Make the Hotel Concierge Your BFF
The concierge can be your new BFF at family friendly hotels everywhere. This can be a revelation if you don’t know what a concierge does or are slightly intimidated by old Hollywood stereotypes.
As my family has grown up, I have discovered that there is no better friend than the concierge at a good hotel. They are there to provide exceptional customer service to guests.
He or she can be a fount of ideas for what to do with the kids. They can book impossible tables, save you money on attractions, and bail Dads out of silly mistakes. Let me explain with some practical examples.
My family and another family spent Christmas in Montreal, Canada. Our challenge was keeping five kids from ages seven to 15 active and entertained.
After booking our rooms, I emailed the concierge for ideas about where to eat and what attractions were best for our two girls and our friends’ three boys. The concierge gave us several ideas about attractions to see and we identified two family friendly restaurants for special meals, all before we ever arrived in Montreal.
I followed up with a telephone call to the concierge to ask him to book a birthday cake for my 12-year old daughter Christine at Gibby’s Restaurant in Old Montreal. The concierge set our families up with a good table in this wonderful steak house in a 200 year old stone building, the converted Youville Stables. The cake, the food and the atmosphere were memorable for everyone but Julien had gone one step further.
The concierge informed the hotel staff of Christine’s birthday so she was greeted by name with birthday wishes on our arrival by the doorman, the bellhop, the front desk clerk and the General Manager. There were even chocolates with her name waiting in our room. It was Christine’s best birthday ever thanks to her BFF, the concierge.
Reservations at a restaurant are straight forward but a good hotel concierge does so much more. We obtained tickets to the Montreal Biodome through the concierge along with clear directions to the attraction. All the kids, including this writer, loved seeing and interacting with the animals in four different environments at the Biodome.
One concierge also bailed Dad out of a silly error. My friend and fellow Dad had packed his 7 year old son’s bag but he included only one pair of pants for the week. After a discrete, face to face explanation of our problem, the concierge identified where we could buy a few more pairs of boy’s pants early Saturday morning before we started touring. The store was reasonably priced and in walking distance though Montreal’s Underground City so it wasn’t even necessary to go outside. Concierge to the rescue!
Discounts and Local Knowledge
Other family friendly hotels also have wonderful concierges or smart front desk staff. At Hilton Mystic in Mystic, Connecticut, the hotel is across the street from the Beluga whales, African penguins and many fish of the Mystic Aquarium.
The hotel not only offers Aquarium tickets at 20% off but they describe the special encounter programs that are available. A concierge who gives you inside tips and a 20% discount is my friend.
In Utah, Hilton Salt Lake City Center is a business hotel that understands that the family sometimes comes along on the business trip. Ask the concierge Gary about family skiing and he will describe the differences between Park City, Deer Valley and Canyons. Then, this hotel concierge goes the extra step and offers the local tip that discount ski packages are available about three blocks from the hotel. Local knowledge makes all the difference.
Part of being a family friendly hotel is offering families personalized service. On your next trip try calling or emailing the concierge before your arrival and then see him or her when you check in. It’s a simple travel tip that can turn a good trip into a great trip.
Have an experience with a great Hilton hotel concierge? Let us know in the comments!
Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!