photography by PHUONG NGUYEN
Ever wonder how certain travelers do it? You know, the people who get room upgrades, free amenities, and the royal treatment on vacation. Well, you’re in luck, because we’re spilling the knowledge hotels don’t want you to know—straight from the mouths of the experts behind them. We spoke with concierge pros for their best kept secrets, and here’s what we got them to divulge:
1. Getting your room upgraded is actually easy.
The secret? “Just ask,” says Donel Fernandes, Assistant Front of House Manager at Conrad Miami. And emphasize special occasions. “If you’re coming for a honeymoon, birthday, or anniversary, make sure to call ahead of time so the front desk can go the extra mile to make your stay memorable,” he says. “We host many guests who come with romantic plans, so we love to decorate the room with flowers or arrange an intimate dinner on the beach with candles,” says Carlos Ruvalcaba, Experience Concierge at Hilton Los Cabos.
2. Your hotel’s app or rewards program is packed with deals.
Chances are, the hotel you’re staying at has some kind of rewards program, app, or email list. And just by signing up, you’re eligible for discounts, free Wi-Fi and more. At Hilton, for example, upgrades are standard. “The best secret to getting a room upgrade at Hilton is to sign up for the HHonors program,” says Ruvalcaba. Signing up is also a great way to communicate with your hotel. “Addressing problems through the Conrad Concierge app helps issues get resolved quickly and efficiently because our entire team has access to it,” says Fernandes.
3. You’re missing out on lots of free stuff.
From extra pillows, hangers, a tooth brush, stamps for postcards, electric converters, and more—the sky's the limit when it comes to what the concierge can provide. “We do it all,” says Ruvalcaba. “We’ve arranged birthday cakes, lemonade jars, beer, every type of wine, champagne, fruit baskets, charcuterie boards, and chocolate dipped strawberries.” he says. And if your hotel has on-site dining, even better. “Ask for complimentary drink vouchers and VIP access to nightclubs, too,” says Fernandes.
4. Don’t bother planning activities in advance.
Why? The front desk has knowledge that goes way beyond TripAdvisor. “The concierge is a local expert, so he or she always knows the best restaurants, activities, and attractions to recommend,” says Ruvalcaba. You may not even need to plan your days at all, thanks to fully-baked itineraries your hotel can provide. “We’ve hand-picked a selection of locally inspired one, three, and five-hour experiences profiling local takes on culture, art, food, and adventure,” says Fernandes. Hitting up a game or concert? “Seek assistance for the purchase of tickets for sporting events or concerts,” says Fernandes. “Our concierges can often get discounted tickets for these types of events.”
5. Leave transportation troubles to the front desk.
Don’t stress about getting around. “Your concierge can help with booking travel arrangements and transportation via taxis, limousines, boats, and more,” says Ruvalcaba. “Also, ask about coordinating various tours of local attractions. Every detail matters to us,” says Ruvalcaba.
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