POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 1, 2012
Question: What if your concierge gives you a restaurant recommendation and it turns out to be awful? I asked the concierge at a hotel in Toronto to make a reservation for my wife and me at a nice Italian place for our anniversary. The concierge recommended a restaurant down the street from the hotel. The menu he showed us looked interesting, but when we got there, we were the only customers there. The waiter seemed annoyed when my wife asked questions about ingredients, and when we finally got our food, it was cold. It was a crummy experience (and not cheap, either). Do you have any advice to prevent this from happening again?
Answer: That stinks. I'm sorry you had such a bad anniversary dinner. Some concierges can be fantastic, providing great recommendations and advice, but others funnel guests to the same short list of mediocre restaurants, seemingly without regard for what the guests actually want. So I think, in general, it's safer to do your restaurant research yourself. Go online and read reviews of good restaurants at your destination. Then you can call and make your own reservation, circumventing the concierge entirely. If the restaurant says it has no tables available, that's when you ask for the concierge's help. If the concierge can't make it happen and recommends a different restaurant instead, check it out online before agreeing to go there.
And finally, I'd tell the concierge (and/or the hotel's general manager) you had a bad experience. They ought to know you weren't happy with the restaurant recommendation.
Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.