When staying at a hotel, you’ve no doubt spotted the concierge desk, usually located in the lobby. Have you ever actually used a concierge’s services?

History

Back in the day, the concierge was an officer of the king and a high official of the kingdom. Concierge comes from the French comte des cierges (“keeper of the candles”), servants who tended to traveling aristocrats in the castles of medieval France.

In 19th-century and early 20th-century apartment buildings, particularly in Paris, the concierge was often an on-site resident looking after guests and assisting with any requirements they might have.

Modern times

These days, concierges can be particularly powerful members of staff in large hotels and resorts, with connections at popular restaurants, clubs and theaters. Depending on their influence, they can get guests tickets and reservations that wouldn’t otherwise be easily obtainable.

Concierge staff members with these kinds of relationships are invaluable at properties in large cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Yet, even if they work in smaller cities or on an island such as this, their local knowledge is most helpful when you’re a stranger in a strange land.

If you are interested in truly exploring your nearby surroundings, take full advantage of your hotel’s concierge. Ask about the experiences they recommend and find out exactly what they can arrange for you. You can spend time going through TripAdvisor and the like (which doesn’t hurt) but your concierge may have inside information not reported on such websites; for example, the best night to head to a certain club, which bands are worth seeing, happy hours and specials at different venues.

Really upscale properties have concierges that are willing to go way beyond the call of duty to make their guests happy. Need something important picked up, or are you trying to locate an item that’s difficult to find? Ask your concierge.

“Part of our job is to make the impossible happen,” says Kenneth Abrisor, head concierge at the Mandarin Oriental in New York. “The reward is seeing a guest’s dream come true.”

Weird and wonderful

There are hundreds of stories out there from concierges who have been asked to perform difficult or bizarre tasks.

For example, a celebrated American fashion designer didn’t like the look of the in-flight menu—or the cutlery—on the private jet he and his family were about to take to New York. So he called Jérôme Jeannest, renowned chief concierge at the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City, where he had just checked out. Jeannest immediately ordered a selection of Top Chef specials, including the smoked salmon pizza, from Wolfgang Puck’s flagship Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills. He then arranged purchase of a set of stainless-steel Laguiole flatware from a nearby Williams-Sonoma. A chauffeur then delivered the food and silverware to the jet, making it just in time for takeoff. “I later heard he gave the silverware to the crew after landing,” says Jeannest.

My Personal Concierge Services Ltd.

You don’t have to be staying at a hotel to get concierge service in the Cayman Islands. My Personal Concierge Services Ltd. has been in the industry since 2011 and can take care of your every business and personal need, from shopping to corporate paperwork and party planning to pet-sitting and cleaning services. See www.mpcs.ky.