Marius is the Deputy Head Porter at Victory Services Club, the only military club in London to offer membership solely to Service and ex-Service personnel of all ranks and their families.
1Can you explain your role in one sentence?Everything we do, hospitality wise, delivers exceptional customer service to our members.
2How long have you been doing this job?I’ve been at Victory Services Club (VSC) in this and similar roles for over 12 years. Overall, I’ve worked in hospitality for over 16 years.
3Did you find yourself in this role by accident or by design?By design. Like many people who move to London, I tried different jobs, but none of them felt exactly right. I looked into hospitality and liked the idea of it – interacting with people every day. I enrolled in hospitality training courses and started off as a Porter at a 4-star hotel in the area. I can work for 12 hours and I’m not tired while I’m doing it because of the natural level of energy. At the VSC, we receive updated training that allows us to feel comfortable and confident in our roles so we can perform to a high standard.
4What’s the best part about your job? Helping people. That’s what makes it fun – I’m able to meet new people every day. Even better, the difference between the VSC and hotels is that at many hotels you might never meet the same person twice, but at clubs – especially the VSC – we have guests that have been staying with us for 10, 20 years and some of them come two or three times a year. We get to know them so well that they invite us to their weddings, send us Christmas cards, and we see their families grow up. I haven’t experienced that at other hotels or clubs I’ve worked at. It works both ways, we’re here to provide them with the best services, but they also make us feel respected and comfortable.
5What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your job?We had a gentleman, a returning customer, that was applying for a high-profile job in London and was under a lot of pressure. He was staying with us for his final interview for the job. On the morning of the interview, he came to me very stressed because he has forgotten to pack his shoes. He has a beautiful new tie, sharp tailored suit, but no shoes. He only had his running shoes he wore on train here the day before. So, as he was preparing for the interview, I went out and got him some new shoes. Now, we always have a reserve for items our guests might require. And the best part, he got the job. He’s based in London now, but he visits often for meals and events and still thanks me.
6What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work in this role?Of course, spending time with my family. I have a seven month old boy – he’s ‘la résistance’ as my wife and I say – he keeps me going. I also have a 10 year old little girl. We like going for walks in the parks and sightseeing. We’ve seen London inside out, but there are always new exhibitions and things to do in London. A huge perk of the job is having to know what’s going on in London, how to get there and what’s in different areas to visit. In addition, I like reading – mainly thrillers, like James Patterson and Lee Child.
7What do you like about this area?Hyde Park. In my opinion, it’s one of the best places in London. Also, the transportation around here is one of the best in London. You can get the tube, the bus or walk because it’s near most things.
8Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch in the local area?Not to sound biased or boring, but our staff canteen. The food is always very good, but more importantly it’s a nice area to relax and have some time to recharge. We interact with people all day so it’s important to have just a few minutes a day to relax and reflect so you’re energised for the rest of the day.
9Who is YOUR hero and what is it about them that inspires you?My Dad. He used to say something that has always stayed with me, “First things first, you get food on the table. From there, you can build your dreams.” If there’s no stability, nothing else is able to happen. He worked nearly 40 years and his discipline and commitment was on a different level.
10If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?Tibet. I’ve met quite a few Gurkhas. At the club, we’ve befriended a couple of them as most of them became bodyguards in London when they finish with their careers as Gurkhas. They stay with us regularly. They have a wonderful philosophy to life. They’re on a different level. They’re incredibly skilled and brave, but respectful and peaceful. They’re not this Rambo-type. They’re reserved and kind. When they stay with us, they’ve showed me photos of heir family homes in Tibet and it’s very untouched. I’d love to go there.