A hotel’s concierge staff can help you fulfill a range of requests to make your trip that much better, but its services are often underused and sometimes misused, said Kenneth Abisror, head concierge at Mandarin Oriental New York in New York.
Concierges are a valuable resource, he said, and there are many ways for guests to get the most out of what they can offer. Here, Abisror offers his top tips.
Ask them for almost anything: Concierges can make restaurant reservations, secure theater tickets and book tours. But they can also help with tasks you might not expect, such as finding a real estate agent in the city you are visiting or even in another city, tracking down your lost luggage, making a doctor’s appointment and chartering a jet. “Basically, there’s nothing we can’t do unless it’s unethical or illegal,” Abisror said.
Reach out before you arrive: For starters, when it comes to requests that are difficult to fulfill, such as a reservation at a popular restaurant, asking for help a few weeks beforehand will increase the chances that you will get what you want.
Also, establishing a relationship with one or two members of the concierge staff ahead of time will serve you throughout your stay.
Don’t ask unless you’re sure: Making a request that you are not fully committed to not only shows bad manners, but can also damage the concierge’s reputation if you back out at the last minute, Abisror said. For instance, a guest asks for same-day dinner reservations for four at a highly renowned restaurant, so the concierge leverages the professional relationship he has with the maitre d’. Then the guest informs the concierge he’s decided to stick to a reservation at another restaurant. “Now I have to cancel the table that I pushed hard to get you and risk burning a valued source,” Abisror said.
There is no absolute ‘best’: Guests commonly ask their concierge for “the best,” but in reality, Abisror said that there might be several that earn the distinction. For instance, the best show might be the one that is sold out, the one with the most accolades or the one that features a star performer. “The most important criteria in determining ‘the best’ is what is best for your taste,” he said, “and if you’re asking the concierge for help, convey your wishes and trust they’re giving you the optimal options.”