What to expect from a concierge

Old Oct 10th, 2005, 11:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 25
What to expect from a concierge


Forgive me if this has been covered before on this list. After traveling quite a bit for business I have noticed quite a disparity in the amount of attention a concierge is willing to devote to a request by a hotel guest. This disparity cannot always be explained by the cost/quality of the hotel.

I tend to ask very basic questions, e.g. recommendations for local restaurants, good coffee, places to buy gifts or items I have forgotten. Occasionally I will ask for help making a reservation or getting tickets to an attraction (for the latter type of request I tend to tip). Sometimes I will, as requested, get good, detailed "insider" information on places best known to locals, but more often I will get somewhat dismissive recommendations for chain restaurants, Starbucks or stores that can be found in my hometown. I am also getting all too used to concierges who give easy answers that are not always correct. So, here are my questions:

- What sort of information do you think it is reasonable for a concierge to have at hand?
- Should they be able/willing to direct guests to places that are mostly frequented by locals?
- How much time is it reasonable to expect them to spend discussing these questions (presuming there are not others waiting?
- Do people on this list tip for particularly good information?
- Are there any examples of very good service by a concierge that you would want to share?

Looking forward to seeing your input.

Sarah25 is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,881
Locals go to Starbucks and chain restaurants, maybe that's why they are suggested.

Have you said, "I am looking for a non-chain place to go" or said "I'd like breakfast that isn't Starbucks?"
MikeT is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
First of all - as with anything else there are more and less competent concierges. Also - some hotels have assistants at the desk as well as the real concierge (signified by the crossed keys pin on their lapel).

If the concierge is not giving you the info you want perhaps you need to be more specific in your questions. Or he/she may just be really bad at their job.

I would expect to tip for any info thast takes more than 2/3 minutes to convey (marking a map, indicating directions etc.). If you want to have a 15 minute conversation about restaurants that definitely deserves at tip even if they don;t make the reservations.

And yes- I have had concicerges do excellent jobs.

The one at the Mandarin Oriental in NYC helped satisfy two groups of VERY high maintenance meeting attendees (one would take only a Mercedes limo, another needed clothes cleaned between 10pm and 6am etc).

And one at the Ritz in New Orleans organized a private room/dinner for 30 at less than 3 hours notice (giving me 4 choices of restaurants, menus etc) - during a major convention - when an assistant in our office make a mess of the arrangements we had by not sending a deposit.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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A concierge will only be as specific as specific are the questions are that you ask him.

Any concierge worth his or her salt will work with you until the task is completed to your satisfaction not work through a time frame.
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 515
Sarah, I just googled and got the job description below for concierge position at U.S. hotel chain. DH and I make an effort to stay in reasonably priced (OK, really cheap) hotels. Most of the time there is no concierge per se, but the desk clerks are always eager to help with reservations for shows or dinner if we ask nicely and they aren't swamped. They also take pride in their cities and steer us to "authentic" places rather than chains. Such service is the domain of the Concierge. But the best clerk or Concierge will take as much time as needed and possible to provide the best service. No doubt the range of requests and responses are as far ranging as there are personalities.
...Concierge Agent is responsible primarily for assisting with guests with reservations, area locations and any other personal needs they may have. This person must have good organizational skills, exceptional communication skills, as well as superior guest service abilities. This is a fast paced position that will involve some cash handling.
Your thanks, gift and/or tip is earned by the quality of service and you should provide feedback to the concierge and the hotel. Our "above and beyond" was at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Pisa where the clerks cheefully and periodically checked on our lost luggage.
donco is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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A concierge in a 5 star hotel in a major city will also probably speak multiple langauges.
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 515
And on any given day a 5-star concierge can be as surly as a 3-star one!
Sarah25, stand your ground and don't accept bad service-no matter how many stars! That makes me see stars!
donco is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5,206
I've had incredible concierge service and woeful service from 3 - 5 star hotels, and sometimes the 3 stars outdid the 5's. as in any job, some are better than others. I think one expects the best treatment from high end hotel concierges, yet one of my best experiences to date from securing tickets or dinner reservations to overnight-ing packages, accepting a delivery and even arranging for a doctor to see my sick child and putting us in the cab to his office...was from a ny sheraton.....but I agree w/ tipping for more than mere directions, and if line is long, ask for an appointment which has worked for me and you'll get your fifteen minutes. I also agree with asking desk clerks (or bell hops, or doormen) rather than concierge for out of the way local places. My best advice, when I am looking for an out of the way place or a reasonable price meal, believe it or not, has come from policemen I ask on the street for a good lunch or dinner spot that locals eat at - I find concierges are better geared to the high end requests.
escargot is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2005, 04:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,738
The best concierge we had was in Montreal, he would recommend a place, make the reservations, make a little map to direct us .. or called a cab..we always felt taken care of. He was very on top of things, but not annoying
In Portland Or, the 5th Ave Suites concierge is a lovely young woman from Australia, she will get you tickets for any event, send you to the best restaurants, with reservations that cannot be gotten, she is great!
And she can send you to the right store to get the outfit for that restaurant
In Paris we use them all the time because they speak the language..
A good concierge will do all of those things that you mention and spend as much time with you as You wish..regardless of someone waiting.
We always tip at the end of our stay, depending on how many times we have used the concierge.
Scarlett is offline  
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