These luxury hotel insiders can turn any average stay into an unforgettable experience.
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, London
Nelson Mendes has set standards par excellence at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate for many years. In addition to being named Employee of the Year in 2001 and Supervisor of the Year, Front of House, in 2007, he also achieved the STARS Platinum Level and STARS Gold Level in 2014. Guests acknowledge that he’s helpful, very accommodating and extremely knowledgeable.
Famous Feats: Guests staying at the prestigious 51 Buckingham Gate often want a unique way to see the city of London. Mendes has been known to secure private helicopter tours over the city, giving guests a whole new way to see Big Ben. He can also set up private boat tours on the Thames and provide guests with tickets to sold-out sporting events and concerts. He can even schedule private dining rooms at the best restaurants in London. Contact Mendes at [email protected].
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa Wiltshire, England
Chris Bancroft, who has been with the Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa for seven months, handles all special requests of guests as assistant manager of the luxurious, countryside estate. Since his parents had a hotel, Bancroft grew up learning about the hospitality industry. He later became a management trainee and went on to work at several high-end properties, including Chewton Glen and Calcot Manor.
Famous Feats: A guest once had asked Lucknam to arrange for an assortment of pink (the girlfriend’s favorite color) gifts for when he proposes. For starters, pink flowers were placed in the couple’s room. Later, a carriage, pulled by horses wearing pink bows, took the couple for a romantic ride. The guest proposed to his girlfriend as they enjoyed pink macaroons and pink frosted éclairs, created by the hotel’s in-house pastry chef, and sipped on pink champagne. Contact Bancroft at [email protected].
The Knickerbocker New York City
Keoni Boyer is the chef concierge at The Knickerbocker, which recently opened in Times Square. He has been a New York City resident for 12 years and has worked at hotels such as the W New York, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Park Central and more. He is also an active member of the New York City Association of Hotel Concierges and Les Clefs d’Or USA.
Famous Feats: Boyer has arranged various special requests for guests, but Luxury Travel Advisor has its favorites: He once managed to get a Lhasa Apso puppy flown from Florida to New York City for a birthday of a guest’s daughter. On another occasion, he had arranged for a guest’s favorite rum from Aruba and ribs from Memphis and had it waiting in the guest room upon arrival. For the romantic, he can organize candlelit Central Park proposals. Advisors can contact Boyer at [email protected].
Halekulani Honolulu, Hawaii
Naomi Abe is a senior concierge at Halekulani, and has been with the Hawaii hotel since 2010. Previously, she worked at Hawaii Prince Hotel. A member of Les Clefs d’Or, Abe knows Hawaii inside and out — where to get the best sushi, where to spot whales in the winter, and how to get a fresh cut coconut for five dollars. These island insights will benefit all guests.
Famous Feats: When a bride’s florist failed to deliver the flowers on the day of the wedding, Abe called around and found the exact blossoms the bride wanted. However, when the florist she found couldn’t deliver the flowers in time for the wedding either, she sent her husband to pick them up and deliver to the bride. She also got her husband to bring the bridal party back to the hotel after the ceremony, so they didn’t have to wait around for a taxi. To contact Abe, advisors should e-mail her at [email protected].