What makes a good concierge?
Catherine Baudino is a business woman who frequently has to travel on her own. In her blog she points out the importance of finding a good concierge to help out with any problems.
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Having travelled around the world, most of the time on my own – whether on business or pleasure – I have come to rely on the Hotel’s concierge service to maximise on my stay.
Clearly, this service only ‘clicks in’ when visiting 4 or more star hotels. But what a difference a good concierge makes.
My recent – and first-ever – visit to Miami, South Beach is a case in point….
Having booked my accommodation at The Eden Roc through Expedia, I then emailed the hotel and ultimately entered into a dialogue with the Head Concierge, the wonderful, Joseph Colon….
By email (one of the most effective, but also sterile, forms of communications), I explained to this total stranger that I wished to be booked into certain restaurants (Prime 121, Hakkasana, Casa Tua, etc. ) but did not wish to be relegated, as a single (female) visitor, to a table by the kitchen (or worse still ‘rest room” as they say in the States). I therefore counted on his connections that his reservation for me would outweigh one made electronically through Book Table or their US equivalents.
I also wanted to dine at Joe’s Crab Shack; he explained to me (via email) they did not take bookings but the Fish Called Avalon did – so he duly booked me a table on the terrace where I could also indulge in my 3 favourite occupations: wine, good food and people watching – preferably all at the same time!
That done, I then sought advice concerning shopping malls; one source had told me : Aventura, – another pushed me heavily towards Sawcross Mills (further away, but more interesting in terms of ‘deals’).
And this is where Joseph’s incredible intuition and knowledge came into play… He strongly suggested that, should I only have time for one Mall, it should be Sawcross.
So far, so good. I then arrived at The Eden Roc, this world-renowned 4 Star Hotel and checked into my room – only to discover the hot water tap did not work in my ‘jacuzzi’ bath (have you ever had a COLD Jacuzzi?). There were other malfunctions: the fridge was not cold (you are going to say I am obsessed with temperature!), the radio only blared, – possibly to the inconvenience of my neighbours, the TV control did not work – anyhow, all was sorted out in the end and I ultimately met Joseph…
A most delightful entertaining man. He told me that many of ‘his’ guests now communicate with him directly via Facebook. Having suitably ‘eye balled’ each other (I as a guest who wanted to ensure that his advice would fit my requirements, he to make sure that he ‘got me’), I entered with the now-renamed Joey into an adventure for the rest of my sojourn; this included him advising not go down for a planned meal on First Street as the major free 100 Year Music Festival was on.
Without my saying anything, he had understood/perceived that I was not a crowd person = I do not do crowds. No judgement here – no right or wrong but carnivals are not for me and Joey had identified that…
Finally, knowing that I was due to check out in a few days, Joey called my room and asked if he could come up as he had something for me; it turned out to be a book about Miami with a personal card in which he had sent me his best wishes.
In summary, while the hotel certainly did not meet my expectations, what made the stay work was the graciousness of the staff and the wonderful wizardry of Joey, my New Best Friend in Miami….
© Catherine A Baudino, PhD – Eden Roc, April 2015.