Past President 1995 – 1997
A Venetian by birth, Cav. Tony Facciolo who was born in 1937 would forever proudly decry: “I am not an Italian, I am a Venetian”. Mr Facciolo went to work as a porter at the Gritti Palace at 17 years of age. The Gritti Palace is a hotel steeped in romantic intrigue and it was in these surrounds that a young Tony Facciolo was to develop a genuine love for people and for hotels and he was also to form the basis of a future career as a Concierge.
Throughout the next few years Mr Facciolo worked variously at the Splendide in Lugano, the George V in Paris and then in 1960 Mr Facciolo moved on to the Savoy in London where he worked for the next 5 years. In all of these hotels like the other Concierges of the era, Mr Facciolo learned the languages and he learned the trade. Mr Facciolo loved to recall in later years his varying conversations with high profile guests such as an aging Winston Churchill at the Savoy.
In 1966 Tony Facciolo moved to Sydney Australia, where he joined the Wentworth hotel when it opened in December of that year. After the buzz and atmosphere of a succession of international cities, Sydney was at once smaller and perhaps a little different. However what it lacked in comparable size, it amply made up by rapidly changing its face, and effectively catching up with the better known cities of the world. When Mr Facciolo came to Australia he was the only member of Les Clefs d’Or in the entire Country (having previously been nominated by the Concierge at the Savoy). Along with the hotel PR department, Mr Facciolo got some articles about Les Clefs d’Or in the newspapers and started spreading the word about not only what Les Clefs d’Or was but also what a Concierge was. He was the first Concierge (or Head Porter as his title was at the time) in the whole of Australia and the position itself was an enigma to many Australians.
After some time Mr Facciolo managed to recruit some other like minded individuals who worked in hotels and together they came to form the nucleus of what would in time become the founding membership of Les Clefs d’Or Australia. Most notable was Mr Facciolo’s partnership with Mr Alfred Jasinski who along with Mr Facciolo was a co-founder of Les Clefs d’Or Australia in 1981. Mr Facciolo was elected founder President and the Australian delegation was accepted as a full member section of Les Clefs d’Or at the Dublin congress in 1981.
Mr Facciolo was elected International President of Les Clefs d’Or in 1995 quite fittingly at the international congress in Sydney. This was the first time a president was elected from a country outside Europe. The Italian government awarded Mr Facciolo with a Cavalieri, for services to tourism and in Australia he was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) also for his services to tourism. Mr Facciolo passed away in 2005 after a prolonged illness.
Text by Jacob Detering