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Concierge Test: Last Minute Reservations at Mr. Chow

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  Site Where: 2201 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, fl, United States, 33139
September 11, 2009 at 12:42 PM | by | ()

Every so often, we'll be putting hotel concierges to the test whether it be in making dinner reservations, finding hard-to-get tickets, planning a day of fun activities or getting our shirt dry-cleaned in time for a big meeting. First up, hard-to-get dinner reservations at the W South Beach.

When we finally checked out the W South Beach recently, we had great expectations for Mr. Chow. (Even if our wallet was trembling at the prices we noticed in early reviews of the haute Chinese restaurant.)

Since we were traveling solo we didn't make a reservation, which was just as well, because our flight got in late on the Friday night and Mr. Chow was already bustling with well-heeled folks at 8 p.m. Even if we wanted to quietly take a seat at the bar and pretend we were totally fine with eating alone in such a buzzy hotspot, there was no availability. Never mind, we thought. We'll try tomorrow.

The Challenge
Unfortunately, Mr. Chow is not open for lunch, but when we called down to ask the front desk what time it opened, we were told 5 p.m. That dorky-early time suited us fine, since we had to catch a flight out of MIA at 7:45. We figured we could sit at the bar and enjoy a quick dose of dumplings and scallion pancakes before we skedaddled. The front desk clerk didn't think we needed a reservation for a party of one at such a senior citizen time, but put us through to the hotel's Whatever/Whenever service, aka the concierge, just to make sure.

To show you that the concierge really is the smartest person in your hotel lobby, we were quickly informed that Mr. Chow actually opened at 6 p.m.. Still early but kind of pushing it for that flight we had to take. Besides, they were booked for the night.

Making It Work
Disappointed about missing out on the Mr.Chow experience, we decided to put the concierge to work and also try to move our flight back if that helped us secure a reservation. We chatted with not one but two friendly concierges who told us that the Mr. Chow team weren't in but they would see what they could do about getting us an early booking. They also recommended Hakkasan up at the Fontainebleau if we really needed to get our (pricey) Chinese fix.

We were lazing by the pool when one of the concierges called to say that unfortunately Mr. Chow was definitely booked up other than a 10 p.m. opening, and that the restaurant staff told them they wouldn't accept walk-ins wishing to dine at the bar. (Us poor solo travelers.) We appreciated the efforts and reverted back to our original flight at 7:45. We then went about our day in South Beach.

The Result
About an hour later, our phone rang again. The concierge had managed to get us a table at Mr. Chow for 6 p.m., after all. Yay! Very impressed with their work, we started to get hungry for Squid in XO sauce. But then—the later flight was no longer available. Boo.

So while we did not get to sample the hottest restaurant on the Miami hotel scene right now, we almost did—and it wasn't thanks to the restaurant's reservation line or the front desk, but the trusty concierge.

The moral of this long-winded tale, friends, is: use your concierge. We had rarely done so in the past, not being the types to spontaneously want tickets to a Broadway show or a table at a city's club of the moment. But we were impressed with what they could do once we put them to work for us.

The Post-Mortem
When we checked in with the W South Beach concierge after our trip to find out how common our last-minute request was, he told us it happens all the time. He encounters plenty of guests who expect to get a reservation at Mr. Chow on the day they arrive just because they are guests at the property. If he can't find them a table, they get upset. The smart guests, he says, are the ones that call him (not the restaurant directly) a week before their stay to make their dinner reservations. Yet another thing we don't usually do—but definitely will in the future.

Disclaimer: The concierge at W South Beach is an avid reader of HotelChatter.com but he swears that he did not know it was HotelChatter he was helping until AFTER he saw our review. Pinky swear.

Archived Comments:


one thing you LEFT OUT of the article, if you USE a concierge you shoule TIP them!!!!!  getting you into Mr. Chow was obviously a miracle and the relationship they have and they don't pay their bills with your thank yous...