They have been called personal miracle workers, lifesaver, string puller, and your new best friend.
We asked some of our world class Park City concierges to speak to us about the many hats they wear, and what you should know about how the system works.
By Laura Jackson
1. What does “concierge” mean anyway?
Concierge is a French word meaning “keeper of the keys” that dates back to the Middle Ages when concierges would hold the keys to various rooms in a castle and would accommodate the needs of visiting nobility.
2. A concierge is your insider connection to all things Park City.
“A concierge is your connection to the fun and exciting adventures only a ‘local’ would know. Concierges often bring years of experience living in the area, and that can be priceless for our guests,” explained Christy Bambery, Lead Concierge at the Waldorf Astoria.
“A concierge can take your stay from a 3 star to a 5 star vacation. It’s a concierge’s job to know about what’s going on and when,” said Leslie Stice, Concierge at The St. Regis Deer Valley.
3. I know a concierge can help me with restaurant reservations, but what else does a concierge do?
“All in the span of a day, our roles include being tour guides, drivers, event planners, dog walkers, sommeliers, party planners, personal shoppers, interpreters, adventure guides and so much more,” said Gibbie Whelehan, Chef Concierge at Montage Deer Valley.
“In times of a guest emergency, a concierge can do everything from changing flight reservations to filling a prescription,” explained Amanda MacIsaac, Chef Concierge at The St. Regis.
“We can find a guitar string, yoga studio, in-room makeup and hair artists, and order a birthday cake with balloons within a moment’s notice. Nothing is too small or unusual for a team of experienced concierges to handle,” said Bambery.
4. It’s all about relationships.
“Often by the time a guest checks in, they want to hug you because you have been working with them for weeks or even months
to help plan the perfect family vacation, wedding anniversary celebration or annual trip. We are fortunate that as concierges, we often get the opportunity to form longer relationships with our guests than many other areas of the hotel,” said MacIsaac.
“Park City is small enough to still function as a close, supportive community. As concierges, we are able to form great relationships with our vendors that allow us to accommodate many last-minute requests,” said Whelehan.
5. What are some of the more interesting ways a concierge has helped guests?
If hotel walls could talk, especially around the concierge desk:
“Arranging for a private mariachi band to play in a guest’s room.”
“Pinning up the entire back of a bride’s split wedding dress just moments before the ceremony.”
“Planning romantic sleigh rides with champagne.”
“After months of helping plan the perfect wedding proposal, one guest actually mailed me the engagement ring in advance for safekeeping, talk about trust!”
“Arranging for all sorts of special food requests from Kosher to late-night cravings.”
Many proposals and other special occasions have been orchestrated flawlessly thanks to the efforts and exceptional skills of a concierge.
6. Preplanning can make a world of difference.
“Many of our guests come to us from big cities where virtually every service is at their disposal 24 hours a day. They can get a cab with the wave of a wrist, an excellent dinner at one of hundreds of restaurants, or tickets to every type of event in an instant. The resources in Park City are much more limited and even those resources are sometimes taxed by large numbers of guests, especially during peak season. We love to make sure our guests are aware of this and plan in advance,” said Bambery.
7. What happens if a concierge cannot deliver on your request?
Even though being a miracle worker is often part of the job description, there are times that a request is just not possible. It’s up to the concierge to find the perfect Plan B. Stice explains, “We had a guest who wanted to take a family portrait on top of the mountain at sunrise. Though they asked us to arrange for the ski resort to open the chair lifts early just for them, this was simply not going to happen. We were able to locate a dedicated photographer who spent over a week scouting out the perfect (and perfectly safe) location to take a photo that looked just like the family was sitting on top of the mountain at sunrise.” Once again, problem solved.
8. A hotel concierge can create the “wow” factor.
Having staff members dedicated to going the extra mile for guests can make a world of difference for your hotel experience. When a concierge finds out about guests celebrating a special occasion, several local luxury hotels are known to deliver special surprises such as flowers or chocolates. Concierges are also experts at planning the perfect family activity designed for fun for all ages.
9. What can I do to facilitate the best hotel concierge experience.
The more information you can provide the better. “The best experience is often achieved when a guest provides us detailed information on their likes and dislikes, whether it’s regarding a restaurant reservation or planning the perfect family activity,” explains Whelehan.
10. Park City concierges are building a new association.
The Mountain West Concierge Association was recently created by local concierges dedicated to providing Park City’s guests with the best experience possible. “The new association can be a great way for Park City’ concierges to share information and resources,” said MacIsaac. “This ultimately helps not just our guests, but our city as well.”
Special thanks to:
Amanda MacIsaac and Leslie Stice, The St. Regis Deer Valley Gibbie Whelehan and Katie Marton, Montage Deer Valley Christy Bambery, Waldorf Astoria
For more information on the concierge association contact: email@example.com