Les Clefs d’Or Shares Stories of Hotel Concierges Making the Impossible, Possible


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Remember the 1960’s TV show, I Dream of Jeannie? The one with Barbara Eden as a 2,000-year-old genie in love with her astronaut master? She vowed to make all his wishes come true and if you’ve ever watched an episode, you may have found yourself wishing you too had your own personal genie. Imagine the impossible things you could ask for that would magically would be a lot more interesting.

In the real world, actual genies are hard to come by (they exist, right?), and so, in their absence, luxury concierges around the world have had to step-in to fulfill those extreme requests. Travelers to four- and five-star resorts are learning that as part of their experience, professionals are able to make the impossible, possible. Over-the-top requests and unbelievable tasks have become the norm. Just read some of the examples Les Clefs d’Or, the country’s original hotel lobby concierge association, have heard of real life wishes being granted.The Peninsula New York
Photo Courtesy of The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York is no stranger to assisting guests. And Chef Concierge Frederick Bigler has seen it all, even turning popular idioms into actualities. “In my 25 years of service, I have gladly removed my collar stays, my shoes, given up my cufflinks, the shirts off my back and have even ripped off my belt in order to cater to my guests’ last-minute fashion emergencies and needs,” said Bigler. “[…] You do what it takes to save the day.”

“I had one guest who was moving to China. He discovered too late that he could not take his beloved cat without the proper paperwork and tearfully left her in my hands to resolve the matter. I had to orchestrate the transporting of the cat to the vet, the shots and paperwork, re-reserve the flights and get the fuzzy feline safely to the airport for the next-day flight. It was a bit of a race against time but I was able to reunite the ‘family,’” said Bigler.Willard InterContinental Hotel
Photo Courtesy of The Willard InterContinental Hotel

It’s hard to imagine a time without the internet; but The Willard InterContinental Hotel's Concierge Michael McCleary remembers all too well how things were done in the old days, before Google was a verb.

“During the pre-internet days, a VIP group from Germany requested 30 copies of a Frankfurt newspaper. At the time international newsstands carried only two or three copies and would come the next day. A special order would take several days and I only had one day's notice,” said McCleary. “I called Lufthansa and arranged 30 copies of that newspaper to be carried on that flight and sent a courier out to the airport to pick them up. Not only did they get their papers, it was the same day edition!”The St. Regis New York
Photo Courtesy of The St. Regis New York

They say a dog is a man’s best friend, but we’ll go ahead and say that Maria Wittorp de Jonge, Chef Concierge at St. Regis Hotel New York, might just take that title for how she assisted this next guest.

“A gentleman decided that he wanted a male Chihuahua puppy, no more than 12 weeks old, at 6 p.m. on a Friday evening. A concierge found a breeder who had a litter of Chihuahua puppies that had just been weaned and were ready for new masters,” said Wittorp de Jonge. “The breeder promised to stay late so the guest could come pick out a dog. Not only was the guest impressed, he was surprised. “Oh, I know this breeder! My brother got his dog from them!”genie lamp
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Any well-traveled guest knows that a top-notch concierge is a hotel’s most hidden resource; they are seamstresses, fashion consultants, romance-creators and above all else — miracle workers. Instead of rubbing some magic lamp, turns out all you need to do is ask, and your wish is their command.

As we've seen before, there's no telling what kind of requests will be on the menu for the day. If you're curious, we have a few more you may just want to check out, including a guest who required all meals to be the color green (and not just leafy greens) at Travaasa Austin.

Nicolle Monico

Nicolle is an award-winning writer and Travel Editor using her expertise in the industry to write about luxury travel around the world. You can find her daily searching the web for the latest trends, best new hotels and most beautiful destinations to visit and share with her readers. She's been featured on The Huffington Post, Hard Assets, AMD Entertainment and Remy Martin. In 2014, she was vo...(Read More)

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