Travel has always been part of Douglas Campbell’s life. Born in Honolulu, and adopted as a baby by a Naval family, he’s lived in many U.S. cities, including Seattle, Corpus Christi, and Houston before settling in San Diego when he was nine years old. But even after graduating high school at 18, he continued to travel, living in various cities, like Reno, Palm Springs and Chicago, though last year, he returned to the city he officially calls home: San Diego. “I was lured home by my friends and family and less extreme weather,” Campbell says.
Perfectly sunny, year-round weather may have been Campbell’s destiny, but he didn’t sacrifice his true calling: working in hospitality. Campbell is a member of Les Clefs d’Or, the highest recognition for professional service standards with concierges at luxury hotels, a distinguished honor he’s held for more than a decade. “I’ve worked in hotels since 1996, and I’ve been a full-time hotel concierge since 2002,” Campbell recalls. “My mentor from the beginning was the late Marjorie Silverman, the former president of Les Clefs d’Or, who told me she postponed her retirement until I had secured my promotion from an assistant concierge to a lead concierge, which really meant a lot to me.”
Campbell, who became a member of Les Clefs d’Or in 2008, says it has been a rewarding experience. “Being able to reach out for help from a worldwide network of concierges is invaluable. I travel as often as I can, and through Les Clefs d’Or, I’ve spoken by phone or email with concierges that I would years later meet on trips to places like Shanghai, Budapest, London, and Tokyo.”
Being a member of the prestigious association helped Campbell secure a position at Pendry San Diego. “There really wasn’t a backup property that I was interested in. I love how Pendry merges the relaxed charm of a boutique hotel with the service values of a luxury hotel.”
Douglas is one of two openly gay concierge at Pendry San Diego, both of whom are members of Les Clefs d’Or. The other concierge is Justin Sondgeroth, who represented the United States in Dubai at the annual Young Leader Awards where he was voted among the top five concierge around the world. He was recently recognized by the local San Diego hospitality community with a Gold Key Award.
Pendry San Diego, opened in 2017 in the Gaslamp Quarter, offers stylish rooms, six food and beverage outlets, including a nightclub, and a rooftop pool. It’s also located near various LGBTQ establishments. “Gay life in San Diego is very diverse, from the bar scene in Hillcrest to Blacks Beach and Balboa Park, to the freedom of not needing to frequent exclusively gay businesses to feel comfortable,” says Campbell.
Where are the coolest places to go for cocktails?
There’s a big influx of speakeasies happening in San Diego, and I love a bar with a hidden entrance, so I like places like Raised By Wolves (4301 La Jolla Village Drive, Ste #2030, Tel: 619-629-0243. www.raisedxwolves.com), a cocktail lounge that sits beneath a dramatic Art Nouveau steel gazebo, concealed behind a fireplace in a Victorian-era liquor store, and tucked away in a modern shopping mall.