You already know that a hotel concierge can give you a map of the city you’re visiting. They’re handy with the attraction brochures, too. They seem to know the hours of every museum in the city and the latest nighttime hot spots. No doubt you’ve stopped by the concierge desk for friendly and reliable service during your travels.
But wait! There’s more! Much more! Here are 7 other terrific things they can do:
- Score that table: If Open Table told you that there were no available reservations for that new darling restaurant, head to the concierge desk. They have “friends” who can find a spot. Even if the place really is packed, they can often get you at the front of the waiting list.
- Keep you safe: Do you like to get out for a walk or run in the early morning? The concierge can tell you which neighborhoods are safe, or locate a 24-hour gym that suits your needs.
- Be budget-friendly: They know the best happy hours…after all, they’re not millionaires! They can direct you to posh hotel bars where you can enjoy a drink without paying the sky-high room rate. Ask them for the cheapest way to get to the airport–they know this, too.
- Locate the “unavailable” whatever: Taxi on a rainy day? Sold-out tickets? A concierge has connections and secret sources. Your wish may be only a phone call away. Things like tickets may be pricey, but you already knew that, right?
- Arrange a celebration: Whatever the occasion, start with the concierge. They can do just about anything from placing a bottle of Dom Perignon in your room to finding the perfect place for a memorable proposal. A roomful of balloons? Sure, why not?
- Solve problems: They know where to get speedy phone repair, find a tailor for a last-minute alteration, how to handle a lost driver’s license or passport, or what to do if your luggage didn’t make the flight.
- Find local experts: Whether you need a doctor for yourself or your pet, a private guide, a translator, or an antique appraiser, your concierge can help. Suppose you’re in town because you’re scouting out a new place to live, they can find reputable realtors.
When asking for more than a map and general information, you should be prepared to tip the concierge when they arrange something for you. It depends on the location of the hotel–New York City is pricier than Iowa City–but generally, about $5-10 per request, more if the request was difficult or if they really did get top-notch tickets or reservations–maybe $20 then.
Becoming a professional concierge isn’t easy. Training in hospitality and tourism is required. After five years, a concierge can apply to be a member of Les Clefs d’Or, the prestigious organization that entitles members to wear a distinctive gold pin with crossed keys. They follow a strict code of ethics, never doing anything illegal, nor promising something they know they can’t deliver.
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