Thursday, June 30, 2011

Behind the Scenes with a Hotel Concierge

Michael Fazio on the Roof of One Times Square

I don’t usually recommend travel literature for beach reads. Sure a good travel book can get you to the right beach. But once there, folks tend to prefer paperbacks that get their hearts racing: thrillers, romantic novels, the latest New York Times bestsellers.

The exception to that rule may be the surprisingly frank, unashamedly gossipy new memoir by Michael Fazio, “Concierge Confidential”. Starting with Fazio’s days as a talent agent in Hollywood (when he once had to discretely retrieve Charley Sheen’s gun from the diner he’d accidentally dropped it in) and ending in the present day with Fazio as the co-President of a prestigious firm that oversees concierges, the book gives juicy details about what life in the service industry is really like. And yes, concierges are regularly asked by hotel guests to break the law by procuring drugs and prostitutes. They also make the wackiest fantasies come true from filling bathtubs with 80 gallons of Hershey’s syrup to hiring string quartets to play clients off Amtrak trains.

Beyond his adventures, Fazio gives solid advice on how to get what one wants on vacation and in life. Eager to return to the hottest restaurant in town without the hassle of getting reservations months in advance? Ask to meet the chef at the end of your meal, befriend him (aka butter him up) and then call him directly next time you want to get in.  Wondering if you can trust the concierge’s recommendations for meals and entertainment? Linger by his desk before you ask your questions. If he’s giving all respondents the same answer it likely means he a)doesn’t know what he’s doing or b) is getting a kickback from the places he’s recommending.

Pick it up. I think you’ll find it to be a quick, fun read.


  1. Hi Pauline,

    If you get a chance,check the Frommers Forums.
    There is a lunch for posters planned in New York.
    It would be great if it falls on a date where you could attend.The first one was in SF and David Lytle attended.It was a great success.
    The post forum is under France.It's called something like Frommers Unofficial Lunch moved to Paris. Take Care, Travel Rob

  2. Thanks Rob. Just got back from Europe, so I'm not sure if I missed the lunch, but I'll check it out.

  3. Pauline,

    If you get this message,the lunch is scheduled for sometime in October.The date is not set yet.
    Check Tom of San Diego's profile.He's been handling the plans of late.Hopefully we will see you there.

    Take Care, Rob

  4. Concierge Confidential, huh? Fair enough. Reading it sounds fun. I agree that getting the most of the things you want for your vacation is the best way to enjoy it. And I never thought concierges could also think that way.

  5. If you say it. i would get it because I hate to read when I am traveling to the beach because that time I have to use it doing other things.