CONCIERGE DIARIES is a series that depicts destinations through the eyes of a local luxury hotel’s concierge. They understand luxury travel and local culture, and can be a wealth of information. In our digital age, the role of the concierge has changed and evolved drastically, and the largely tech-driven millennials interact with the traditional notion of concierge in vastly different ways than previous generations. While many have their doubts about the longevity and viability about the role of concierge, nothing beats face-to-face contact and genuine, personalized service.
As a millennial, I love my crowdsourced reviews and custom-tailored recommendations in equal parts and make it point to chat with locals and insiders as much as possible to gain a thorough understanding of a city from many personalities and perspectives.
The purpose of Concierge Diaries is to demystify the tipping dilemmas, to inform travelers of services that can enhance their trips, to discover a city from the eyes of a local resident and luxury hotel insider, and to answer questions that people are hesitant to ask. With that, if there are burning questions that you’ve also wanted to ask, feel free to put them in the comments below and in the next installment, I’ll add it the list.
1) How long have you worked at Hotel 1000 and how many members are part of your concierge team?
I’ve been here for 5 years and there’s 3 permanent members and 1 temporary member, who rotates as needed.
2) How long have you been in the hospitality industry?
I’ve been in the industry for 16 years.
3) How long have you been in Seattle?
I’ve called Seattle home for many years now — about 15 years.
4) What kinds of services does the concierge offer? How far in advance should someone contact you?
We cover everything from reservations, tours, restaurants, salon appointments, transportation, etc. In some cases, we’ve also acted as a travel agent, booking all the necessary transportation, from planes to trains to cars. We also assist with parcels and packages for guests, dogsitting, floral deliveries, special arrangements for special occasions, and much more. You name it, and we should be able to get it done.
Depends on the time of the year, but it’s best if the guest contacts us as soon as they start planning their trip to Seattle — hopefully it’s at least a week in advance.
5) For what kinds of services is it customary to tip and how much?
If you believe your encounter will be a singular encounter (room service, bellman, turn-down service, shoe shine, etc.), then a small token of appreciation is always appropriate. When it comes to those individuals on the property who have set themselves apart to enhance your stay throughout (valet, housekeeper, concierge, desk agent, etc.), then a token of your esteem upon departure is a nice touch. If they have made enough of an impression where they know you on a first name basis and vice-versa, a tip with a note is always appreciated.
6) What’s one thing most people don’t know about the property?
A lot of people don’t know that there are condos above the hotel — the first 14 floors belong to the hotel, while floors 15-24 are privately-owned condos. There’s a rooftop terrace on the 25th floor but it’s stritcly for residents. It’s also interesting to note that the building used to be a sporting goods store before the hotel opened in the mid 2000s.
7) What’s one thing you would want any visitor to know about Seattle?
If you’re looking for the freshest catch, try Lake Union — that’s where the freshest seafood arrives in Seattle.
8) What do you think is the best example of local culture and luxury travel in Seattle?
The ultimate example of experiential luxury travel in Seattle is shopping for produce at Pike Place Market and then cooking your finds at Diane’s Market Kitchen. The entire experience lasts about 4 hours and you can be as involved as you want while making appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, desserts, etc.
9) What sets this luxury hotel apart from others in the city?
We are empowered – any valet, any front desk, any housekeeper, any person on the property can add the personal touches as they see fit. It doesn’t have to go through a long hierarchy that a luxury chain hotel generally has to deal with. The personal touches are the cornerstone of this hotel — let us know about any sort of celebration or special occasion, and we’ll make it memorable.
10) With the rise of millennials in the luxury travel space, how do you think your job has changed or evolved?
Generally, millennials rely on technology a lot and our younger travelers come with a preexisting curated list. As a result, there can be pushback at times from guests when we offer our suggestions. I personally like the approach of talking to the guest and getting to know them and then making recommendations accordingly — something technology has made difficult at times.
11) Personal favorites:
Restaurant? Art of the Table
Bar? Suite 410
Thing to do? Experience the magnificent waters that surround the city
Thing to see? The Mansion District on Capitol Hill
12) What is your biggest guest pet peeve?
Guests who come to us with a list that a friend who visited Seattle four years created for them. And then they spend 10 minutes arguing with us about our suggestions.
13) What is the most common question that you’re asked?
Should I really go up in the Space Needle? My answer: would you go to Paris without going up to the Eiffel Tower?
14) Are there any apps guests should download to make their stay easier?
OneBusAway and Uber
15) A few final insider tips?
When it comes to choosing what room to book, regardless of what any website tells you, the waterfront room with a view is absolutely worth it. Also, there’s an ice cream cruise that departs every Sunday, rain or shine, which is a must in the city! Beyond that, my biggest tip for Seattle is to walk wherever and whenever possible.
I’m Nyssa. I started The Cultureur in August 2012, almost a decade after contracting the travel bug while on a Model United Nations conference in Russia and Finland.
And from there, when I took the first step in solo international travel and decided to study abroad in college,
there was no looking back, and I ended up living, studying, working, and volunteering in 6 countries (the U.S., the UK, France, Iceland, India, and Germany) and traveling to 50+ others.
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