Tributes have been pouring in for the “familiar smiling face” who greeted guests at the Grand Hotel for nearly 40 years.
Hugo de Castro, the Head Concierge at the Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa, recently passed away after a short illness.
Mr de Castro’s career at the St. Helier hotel began in the busy Bergerac years.
Over the years, the concierge’s attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile was appreciated by the guests but also recognised by his admission into the French Crossed Keys Society, an exclusive fraternity of Concierges, as well as the title of Concierge of the Year, awarded by Boutique Hotelier magazine in 2017.
Simon Miller, Hand Picked Hotels’ Regional General Manager for the Channel Islands, said he and the entire team of the Grand Hotel had been saddened to lose their friend and colleague, whom he described as the “familiar smiling face that welcomed guests with a natural warmth and affection”.
“Hugo was our beloved Head Concierge for over 38 years,” Mr Miller said.
“A member of the elite Golden Keys Society, Hugo was considered a true champion of the island and was a finalist for Ambassador of the Year at the 2020 Pride of Jersey Awards.
“Hugo was the epitome of The Grand and simply had a passion for creating guest happiness. We will miss him greatly and our thoughts go out to his family”.
Pictured: Mr De Castro worked at the Grand Hotel for over 38 years.
The Jersey Hospitality Association also paid tribute to Mr de Castro, "a true ambassador of the hospitality industry", whom they said would be sorely missed by all.
"Not only was he extremely proud of the role that he held at the Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa for over 38 years, but he was loved by all those who came to know him through their visits," they added.
"We hope his spirit and passion for hospitality will live on and that we will all be able to find the right time and circumstances to celebrate his life in full soon."
Hundreds of islanders and formers guests took to the comments on the Grand Hotel’s Facebook page to share memories of Mr de Castro and pay their regards.
Some described him as a “true treasure”, “a gentleman” or “one of a kind”, while others noted how he always had the “warmest welcome” and was “a wonderful welcoming presence” at the hotel.
“How desperately sad,” wrote Nicola Wallace Dean. “He was a fabulous face to greet us and couldn’t do enough for our entire family. First class concierge.”
Pictured: Guests remembered Mr de Castro's "wonderful welcoming presence” at the hotel.
“He was a wonderful kind and caring man,” Carole Oliver, who said she had known Hugo since the early 1980s, said. “Would always greet me with a big smile and a warm hug. He is going to be greatly missed.”
Shona Ringsdore commented there could not have been a better person as the face of the Grand Hotel. “Such a wonderful gentleman,” she added. “Sending our deepest condolences to Hugo’s family, friends and colleagues. We will miss your wonderful ways and the extra special hugs Hugo, sleep well our friend.”
Frank Caussen, who described Hugo as an “absolute gent”, remembered his “great smile, laugh and love of people”.
“I’m so very sad that we have to miss this wonderful, lovely man!” wrote Irene Asscher. “There is no man like Hugo! He was the absolute heart of the Grand Hotel! We have known him since the first day he arrived at The Grand.
“He lived through all the changes of the hotel and always was the stable and thrust full center of our beloved Grand Hotel. Condolences to his family and his colleagues. RIP dear Hugo.”
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Rip lovely man.