When I opened my travel agency I searched for a name.  “The Concierge” was my choice.  It means “an all-knowing grandee, with well honed resources and inside savvy.”  My husband felt that most people couldn’t spell or pronounce it, let alone know what it means.  We used Find Us Travel and I became Mrs. Findus.

The world’s best concierge, according to Virtuoso, in 2007 was Frank Lalno of the Stafford Hotel in London.  Actually, some of the best belong to the international association of  “Les Clefs d’Or” (literally translated “The Gold Keys”).  Members wear a small, gold pin and are the best of the best.

In New York I’ve asked the concierge for a good table at my favorite restaurant, a ticket to a sold-out Broadway show or an invitation to a fashion show.  I always give them as much time as possible, and that’s important!  And the tip?  It can be in a thank you handshake ahead of time, and when you leave the hotel so that you’ll be remembered.  How much?  Let the tip reflect the extent of the effort.

Most five star hotels have a concierge.  It’s part of their appeal for the traveling public.  Should a hotel not have a concierge, ask at the front desk or the bellman who might be able to help you.  At the Marriott Vinoy in St. Petersburg they have a car for hotel guests which can take you to a restaurant, the theatre or even to shop.  The Fairmont, Chicago offers a Bentley.  Four Seasons New York, a Rolls Royce.

There is the tale of Lalo finding an interior designer to gift wrap a Mercedes for a guest’s wife.  The best I ever did myself  was to find a monkey grinder and his monkey for a client’s daughter’s birthday.  A concierge can be your best friend.