Alberta La Grup on the press | CNBC | Over the Top Concierge Services

For concierges, it’s ordinary to do the extraordinary, as the following examples show.

by: Colleen Kane | Friday, 30 Nov 2012 | 11:33 AM ET

The concierge profession is most often associated with high-end hotels, but the industry is populated with concierge businesses that serve corporate, residential, retail and private clients as well.

Their typical tasks can include making that hard-to-get dinner reservation or tracking down a specified make and model of a rental car, but the everyday reality for concierges can be anything but typical. 

“Anything in the Yellow Pages, as long as it’s legal, moral and ethical. That’s what we do,” said Katharine Giovanni, chairwoman and founder of International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association and co-founder of Triangle Concierge, who has trained thousands of people.

They regularly get tall orders requiring discretion, ingenuity and persistence, not to mention that the tasks often must be accomplished under an urgent deadline … after hours … on a bank holiday.

“I have about 20 outrageous stories,” said Giovanni, who likes to ask the concierges she meets for their tales. We’ll hear two of Giovanni’s favorite anecdotes among the others in the categories that follow. From curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences, to fulfilling outlandishly priced international requests, here are some incredible feats accomplished by concierge. 

Recovery of Forgotten Items. A forgotten item, precious in a different way, was a client’s daughter’s teddy bear. The Barcelona boutique agency Alberta La Grup‘s concierge traveled about 50 miles to the private European mountain villa where the bear was, then made the return trip on snowy roads. “That night the little girl slept with the teddy bear without knowing that she had ever forgotten it,” said Lourdes Carbó of the agency.

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Transportation Arrangements. Obtaining luxury vehicles for client use is a frequent concierge request (with a specific make, model and color), and some hotels now supply their own cars for patrons’ use during their stay. But this request was extreme even for the high net worth set. One couple requested to be met after dinner with three Mercedes-Benzes in different colors, and three helicopters, so they would have their choice of whichever of the six rides suited them. The couple got their wish fulfilled by Alberta La Grup. Then, despite paying for the Mercedes and choppers, they didn’t even ride home in any of the six vehicles, instead catching a ride with friends from the restaurant.

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Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences. It’s business a usual for concierges to hook up clients with VIP concert experiences and hunt down nearly impossible-to-obtain tickets to the world’s most coveted events. They can also facilitate even more rare experiences. Before closing its doors in 2011, the acclaimed Spanish restaurant elBulli was one of the most difficult dinner reservations to land in the world. The Alberta La Grup agency were chosen by Chef Ferran Adriá to organize a Last Dinner Experience attracting on short notice 150 privileged clients from Brazil, Kazakhstan, New York, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Peru, London, Shanghai, India, and elsewhere for the experience.

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