Dear Roxy is Sharing Travel Experience’s regular columnist answering your questions about getting the best value and best experiences during your next hotel stay.
Today, Roxy is answering a question about how to use the hotel concierge. Got a hotel question? Just ask Roxy.
Are all hotel concierges liars? Well, I don’t mean to sound so cynical, but it seems every 4 and 5 star hotel we stay at, the concierge is in such a rush to recommend overpriced restaurants, unauthentic local attractions, and in general they seem almost put off by our requests for assistance. I’m not being difficult – I have friends who have had similar experiences. Do we just have back luck?
Amilia from Boston
Wait, Amilia, I hope you don’t shun all of them because of a few bad experiences! What caught my eye in your letter was the mention of this happening at four or five star hotels. At this level of luxury, many of the guests may have high (yes, you can read “stuffy“) expectations for recommendations. They want top shelf restaurants, shops, and attractions. The concierge working in these hotels probably has a nice contact list at these places. The more people he sends their way, the more his name is known in that business. His ultimate goal is to be a prominent figure within these upper-level circles. Make sense?
That doesn’t mean he can’t help direct you to what you’re looking for. Here are three tips on how to use the hotel concierge:
- First, be specific to what you want. Looking for a certain type of food or particular brand of something? He can most likely direct you to exactly what you want. If it’s food or attractions within a certain price point, make sure you tell him.
- Second, I find that if you give them a head’s up, they can have really good information ready for you. Call down to the desk, tell them you’ll be down around whatever time, and ask if they could have what you’re looking for ready then. Do you want maps, tickets for something, reservations, etc.? Even a great concierge may need some time to get his hands on more difficult items; ask when he thinks he can have it.
- And last, but certainly not least, tip him! Think of it this way, when he scores something for you, he’s put himself out there to get it and he should be rewarded. Yes, I know it’s his job, but this is a very tip-heavy position.
And even though I’ve used he/him throughout this post, there are also many fine women in this position. Dear Roxy just likes to keep it simple, not sexist! To wrap it up, my best advice is probably the simplest: make them feel important. After all, (s)he is the one holding all the cards, uh, tickets!
Got a hotel question? Just ask Roxy.