London Hotels Insight provides up-to-date, independent advice for your perfect stay in London. We research guest feedback, meet management and identify hotels at the top of their game.
Personal and hotel concierges: key differences.
In this guest post, Emyr Thomas from concierge service Bon Vivant shares his thoughts on how a bespoke concierge service such as the one offered by his company differs from a hotel concierge.
Many luxury hotels have world-class amenities and may also host some of the hottest restaurants or bars, so the advantages of using hotel concierges are self-evident. They are often superbly networked within their peer group, like Mustafa El’Omari pictured below of the Montague on the Gardens luxury boutique hotel, who has spent 25 years as a concierge.
The concierge desk is a familiar site in most hotels and a necessity for any luxury hotel. The concierge is available from the point of reservation (and increasingly via social media these days like Frank Laino of the Stafford pictured below) but has its greatest use when you’re resident at the hotel.
How then can a concierge service like Bon Vivant add value in a different way to a hotel concierge?
Both a concierge service and a hotel concierge need to know their city inside out – the best restaurants, coolest bars, most relaxing spas and off-the-radar attractions. New venues need to be visited and new experiences tested to make sure only the best are recommended. But with hundreds of visitors passing through a larger hotel, it can be difficult to focus on personal service, which is perhaps where a concierge service with an individual account manager like Bon Vivant might come into its own. The best concierge services provide a personal concierge, so you deal with the same person at all times. He or she will learn your tastes and know what you need to offer a proactive service, consulting with you at all stages of planning to ensure everything is tailor made just for you.
A concierge service can help you plan an entire trip, from choosing a destination to booking your flights and advising on the best hotels. In this sense a concierge service can offer truly global assistance.
But the service is not just limited to your travel arrangements. It can arrange every aspect of your life that you don’t have the time, inclination, or expertise to do yourself to help you maximise your free time. This can include arranging holidays, recommending and booking restaurants and bars all over the world, sourcing tickets for the theatre, concerts and VIP events and advising on a range of lifestyle services.
It can also include everyday tasks and errands to help your life run more smoothly (where to find a good cleaner, the best gym, a gift for a loved one or arranging a birthday party, for example) – think of it as your own virtual personal assistant for your leisure time. This range of services provides another key difference – a concierge service is designed for everyday living in a city to free up your time and is not limited to special occasions or trips.
Concierge services are aimed at people who lead busy lives, who need someone to help with running their lives – it’s for people who would rather spend their time actually enjoying life instead of planning to enjoy it.
A concierge service will strive to negotiate special privileges and benefits for its members. Whether it’s an upgrade and additional complimentary benefits at top luxury and boutique hotels, priority reservation and complimentary drinks at the best restaurants, free entry to exclusive clubs, or discounts at a host of other lifestyle services, your concierge service can add value, make you a VIP and save you money.
A concierge service is not for everyone – some people will always choose to do things themselves, others will enjoy spending hours on research and some will feel they just don’t need external help. But for those in the know, a concierge service can help with every travel, lifestyle and leisure need that they don’t have the time, expertise or inclination to do themselves.
And if your hotel has a concierge, do make sure you make full use of them. They are often highly-trained individuals who have mastered the art of service with knowledge built over many years and will offer invaluable expertise to make your holiday memorable. London Hotels Insight has previously interviewed some of the best including Frank Laino at The Stafford and the concierge at Hazlitts in Soho.