You had the perfect wedding, and everything went just the way you imagined it. Now it's time for the honeymoon, but after all the effort you devoted to wedding planning, all you want to do is kick back and let someone else make your day-to-day arrangements. Luckily, hotels have a handy helper, called a concierge, who is there to help you make the most of your honeymoon. All you have to do is ask.
Can Do Attitude
Found at four- and five-star hotels and resorts, a concierge is a member of the hotel staff who assists guests with information and services. The concierge's main function is to provide you with the best experiences outside the hotel. He or she will advise you on local must-sees, offer suggestions for excursions and can make it all happen. Concierge service is complimentary, and it provides as much or as little assistance as you like.
The best concierges belong to an elite organization called Les Clefs d'Or or "keys of gold." Their 3,300 members work in 37 countries and wear a lapel pin featuring two crossed gold keys to exemplify the utmost in professionalism.
Beyond arranging your sightseeing excursions, these pros can book spa treatments and give shopping recommendations. They also make dinner reservations and get hard-to-score seats—World Series, anyone? Concierges have relationships with area vendors; their Rolodexes are packed with the names of fellow hospitality helpers, and they're hooked into the latest local happenings and hot spots. Plus, those names have weight: Hollywood hangout Spago, for example, is more likely to have a table for The Ritz-Carlton than for "the Joneses."
Many concierges have a list of global contacts too. If you're visiting multiple destinations on your honeymoon, be sure to tell him. He'll give his colleagues at your next stop the heads-up as to your needs, likes and dislikes. Together, they can arrange for luggage transportation as well as for special welcome gifts, like chilled champagne in your room.
If you think you'll want to make ample use of the concierge's services, contact him as soon as you've booked your room. Send an e-mail that includes a few details about you, your length of stay and your requests. Do try to be specific, though. "We'd like to see a great show" may sound reasonable, but the concierge has never met you, so he won't know that you've seen Cirque du Soleil three times. Saying things like, "We love jazz" or "We've always wanted to try sushi," gives him something to go on.
Upon arrival, stop by the concierge desk and introduce yourself, letting him know if your plans have changed or if you have any other requests. If you didn't contact the concierge before your trip, don't worry; you can still use the service. Just keep in mind that some things may have to be booked early.
"Part Merlin, part Houdini, concierges make the impossible happen." That's how the Clefs d'Or's mission statement puts it. However, be realistic about your requests. Snagging seats for a sold-out performance of The Producers may be a piece of cake, but having dinner with Matthew Broderick and his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, won't happen. Still, some dreams really do come true. For example, one groom mentioned to Kelly Richie, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, and a member of Les Clefs d'Or, that his bride had always wanted to ride in a cable car to the tune of Tony Bennett singing I Left My Heart in San Francisco. Richie arranged for an impersonator to sing as the couple were boarding a cable car.
Gratuities are accepted. Generally, they range from $5 to $20 and should reflect the level of assistance you received.