“A hotel employee whose job is to assist guests by booking tours, making theatre and restaurant reservations, etc.”
While some people swear by them, I rarely utilise concierges. If I am going back to the same hotel time after time, then I may build a relationship with the concierge. Over time, they can do my work for me. Stories abound about concierges who can get guests into “that restaurant” or a “seat at the sell out show”. But I am often only in a place for one or two nights or I visit a city once.
I also know that many concierges get commissions from the places they recommend which may make them biased about their recommendations. Sometimes, they don’t really understand what I want and I can feel like a number.
I have four replacements for the concierge:
This review website has 53 million reviews of restaurants, stores and activities. Searching for the best Thai restaurant in New York , the best laundromats in LA or the best ice cream in Columbus, Ohio is ridiculously easy.
This travel review website can get overwhelming sometimes because of the volume of reviews. Unlike Yelp, these reviews are usually by travellers and not by locals so give a different perspective. Usually uncannily accurate.
Putting a status update that says “Visiting Columbus, Ohio soon, what are the must dos?” or “Good restaurant for brunch in New York” has netted me great results. Not only have I got great tips from friends of friends, sometimes, I have ended up meeting with and going out with those people for some amazingly fun nights discovering what they think are the best places in a community. I have eaten the most amazing food, met local characters. Once I ended up at an underground art opening in Berlin, Germany on the basis of these connections!
4. My kind of places
Wherever I go, I find the shops, bookstores, café or galleries — that match my interest and taste. Asking the fellow customers or staff at these places can get some great tips. Asking, one of the staff at the clothes shop I have just bought a shirt at, where is a good bar, restaurant , or whatever has netted me amazing advice. These are locals who know their area and chances are they match my style!