Concierge Confessions

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The Concierge is the heart and soul of any great hotel. A good Concierge can get you dinner reservations at the hottest restaurant, tickets to the current must-see play and just about anything else you may want. They exist to make a guest’s experience better. But in doing so they’ve seen a lot. Let me tell you, they see a lot of weird things.

The Going Global team spends about half of the year in hotels and so we’ve gotten to know a number of Concierges in top hotels quite well. It wasn’t easy but we’ve pried from them some of the juiciest stories. To get them to talk freely we had to agree to not mention the Concierge, the hotel or the guest.

One longtime Concierge in an extremely well-known New York hotel tells us, “Most guests just want us to work magic. Usually that’s access or insight, so pretty easy”  But it’s the weird requests that he enjoys the most. “One guest told me he absolutely had to get to the Bahamas that night as he saw on social media that his on again, off again girlfriend was going to be there and he wanted to propose to her. The last flight had already left JFK and Tiffany’s was closed for the evening, but in a matter of a few minutes I had chartered him a plane and convinced a very exclusive diamond shop to bring a selection of engagement rings to the private airport for him before he took off.” We’re happy to report the woman said yes and the guest and his new bride stay at this property quite often. If money is no object, true love will always find a way.

In Bangkok you may think the requests made to Concierges would be quite outrageous. Not so. Most tell us guests mainly are quite respectful, though sometimes oddly demanding. One Concierge told us about a guest who had been staying at the property for many weeks working on a deal. He essentially went to his local office and back to the hotel and hadn’t had a chance to see any of the city. As his deal was wrapping up he wanted to take a Tuk Tuk ride to explore Bangkok. Tuk Tuks are Bangkok’s iconic 3 wheeled taxis. But, and here’s the interesting part. “The guest didn’t want to be the passenger, he wanted to be the driver.” After a lot of negotiations the Concierge found a driver willing to let this Farang (foreigner) take the wheel. “Apparently the guest drove the city for 3 to 4 hours and even picked up a couple bemused tourists along the way.”

And here’s an interesting story from London. At one of the most revered, most traditional five-star hotels, the Concierge team usually spends their days organizing horseback rides at famous stables, picnics in Hyde Park or private viewings of galleries. But one day a few years ago they had a request which stumped them. “A guest from China wanted to meet James Bond. Of course there is no such thing as James Bond.” The guest knew Bond was a film character but was extremely disappointed when he found out there were no James Bond look-a-likes on the streets, the same way you see characters in Times Square or in Hollywood. Undaunted the Concierge tracked down a waiter in the kitchen who bore a striking resemblance to a younger, less muscular Daniel Craig and hatched a plan.

“With a few phone calls we were able to get the GM to let the waiter off for the day.  We sent him to a very exclusive tailor shop who dressed him from top to bottom in clothes he got to keep, rented an Aston Martin and even arranged for an off-duty policeman who did security at the hotel pick up the guest from the lobby and take him to an undisclosed location for a rendezvous with 007. The rest of the day the waiter, err James Bond, drove the guest to different Bond locations throughout London.” A little creativity and about three thousand pounds later, the hotel had a very happy guest.

There are just three of a million different stories of Concierge confessions. So take heed your requests will probably seem quite tame. The next time you approach a Concierge at a hotel don’t be shy. We’re sure they’re up for the challenge.

 

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