A hotel's concierge can be a huge help, especially if you follow these
Need courtside seats at a Lakers game? A pair of emergency cuff links? "What a lot of people don’t know is that we’ve made connections with the entire community," says Jessica Hemauer, chief concierge at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. Here’s how to tap into that expertise.
TOUCH BASE Hotel Web sites often list their concierges’ email addresses. If not, simply call ahead.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED Many little extras—rose petals on pillows, notarized documents late at night, champagne on ice—can be arranged. You’ll pay for the items but not for the concierge’s help.
BE SPECIFIC Let the concierge know how many people you’re with, what they like to do, how old they are, and whether they have special needs.
AVOID PEAK TIMES You'll get better service if you drop by the desk early in the morning or after 8 p.m., when the dinner reservation rush has subsided—especially if you have multiple requests.
SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION A $20 bill is appropriate for that hard-to-get table in a romantic corner. If a handwritten note is more your style, leave it upon departure—or send it to the manager. To ensure good service, try tipping first.
CONFESS YOUR DISAPPOINTMENTS If your theater seats made your nose bleed or a restaurant’s service was spotty, let the concierge know. Your critique may spare a future guest the same disappointment.
Illustration by Michael Klein 
This article was first published in January 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.