Here’s a repost of a book review I wrote for Epinions.com in 2011. I am reposting this review as/is.
As an average American of average means, I have never really considered how a hotel’s concierge services might benefit me. The most I’ve ever asked of any hotel concierge is directions, or perhaps to order me a taxi. But hotel concierges do a lot more than give directions or make reservations. The best ones can pull off logistical feats that would dazzle the average person. And if you’re in a place like New York City, a good concierge can mean the difference between eating in a hot restaurant at 8:00pm or eating at Sbarro’s. I never considered any of these things until I read Concierge Confidential: The Gloves Come Off—and the Secrets Come Out! Tales from the Man Who Serves Millionaires, Moguls, and Madmen (2011), a book written by concierge extraordinaire Michael Fazio and co-author, Michael Malice.
The book’s premise
Michael Fazio is the co-founder of Abigail Michaels, Manhattan’s premiere concierge service. But before he helped found Abigail Michaels, Fazio worked in Hollywood for famous actors and as a concierge at New York City’s InterContinental Hotel. He admits to having the “service bug”, which I would think one would have to have in his job. After all, he was routinely asked to do things like get tickets to sold out Broadway shows and score tables at hot restaurants for people who were “nobodies”.
But aside from helping unknowns who were staying at the hotel, Fazio also had to arrange for some exotic requests from people with more money than they could possibly spend. Fazio arranged for a bathtub full of chocolate for one client, who was hoping to impress a ladyfriend. He arranged for a last minute helicopter ride to Atlantic City for a mysterious Russian with a suitcase full of cash. And when the same people kept coming back to him for help, Fazio and his former co-worker, Abbie, started their own concierge business catering to the rich and famous.
I really enjoyed this book and probably would have gotten through it in a matter of hours had I not been trying to read it on a very small cruise ship. I have a tendency to get motion sickness, so every time I tried to make progress in this book, I started to feel sick! Once I was off the boat, I whizzed through it in record time. I really enjoyed Fazio’s anecdotes and the enthusiastic tone of his writing. I felt excited as I read about some of his more dramatic exploits in the concierge business. Aside from telling stories, Fazio also includes some handy tips on how to get what you want from a concierge, book the best restaurants and hotels, and even how (and how much) to tip.
I definitely have a new perspective on the value of a good concierge. Now that I’ve read Fazio’s book, I might even venture to the concierge desk during my next hotel stay! Who knows? I might end up with a completely different experience than I might have otherwise had!
If you’ve ever wondered what your concierge can do for you, you should definitely read Fazio’s book Concierge Confidential.
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