The hotel concierge wears a lot of hats: They're reservation takers, ticket holders, schedulers, organizers, keepers of lost-of-found and problem solvers.
Among everything they do, they also hold the keys to the best information in and around their city. With all they do on a day-to-day basis, it's hard to really know what insight your hotel concierge has... until you ask them.
A good hotel concierge can be the portal to the most interesting, engaging and experiential things in a new city. That, in turn, could result in memories that keep your hotel top of mind.
With Fall fast approaching in the U.S., there's a mass exodus of tourists trading in travel for school books, business meetings and back-to-life reality. But the Fall season also means great deals, fewer crowds and - if you're lucky - some of the best weather months for walking around one of the best cities in the U.S.: New York.
New York is consistently rated in the top 10 most visited cities in the nation, and is one of the best places for people of all ages to enjoy a vacation. But there's so much to do. To get a handle on the hottest happenings in NYC - and to give a glimpse of how the concierge can truly be your guest's guide - I went straight to one of the top concierges in the city, Charlie Loor, Chief Concierge at Hotel Chandler and a Member of the New York City Association of Hotel Concierges. Here's what he had to say:Q: There's so much to do in NYC it's hard to know where to start. If someone only has a weekend to space in the Big Apple, what would you put on their to-do list?A:
Here is a list of things I would suggest to do in the Big Apple for the weekend:
Q: Can you offer some tips on getting into those hard-to-get-tickets-to Broadway shows?A:
- Broadway Show: Jersey Boys and Book of Mormon are some of my favorites right now
- Brunch on the Schooner America sailboat
- Horse and carriage ride through Central Park
- Museum of Natural History
- Benjamin's Steakhouse for dinner
- Meatpacking District for a Saturday night drink
- Statue of Liberty visit
- Helicopter Tour over Manhattan
- Gelato at Eataly
That is a secret! I have a longstanding professional relationship with a company that helps to get tickets to these shows. Ticket brokers and third-party ticket vendors use his company for access to events (Broadway, concerts, sporting events, etc) not only in New York City, but across the United States. Whether it's last minute or sold out, I would be able to get you in. So the best tip I can give is to see the concierge for your tickets!Q: If you could design an itinerary that's titled 'Off the beaten track in Manhattan", what would be on it?A:
Here is a list of what would be on my "off the beaten track in Manhattan" itinerary:
Create your own pizza - Instead of simply trying the pizza, why not learn how to make your own? Pizza a Casa Pizza School will teach you how to make artisanal pizzas without using fancy ingredients or high-tech equipment. Instead, students learn the school's genius pizza recipe and how to bring the delightful art home to recreate again and again.
Learn the trapeze- Trapeze School New York (TSNY) has an array of levels and class styles from flying trapeze to silks, and from trampoline to acrobatics. The classes are designed for anyone who has ever wanted to experience flying gracefully through the air.
Browse the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market- One unique market is the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market that is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9AM-5PM. There are over one hundred vendors selling vintage clothing, jewelry, antiques, furniture, art, housewares, decor, and more.
Enlighten your inner Beatles fan- Signing up for an Ultimate Beatles Tour can help you learn more about New York (as well as Beatlemania!) while exploring sites like the Ed Sullivan Theater, Carnegie Hall, The Plaza Hotel, Strawberry Fields in Central Park, and the Dakota Apartments.Q: Let's talk food! Best deli? Best pizza? Best Italian? Best fine dining?A:
Best deli in New York City is Katz's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side - they have the best pastrami sandwiches. Best pizza is found at John's Pizza in the Theater District, and the best pizza you will find in Manhattan. Best Italian restaurant, and one of my favorites, is Il Tinello in Midtown West. Best fine dining is Jean-Georges on Central Park West and Juni at Hotel Chandler, which opened this summer. Juni is a 50-seat restaurant offering a seasonally-evolving, vegetable-driven menu by Michelin-starred Chef Shaun Hergatt. Q: What are some tourist mishaps that you can tell others about, so that they don't make the same mistakes?A:
One very common mistake that tourists make when traveling to New York City, is taking cars from the airports that they don't know much about. Many drivers offer transportation to your hotel for triple cost of a taxi, or privately arranged service, but travelers to New York don't know what it should cost and overpay. Much of the time these drivers are unlicensed or uninsured. I recommend only using a car service you arrange in advance with your hotel concierge.Q: Describe the quintessential date night in NYC.A:
quintessential date night NYC would start with a cocktail at "Upstairs", a notable rooftop bar, and then to dinner at the Seafire Grill. After dinner, head into the theater district to catch a Broadway Show, and end the romantic evening with a horse and carriage ride through Central Park.This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com