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A couple enjoys the city skyline from The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong.

How a Concierge Can Elevate Your Stay

Article by Ellen Ranta Olson 09.27.2017

Your concierge can do more for you than you may think. Leverage the knowledge and experience of your local expert to enjoy a smooth and memorable trip. 

In this age of online reviews and social media sharing, the personalized service and knowledge of a concierge can feel like a rare find. But for some concierges, more timeless methods of personal connections and regional knowledge still trump the quick finds offered by the internet. 

A concierge is your knowledgeable insider in a destination.

Concierges are experts of their hometowns and often spend their free time exploring and making connections so they can offer their guests an experienced perspective. “When guests ask for directions to a destination, I like to ask if I can offer suggestions of attractions along their route that may be of interest,” says Ric Lee, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. “Because I know the city so well, I’m able to offer tips for restaurants or shops that they may not find otherwise. It’s a true pleasure to help people discover the more hidden gems of San Francisco.”

And those suggestions can extend far beyond restaurants, shops and guided tours, says Noel Lanzas, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. “For guests who may be looking for something beyond the traditional pool or beach experience, I like to arrange truly memorable activities like yachting, paddle boarding or kayaking at sunset on Biscayne Bay or down the Miami River.” 

Exploring the coasts Fort Lauderdale, Florida, via sailboat.

A concierge can anticipate what you need, often before you do.

From reading body language to asking a few strategic questions, they’re able to garner enough information for an educated guess on what guests might be looking for. “If a guest comes back and tells us that they rode their bike out to the Muir Woods, we can anticipate that they might need a little relaxation and we’re ready to offer them an appointment at the spa or a hot bath drawn that evening,” Lee says.

The outdoor bath encourages relaxation at The Ritz Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay.

A concierge is a trusted resource for your special events and milestones.

When it comes to planning life’s big celebrations, concierges often play an integral role in ensuring that everything goes off without a hitch. “One of my most memorable events was executing an exceptional wedding for a guest, all while the city was practically shut down due to a blizzard,” says James Portner, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia. A concierge’s local experience and long list of cultivated resources can offer a quick fix when challenges arise.

And for some concierges, their role goes beyond just planning the big event. “What’s so lovely about having been at this property since it opened is that for our families who return every year, it’s like they’re coming to see a friend. I’m also a big photography aficionado and offer family portraits for our guests — some families have an annual portrait that starts with their children at 4 or 5 years old and spans their whole life,” Lanzas says.

A private seaside dining experience at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach

A concierge wants to craft a personalized experience for you.

By getting to know their guests, concierges can build unique plans that help travelers make the most of their time and allow them to experience things they may otherwise miss, from private camel treks to gallery tours.

“As an artist myself, I really enjoy creating special itineraries for guests during events like Art Basel,” Lanzas says. “There’s so much to take in that it can be overwhelming for visitors to plan their own visit. I can create itineraries based on their personal art interests, whether contemporary or traditional, so they can make the most of their time.”

A traveler explores the desert on camelback.

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