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Locked in at... The Ritz

What’s it like to work at one of London’s most glamourous hotels? We asked Michael deCozar, long-serving head hall porter at The Ritz

What does your job entail?
I manage the Front of House service department, a team of 24, which include the doormen, the luggage porters, the concierge team and the page boys. My team members usually stay a long time – between the 24 of us, we have over 300 years of service to The Ritz. I never say no to a Client and always try to make the impossible happen.

How long have you been doing it?
All my life, since I was 16. I have been at The Ritz for 42 years now, and I am hoping to do 50 – I promised my dad. My brother Louis has worked here for 30 years.

How did you apply for it?
I didn’t. My father worked in Room Service on the third floor of the hotel for 27 years and I used to come and help him on the weekends. I met Victor, who was the Head Concierge at the time, and started in 1973 as a page boy in his team. When I started my salary was £2.50 a week.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked?
Lots! The first Christmas I was on duty a client staying with us had always wanted to go in the sea on Christmas Day as he had family ties in Brighton, but hated the seafront in winter. So I brought the sea to him! I sent a luggage porter to Brighton with two cannisters and we filled up his bath with seawater. I also once bought a double decker bus and drove it to the south of France to be installed in a client's garden for a cocktail party.

Who’s the most unexpected person you’ve ever seen at The Ritz?
I’ve seen everyone.

Are you a Londoner?
No, not originally. My family's from Spain but I came to London aged 12. I went to Bow Boys School, so I’m a bit of a cockney.

What’s your hidden talent?
I have been driving to work since the age of 17, so I think I would pass The Knowledge. I also speak five languages; Spanish, Portuguese, French, Greek and English. And I always try to have a smile.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
What I am now! I didn’t have any idea at school.

Tell us a secret.
I was in 'Notting Hill', which was filmed at The Ritz.

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