Amy Huang interviews Amelia Patterson, Wellington’s only female concierge. Here are some of her answers and insights into her life, her job and her city.
Amelia Patterson fell into the hospitality industry by chance. As a student in arts and design, she started working in food and beverage to make some extra money, and it led her through the ranks to become Wellington’s first female concierge.
I met Amelia in the hotel’s restaurant The Portlander and we chatted over a delicious lunch about her job and her city.
What do you most like about your job?
I love being with people. Every day I get to meet different types of people from all over the world and it’s just fascinating. I’ve learned that you can’t judge someone by their appearance and sometimes you meet the most unexpected personalities that you would never have guessed from just looking at them. It’s fantastic.
What is it like being the only female concierge in Wellington? Must feel quite special?
I am not so sure. I wouldn’t say that I am special but I do get teased a bit, in a friendly way, by other concierges when we meet. I have been in contact with another female concierge up in Auckland and we have been sharing our stories, and it feels reassuring for me that there is someone like me out there.
I do like to prove that I can do just as good a job, if not better, than the boys though!
We always talk about gender equality and gender stereotypes, but I know there are still professions where it’s still male or female dominated. In terms of the hospitality industry, why do you think there aren’t a lot more female concierges?
I am not 100% sure, but it might have something to do with the fact that people see you by appearance and being female it’s not easy to offer a service that is generally conceived as a male role to a customer, they often don’t think you can do it. I feel that sometimes this works toward my advantage, and I am able to surprise clients with my abilities to do the same job a man might be seen doing, like carrying bags.
What are some of the most outrageous requests for things you’ve been asked to do?
Luckily for me I haven’t had any weird ones yet! The most unusual so far has been trying to help someone put fake eyelashes just before a party, that’s about it. Perhaps ask me in another two years and I am sure I’ll be able to have some stories for you.
Now, tell us about Wellington. What do you love most about the city, and where are some of your favourite places to go?
Wellington is a place that I had to come for my studies, so in a way, it’s been forced on me. However I’ve since discovered that it’s such a lovable place. I love the culture and this good sized community, and if you didn’t know your cities around New Zealand you couldn’t have guessed that this is the capital city! It is so relaxed, yet there is always something happening and I am still finding surprises in every corner of the city.
I love Cuba Street. It’s funky, quirky and has so much energy about it.
READ MORE: Wellington: City Break
When you travel, what are some of your comfort secrets you can share with our readers? Do you have a special routine to keep you refreshed on the plane? Do you have an item that you must pack no matter where you go?
Oh, I used to bring my childhood teddy with me! Other than that I don’t really have a travel routine per se. However I always make sure that I talk to locals about the place. When I travel I try to find out as much local information as possible from the people I speak to without relying on those glossy travel brochures that only advertise tourist attractions. I find that a restaurant or café recommended by the locals is often better than those advertised, and you get to find little ‘comfort’ spots that you wouldn’t otherwise find in the tourist information.
As a concierge I always endeavour to provide advice and information based on what I would like to do, not what the tourist brochures dictate, because there is always so much more to a place than the tourist attractions.
If Wellington was a person, who would it be?
A very bright one! I want to say Lady Gaga, but although quirky, Wellington is not near as whacky as her. Maybe more like Katie Perry. She is funky and colourful without being crazy.
Amelia Patterson is currently Wellington’s only female concierge at Rydges Hotel and she will be applying to enter the The Hotel Concierge Society Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand. Worldette wishes her good luck.