Offbeat New York

New York Concierges

Need a reservation at the hottest restaurant in town? Want a ticket to the Tony Award-winning musical for tonight? Crave the vest pizza the city has to offer at midnight? Sound like impossibilities? For a professional concierge, these requests are just in a day's work.

A concierge is the best friend a traveler can have. His or her job is to make a stay in New York superlative, whether that means providing directions, getting the wrinkles out of a suit in time for a special presentation, or arranging a special welcome bouquet and bottle of Champagne.

The easiest way to access the special skills of a conceirge is to stay at a hotel that offers the services of one as part of the hotel's amenities. But you don't have to wait until arrival to start utilizing their vast knowledge base. A professional conceirge will make this multi-faceted city very accessible, even creating itineraries for your stay months before you arrive.

How do concierges keep up with the city that never sleeps? More important than all the reading ,attending shows, and eating at restaurants -- which concierges od on a continuing basis -- is networking with other concierges and talking with people from other hotels.

Concierges in New York city keep in contact with each other through two prestigious membership organizations: the New York City Association of Hotel Concierges and the international Les Clefs d'Or (pronounced lay clay door which means "keys of gold.")

NYCAHC membership includes 150 conceirges (about a third of the concierges who work in Nyew York) representing 60 hotels in the city. NYCAHC conceirges pride themselves on providing the best service to visitors and helping their guests get the most of their New York experience. Member concierges wear gold keys with the New York skyline.

Les Clefs d'Or claims just 92 concierge members in New York who have survived rigorous exams as well as surprise visits and phone call requests from the association before they received their coveted gold key pins.

One of the most frequently asked questions from travelers is how much to tip a concierge. There's no hard and fast guideline for a cash gartuity -- you should give what you feel comfortable with, and what you can afford. Conceirges are paid staff of the hotel nad don't depend on your tips for their salary. A tip is a way of saying thank you for a job well done, but a simple "thank you" goes a long way as well.

To find one of the New York area hotels that have a certified concierge contact the New York City Association of Hotel Concierges at 212 606-4694.

Adapted from The Concierge Connection by Melissa Klurman and What's New in NYC A Publication of NYC & Company
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