi Hotels and Resorts
What are some of The Oberoi, Mumbai's special
amenities or highlight attractions?
'We offer a range of unique 'Oberoi Experiences' that are
designed to give our guests an authentic taste of the city, and of
the hotel. In the city, guests can accompany our chef as they go
spice shopping in Mumbai's Lal Bagh area, see the sights and sounds
of Mumbai on a dawn tour, go for a heritage walk of the city's
magnificent architecture, visit Mumbai's finest art galleries and
museums, and go for a bespoke shopping experience.
In the hotel, we offer masterclasses with our chefs, candlelit
dinners by the pool, live jazz performances at the Eau Bar, 24-hour
personal butler service, breakfast in bed, and a two-hour relaxing
spa ritual, among other amenities.'
A number of unique amenities are
available to guests © Oberoi Hotels and Resorts
Walk us through what a typical day workday looks
like for you.
'To begin with, I spend time browsing the next day's arrival
list, to identify guests who will be staying with us. I also keep
the in-house guest report handy to keep myself updated about my
guests, and also to keep track of our repeat guests. After that, I
do a round of the areas where I am directly responsible, and check
if my team is ready to meet the requirements for the day. For the
rest of the day, I am available to my guests to serve and look
after their needs.'
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of what's
happening in Mumbai - especially given how large and dynamic the
'I ensure that I read the newspaper every morning, and I also
follow various travel and news apps and websites, which give me
real-time alerts of the latest happenings in the city.'
What are some of the most common requests you hear
'The most common requests I receive are about arranging tours,
asking for city information, suggestions for dining and shopping,
and otherwise helping organise guests' days out in the city.'
Vetro is The Oberoi, Mumbai's
stylish Italian restaurant © Oberoi Hotels and Resorts
Share some concierge secrets with us - what are the
surprising parts of the job?
'The concierge position is very unique in a hotel. Over the
years, one creates a lot of trust with guests - you become their
most trusted, 'go-to' person in the hotel. The concierge also has
direct access to some of the most important people in the world, by
virtue of the role.'
What are some of Mumbai's coolest addresses right
now, whether restaurants, bars, nightlife destinations, or
'Of course, Ziya - our contemporary Indian restaurant -
and Vetro, our Italian restaurant, are two of my
all-time favourites. In the city, Khyber, The Table, The Bombay
Canteen, Olive, and Masala
Library are some of my top recommendations.
For bars, I would recommend Dome and Exo.
And for nightclub enthusiasts, I'd suggest Asilo
The Bombay Canteen is one of
Saldanha's top Mumbai recommendations © Sanjay Ramchandran
Can you recommend some of your personal favourite
Mumbai experiences to us?
'Personally, I love the Oberoi's Mumbai at Dawn tour. And I love
going for a walk on the iconic Marine Drive, both in the morning
and the evening.'