Whenever traveling to a new city, regardless of whether I’m staying at a luxury hotel with an upscale concierge or not, I always make a point to call the best concierge in the city. It doesn’t matter if I’m a guest in their hotel or not, I always ask for recommendations. I’ve yet to be steered wrong as they are always on point.
Hotels have a number of ways to make the most of your stay and most have some form of an app to help you prepare everything before you even arrive. However, there’s something to be said about knowing the lay of the land with the intention of making the most of your trip that personal touch that only a concierge can deliver.
I took some time to chat with Waldo Hernandez of the Carlyle Hotel in New York City. He is one of my favorite concierges in the city and even contributes weekly recommendations to the hotel’s Instagram account @thecarlyle. I was lucky enough even to charm him into sharing one of his secrets to the magic he’s known to deliver for his guests.
What would you say is a secret to your formula of bringing the magic that comes with your role? If I were a visitor in NYC, why would I call Waldo before anyone else?
“I’m Passionate about the city, and I know it really well. I’m really well traveled, and have been to virtually every city and have a lot of experience in travel. I can relate to any guest. I’m very humble and usually have been to wherever a guest is from, and that adds a layer of depth to people’s [experiences]”. I establish camaraderie with our guests and they often specifically request me.
What is one of the most memorable of even “crazy” requests (that you can share) that a client has asked of you personally?
I once received a call from a guest who asked me to set up an entire wedding in their room. It was important for the guest to maintain their privacy and weren’t in a position to have a public ceremony. I prepared the entire ceremony from the flowers, a custom cake, and even a gay [clergy] all within two weeks of their arrival. That’s definitely not a normal request.
Once a guest literally bought a Harry Benson right off the wall of the lobby. There’s a well-known photo of The Beatles having a pillow fight, and they just had to have it. He insisted on taking it with him to Teterboro and we had to find something to replace the missing piece ASAP. It’s certainly not something we anticipated.
When did you realize that you were really adding value to people’s lives and not just for the few days they were staying at the hotel? What was the working moment?
This goes back to being passionate about what I do. To me it’s more than just making sure there’s chilled champagne or extra chocolate covered strawberries in your suite. While I can usually get any store on Madison or Fifth Avenue to open at any time of the day for last minute requests, I make a point of making people feel that I have their best interest in my mind. Sometimes that can be making sure they don’t have any travel issues whatsoever arriving or leaving The Carlyle.
Waldo is one of the bright stars among the people around the world who are not only warm and thoughtful but also full of information that goes far beyond a Yelp Review and Google search. You can follow his travels and recommendations on Instagram @waldohernandez. Take the opportunity to see where your flirtation with life takes you.
"Where is Waldo" no more. We found him. See our Instagram post on Waldo. You will wonder where his shirt is.
PS: Supporting the theory, please read Domino Magazine’s piece and take the opportunity to see where your flirtation with life takes you.