I pride myself on being a good packer. I should be–I pack and unpack a suitcase about twice a week. This month alone, I’ve logged 26 days (out of 31) on the road. So I’ve pretty much got packing down to a science. Sure I’ve forgotten things before: toothbrush, running shoes (so much for that workout), sunscreen. All things that I can either go without or find a quick fix. But on my most recent trip to Alexandria, Virginia, I wasn’t so lucky. Thank goodness for an understanding concierge at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco.
As soon as my flight landed at BWI, it hit me that I neglected to pack a rather essential wardrobe item. An unmentionable item. Something to keep the girls in check, if you will. You might be wondering why I didn’t just stick with the underpinning I was wearing. But you see, I had chosen a sundress for my flight (I don’t subscribe to the sweats-and-t-shirt approach to airplane attire). And certain sundresses take care of that sort of thing for you. The idea of wearing that same sundress for the next four days…well, vanity aside, it just wasn’t practical. For starters, I’ve got a bike ride and a four-hour kayak trip in the upcoming days. That dress just wasn’t going to fly.
To the rescue…
With four days full of back-to-back meetings, interviews, and excursions, I knew I didn’t have a spare moment to dedicate to solving my not-so-little (ahem) predicament. So I called on the one person I hoped could help me. The hotel concierge.
With more than a few stories on top-notch hotel service under my belt, I’ve asked many concierges about the oddball requests they get on a daily basis. Everything from theater tickets (not so odd) to a private audience with the Queen of England (seriously?). But until now, I’d never been the one making such a request.
As I pressed the button on my phone to connect me with guest services, I was a little nervous. Was I really about to ask a total stranger to procure said unmentionable for me? Luckily, a woman answered. As I explained my predicament to her, she calmly listened and told me "I’ll be happy to take care of that," as if lingerie runs are part of her daily duties. I placed a call to a nearby Victoria’s Secret and asked them to put an item on hold for me, then gave my new BFF in guest services the store address.
In the nick of time…
When I got back to my room in the evening, just in time to change before dinner, a bright pink box was waiting for me on my desk, along with a copy of the receipt (turns out it was on sale!) and an advance copy of my hotel bill. The hotel had paid for the undergarment for me (Victoria’s Secret retail stores don’t accept payments over the phone) and just added the cost onto my hotel bill (a nice discreet line item charge: Miscellaneous). And all without any extra fees or service surcharges of any kind.
It’s no secret that stellar service makes a good hotel great. But it’s nice to experience a little reminder that there are people out there who take the term "guest services" seriously. And it’s good to remember that concierges are there to help you; they are more than just a resource for area restaurants. So don’t be afraid to make that unusual request.
Hopefully I won’t repeat the same offense anytime soon. But if I’m in Alexandria at the Hotel Monaco, at least I know there’s someone ready to help me outfit my boudoir.
What are some of your most unusual concierge requests? Share them with us.