One of the most delightful “finds” in the travel world is the resource known as the hotel concierge. Imagine a person whose sole goal is to make your stay more pleasant. That is the job of a concierge. Though the salary of a typical hotel concierge is not extremely high, he earns a high percentage of his (or her) salary through tips and gratuities. The better service provided, the more tips he will earn so it’s to his benefit to be helpful to you, the traveler. And whether you’re seniors enjoying a much-anticipated vacation, or you’re traveling with children and grandchildren, you’ll benefit from the services of a well-trained concierge.
The origin of the term and role is found in Medieval France. The word concierge comes from the term comte des cierges. Translated that means Keeper of the Candle and referred to the position of the castle employee charged with caring for visiting noblemen. Later, in the 1800’s the concierge was an officer of the king who helped to discharge justice. He and his bailiffs oversaw the prisons and the records kept by the police. Living quarters were within the castle. In Spanish regions these men were known as Portero.
Today the live-in concierge has been replaced by full or part-time guest service workers. The duties of a concierge vary according to the status of the establishment, but in general it is a position much like a butler in which the guest service worker tends to the personal business of the guest. The job may involve booking dinner reservations, printing boarding passes, finding limo service or spa services in the area. It is often seen as a means of providing recommendations for travelers new to the area—a sort of promotion of local tourism.
In luxury accommodations the concierge may book private jet charters, luxury yachts, exotic car rentals and mansion stays. There are concierge businesses such as Bluefish Concierge Services which cater only to the wealthy and their needs.
Also in the world of the elite, there exists an organization known as Clefs D’or or The Clay Door. This organization was established in 1929 by legendary Parisian concierge Ferdinand Gillet. This organization’s motto is “In Service Through Excellence” and members wear a gold pin decorated with golden keys. Clefs D’or is a worldwide organization and has an extensive network of contacts with the best of the best—restaurants, spas, hotels, and a host of other amenities.
In the average traveler’s life the concierge is still there to serve you. You’ll get help with your luggage and any messages you may receive. You’ll have a person to ask about dining, entertainment, transportation and local events. You can ask for personal items needed in your hotel room such as a crib or cot for the grandchildren. You can get help with special needs such as medical supplies or the location of the nearest medical help. All of the services of the concierge are done with pleasant attitudes and integrity.
Take advantage of the concierge services at your next holiday destination. You may be surprised to find that your stay will be less stressful and your needs met.