Home Hotel guest Concierge at $25,000 per night in a luxury hotel in New York

Concierge at $25,000 per night in a luxury hotel in New York

  • I followed a concierge in charge of well-paid guests at the Four Seasons in downtown New York.
  • I’ve seen the different ways hotel employees cater to VIPs who pay up to $25,000 a night.
  • Take a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on inside one of the world’s most luxurious hotels.

Beneath the Four Seasons in downtown New York lies a maze of hallways, hidden entrances and secret elevators.

The underground network resembles an ant colony as security guards, doormen and housekeepers work out of public view. The queen of ants in this metaphor is 27-year-old guest relations manager Jessica Waddy, whose job revolves around the hotel’s high-profile guests and their myriad needs.

“It’s like an unscripted reality show,” Waddy said. “Behind the scenes, there’s a whole village of people running around doing things you don’t see.”

Wearing a polka dot dress and black three inch heels, Waddy somehow manages to walk incredibly fast without looking rushed or frazzled. Her three cell phones rang constantly throughout the day – it’s New York Fashion Week and the hotel is almost 100% full.

She led me down to the cellar level and into a room where the hotel stores the belongings of regular guests, some of whom spend several months at the hotel each year. There’s a tempur-pedic mattress topper, video game console, children’s toys, and a consultant’s entire wardrobe.

“He’s very specific about how his closet is organized,” Waddy explained.

Down the hall, there’s a loading dock for celebrities and their drivers to dodge the paparazzi and sneak into the hotel. When the street was closed for a 9/11 memorial service on Sunday, hotel security “allowed” police to let a celebrity guest pass, Waddy said.

Cave level of the Four Seasons, Downtown New York

The basement of the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown.

Hannah Towey / Insider

From there, VIPs enter one of four private basement elevators that lock once in motion, preventing any ordinary citizen from jumping on the journey to their suite. Most celebrities are virtually nocturnal during their stays, Waddy said, adding nearby restaurants will remain open so they can dine undisturbed and alone at 1 a.m.

As we exited the basement, Waddy was called to greet a high profile guest who was checking in under an alias. The receptionist had never met him before, so Waddy is tasked with matching his face to the codename.

“We can’t just hand out room keys randomly,” she said.

From buying special toilet seats to washing sheets with a specific brand of detergent, the devil is in the details of this industry. In less than two hours, I hear only one guest complaining: he was given a double room instead of a full room. His disappointment was quite clear.

“They pay more for a night than my rent,” Waddy said. “So they deserve all the attention we can give them.”

The Empire Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown.

The Empire Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, with rates starting at $25,000 a night.

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown.

The needs of high-level clients are listed on an “addendum”, a document that is usually several pages long and is attached to their hospitality contract. But it’s not the length of the list that creates a problem, Waddy said, it’s the little notice with which staff receive them.

A VIP guest once requested that all furniture be removed from an extra room at 10 p.m. the day before check-in so he could convert the space into a giant wardrobe, Waddy said.

Another guest staying in the hotel’s Empire Suite, which costs $25,000 a night, said he would only play Xbox on an 85-inch TV, which is 10 inches smaller than the flat-screens in the hotel. ‘hotel. The result was a wild goose chase across Staten Island and Queens to buy two brand new screens before he arrived.

“Our manager had to get in his car and drive to two different stores to get this guest to use his Xbox on whatever TV he wanted,” Waddy recalls. “We had to smash them in his car with one of our sales interns in the back.”

The Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown during Fashion Week 2022.

Photo by Jason Jean

With Fashion Week officially kicking off on Monday, the hotel was overrun with influencers and models. Upstairs, I watched a tall brunette dressed head-to-toe in neon pink feathers walk out of a brunch party hosted by Vogue.

The hotel flew in three different bakers from across the country to help with brunch, an employee told me. Dozens of pastel cakes, gold-dusted cookies and metallic blue cream puffs remained untouched after the brunch ended. Waddy assured me that the leftovers would be transferred to the staff cafeteria.

“I told them not to give out candy to fashionistas,” joked another staff member.

One of Waddy’s three phones starts ringing again, sending us back to the lobby downstairs. It’s now around noon, so customers are starting to leave.

The hotel was understaffed – a combination of jury duty, illness and labor market issues – so interns and security guards are given lists of room numbers to knock on doors and politely persuade late-nighters to leave. With the hotel’s occupancy rate so high, there’s very little wiggle room for a late checkout, Jessica explained, comparing check-in and check-out to a game of Tetris.

Everything is going well until a joker request threatens to throw everything off balance. A high-profile guest has called asking for respect for the room his recently deceased mother stayed in, but another VIP guest is expected to check in soon. These are the types of puzzles that eventually get to Waddy, who is somehow able to solve them all.

“A Concierge isn’t just your base for making a reservation at Carbone, entering the Polo Bar, or scheduling hair and makeup appointments,” she said. “We handle anything and everything. It’s so unpredictable – I love it.”

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