Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WELCOME -

Ihave al­ways been a bit sus­pi­cious of the ho­tel concierge. Though I have no ev­i­dence or ex­pe­ri­ence to back it up, I as­sume that they’re paid for their rec­om­men­da­tions and have lit­tle use­ful knowl­edge of the places they’re sug­gest­ing you visit.

It all changed when I was plan­ning the best and most in­ex­pen­sive way to get from Charles de Gaulle Air­port to my Parisian ho­tel. An in­ter­net search of­fered the prac­ti­cal side of things – which train to catch, what sta­tion to get off at, ap­prox­i­mately how much a taxi would cost.

But there were no an­swers to my real ques­tions: Is this route safe? How many stair­cases will I have to lug my suit­case up and down? What are the op­por­tu­nity costs in splurg­ing on a cab rather than tak­ing the more af­ford­able pub­lic trans­port op­tions?

A quick call to the ho­tel concierge and not only did I get my so­lu­tion – catch the train and then walk a block or two – but I found an or­a­cle of lo­cal wis­dom for the rest of my hol­i­day.

On a re­cent trip to New York, I availed my­self of the ser­vices of the concierge in ev­ery ho­tel I went to.

All were help­ful in putting a use­ful spin on all the re­search I’d done or mak­ing bet­ter sug­ges­tions, but none were bet­ter than Gra­ham Thomas at The Beek­man ho­tel in down­town Man­hat­tan.

Re­sid­ing in one of most lus­cious and lux­u­ri­ant lob­bies in all the land, Gra­ham pre­vi­ously spent nine years at the his­toric Wal­dorf As­to­ria.

He’s made it his mis­sion to know what you want and know how to get it, whether it’s a din­ner book­ing (there are ways to se­cure a table at Balt­hazar, but per­haps madam would en­joy din­ner at The Odeon), tick­ets to Hamil­ton (ex­pen­sive, but ap­par­ently not im­pos­si­ble), or di­rec­tions to the near­est ATM or sub­way sta­tion. So next time you’re in a ho­tel, ask the concierge for help. That’s what they’re there for.


ES­CAPE So many ho­tels em­brace the con­cept of res­i­den­tial chic in their lob­bies and pub­lic spa­ces and The Beek­man is no ex­cep­tion. From the minute you walk in you feel you could flop into a chair and share a G&T with a friend and for­get that you’re not...

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