Simon Turner, head doorman at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, explains his typical working day


My day starts at 6.30am when I arrive at the front door of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, often in the dark and cold. In the hotel above me there are around 200 bedrooms, some of whose guests will be stirring; others still dreaming. Knightsbridge, however, never sleeps and the frenzy of early morning commuters will soon be replaced by the more leisurely fashion lovers, drawn to the glamour of Harvey Nichols, Harrods and the boutiques of Sloane Street.

Overnight there's been some rain and a scattering of leaves sticks to the pavement. While my friend Devon polishes the brass he's tended to for more than 20 years, I grab my broom and begin to warm up.

Then I check my supplies: luggage and valet tags, local maps, a lighter and two pens, a list of who's arriving, who's leaving, meetings and VIPs. I make sure a few umbrellas are at the ready even though it's brightening in the east and clear in the west; watching the clouds for seven years tells me rain shouldn't return for some hours at least.

A taxi arrives and I recognise the face in the back. He's a regular guest who has come on the overnight flight from Hong Kong. We smile and shake hands with a mutual 'nice to see you'. It's a good start to the day to offer someone a warm welcome.

Now it's 8am and a film crew is unloading equipment. There's a press junket for an eagerly anticipated movie release in one of our suites. A few fans wait outside hoping to catch a glimpse of their big-screen hero and I know the paparazzi won't be far away.

Mid-morning and a coach filled with schoolchildren waits in traffic as a taxi U-turns to bring me some more early travellers. Several of the children wave at me, full of expectation. As I wave back, their smiles light up their faces and waving hands suddenly fill every window in the bus.

It's now just gone midday and both of our restaurants are open. Lunchtime is always busy. A young couple arrive on foot, looking excited but with an air of anticipation. 'Dinner by Heston Blumenthal?' I ask as I escort them inside.

After lunch, a couple of local residents drop by to spend a few hours being pampered and to complement their visit with a cocktail after their treatment. When the time comes for me to retrieve their Bentley from our valet parking, I chauffeur myself to Harvey Nichols or through Hyde Park to avoid the traffic wardens.

My team is small but very reliable. A mix of English, European and Antipodean, we're six friends rather than just colleagues. And when my day ends a little after 3pm, we'll catch up and perhaps share some of our more unbelievable stories of the day.

Back To Top