We’re back with our “Concierge Confidential” series where I interview some of the leading luxury travel experts from some of the top hotels around the world and find out their favorite recommendations that they recommend to their esteemed clientele.
One of the best parts of staying in a luxury hotel is the access to the ultimate insider–the concierge. A good concierge prides him or herself on providing expert information for locals and visitors alike. If you’re at a good hotel, you should be able, in my opinion, to leave your schedule somewhat open and let the concierge help you choose your own adventure. He or she should be able to recommend not just the most well-known and luxurious options but also places that you wouldn’t find on your own, the hidden gems. They should also have the connections to get you in to where you want to be with little notice. It is their job to upgrade your stay after all.
Any concierge can provide a map or a dinner recommendation. These concierges, though can make the impossible happen through their wealth of knowledge and network of contacts. So here’s what they’ve got in store for their VIP guests.
Today we’ve snagged an interview with Sean McCarthy, VIP Manager from Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Wow, what a job title right? Tend solely to the VIPs–cool. He’s going to share with us some of his expert luxury travel tips for Philly. And I LOVEEEE Philly! I was blown away by how many cool things there were to do as well as how amazing the Philadelphia food scene was. You can see my top picks for what to do in Philadelphia as well as my picks for the best restaurants in Philadelphia.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part of the Concierge profession is two-fold. Firstly, I love meeting new people on a daily basis in the lobby of Loews Philadelphia Hotel or Bank & Bourbon. I also love creating new professional relationships as well as career long friendships. Secondly, I love being able to positively affect our guests time in the city that I am proud of and the feedback resulting from that. If I can assist a guest in an enjoyable experience in my city I have done my job and am truly fulfilled.
Why do you think your hotel is the best in town?
I believe that the Loews is the best hotel in Philadelphia due to the beautiful, historic, iconic structure (we were America’s first skyscraper!) in which we reside as well as the mantra instilled in every employee that “whatever we can do to make our guests happy.” It is the goal of every employee of Loews that if nothing else, we make our guests feel happy that they chose to stay with us and plan to return as our guests.
What’s the most special thing at your hotel?
Aside from the staff which I consider to be the most special thing here at Loews Philadelphia, I believe that the historic PSFS building as well as the aspiration that we promote everything local is the thing that sets our hotel apart from all others. We recently unveiled a new program called Flavor by Loews Hotels where we’ve partnered with iconic brands in our city to bring the best of Philadelphia inside our hotel. Through this program, we work with La Colombe coffee, Metropolitan Bakery and Saint Benjamin Brewing Company.
What are the top three things in your city that you don’t think any visitor can miss?
The Barnes Foundation, which is the most impressive privately owned collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art work anywhere in the world.
Image Courtesy Flytographer
We couldn’t agree more! This remains one of the most impressive museums we have ever visited anywhere in the world. Sorry, keep going.
The historic square mile, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, National Constitution Center and the Museum of the American Revolution. The history of the United States, after all, begins in Philadelphia. Fairmount Park, the largest inner city park in the United States offering hundreds of miles of hiking, running and cycling trails as well as the banks of the Schuykill River which offers a venue for some of the best rowing in the country.
What’s an experience that will make visitors feel like a true local?
Well who can come to Philadelphia without sampling our selections of Cheesesteaks. Yes, we locals eat them as well, however, the answers you get to the question often asked, “who has the best cheesesteak?” are as diverse as our population. It is also recommended to visit either or both the Italian Market of the Reading Terminal Market, both markets offering the diverse cuisine prevalent throughout Philadelphia. Reading Terminal Market is just steps from our hotel in Center City!
Yes! Those are all glorious. I swear, I gained 5 pounds in the span of a long weekend. Beiler’s Donuts at Reading remains my favorite dessert in the world.
What are your picks for under-the-radar gems only experts know about?
Definitely the aforementioned Fairmount Park. So much to see and do. You can go for a long winding run or bicycle ride along the banks of the winding Schuykill River or get lost in nature for a few hours on a long hike through the parks beautiful trails. Also, as Philadelphia is a city with many incredible museums, one under the radar choice would be the Mutter Museum at the College of Physicians. It is an 18th Century science and medical museum located here in Center City.
What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had? What’s the craziest request you’ve ever satisfied?
I was asked to acquire a live goat for a famous entertainer so that she could have the goat run across the stage of her wife’s performance in the middle of that performance. That is also the craziest request that I have ever satisfied. We contacted a local petting zoo and had them transport the goat to the performance and have it, as requested, run across the stage. It was an absolute success. I also, was asked, on my day off, to come into work because an older couple had checked into the hotel and wanted to get married the next day. They had set nothing up at all so I had to acquire an officiant, photographer, videographer, flowers place cards, a dress, a tuxedo, food and alcohol and a space for the wedding to be held. I arrived to the hotel and over the course of the next 8 hours planned a wedding for a lovely couple. A difficult endeavor, yes, however the returns were and remain truly memorable.
Wow! Those both sound like incredible experiences haha. Anything else you want to share?
Please come visit us here at the Loews Philadelphia. Once you do, you will love this amazing city just as much as we do.
We definitely can’t wait! Thanks again and we’ll see you soon!