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Earlier this week, we gave you an inside look at the Four Seasons Ritz in Lisbon and its partnership with the Martinhal Beach Resort in southern Portugal. We liked the unique agreement because of its efforts to show visitors two different sides of the country, and we also stumbled across something else at the Four Seasons Ritz that we think is a damn good idea: An online city guide that serves as a concierge.
Now, the hotel still has a real-life concierge who is happy to go the traditional route and make suggestions on the fly, but due to the availability of consumer reviews online, the days of walking down to his or her desk and a making a restaurant choice in 30 seconds is without question a thing of the past. The recognition of this online movement, combined with a growing skepticism from guests about a concierge's objectivity, has inspired the Four Seasons Ritz to put all its recommendations in writing for guests to peruse before and during their trip. The hotel is figuring that guests still want the staff's input -- aka insight from the locals -- but might want the chance to do their own research before making a reservation at a restaurant or dedicating a day to an experience.
As travelers who always seek local advice, we dig the balance that this provides. We think it's a great idea and a nice compliment to guide books and services such as Yelp. You essentially get the concierge's recommendations up front, and then you can go off and investigate them (as opposed to making a split-second decision standing at the desk with a line behind you). The hotel said its recommendations are constantly reevaluated for quality control and based on what it believes to be the best fit for its clientele, so in this case, it points guests to higher-end restaurants around Lisbon.
During a recent visit to Portugal’s capital city, we stayed at the iconic Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon and got a chance to check out its fancy all-marble bathrooms, which sort of blew our minds on a couple levels.