Our concierges are not only our go-to experts on what to see and do in their hotel locations, they also frequently provide comfort to guests and go out of their way to make traveling easier and more enjoyable for them. In the below feature of Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore Clefs d’Or concierge Jonathan Knox, you’ll learn about just one memorable #CultureofCaring moment in his concierge career, along with his expert insight into all things Baltimore.
What did your career path look like on your way to becoming a concierge?
Prior to my becoming a concierge I was the front desk supervisor for a luxury condominium in Baltimore. I was already honing the skills I would need to be a concierge and didn’t know it at that time.i e always enjoyed being knowledgeable about what’s happening in my city. Before my employment with RSHC I was the go to guy amongst my circle of friends for activities, events and restaurants.
What’s the most memorable request or guest interaction you have had?
Recently I assisted with the check in of guests who were in town for the funeral of their nephew who died suddenly. They didn’t tell me their reasons for staying at RSHC unTil after I had got them settled with their room selection and parking. Our systems were down so I needed to have them fill out a credit card application form per our procedure when we are unable to swipe credit cards. During that process we chatted and joked and just really connected. I offered to comp their self parking for the inconvenience of the situation. They were a lovely couple and very understanding of the circumstance.
When I found out their reasons for visiting I sent what I called a “funeral amenity” or “Sonesta repast”. I sent them a bottle of red wine and a charcuterie board along with chocolate covered strawberries. The card read “ With our deepest condolences from Jonathan & RSHC”.
The next day, while standing in the lobby, I saw the guests after they had attended the young man’s( he was only 31 and in the Navy) funeral. His Uncle came directly to me and gave me the most heartfelt hug and cried on my shoulder. He and his wife were so thankful we had thought of them during their time of sorrow. I cried right along with them. That’s my most memorable guest interaction.
If a guest asked three things that they must see/do/eat in your hotel’s area, what would your suggestions be?
They must see the American Visionary Art Museum. A local institution founded by Rebecca Hoffberger to showcase outsider art. The museum represents the grit and glam that is intrinsic to Baltimore. It’s quirky and amusing, complex and invigorating just like the city.
They must do the tour of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The Aquarium has one of the largest indoor waterfalls in Md and is active in rescue and rehabilitation of sea life from around the world. They are also one on the areas leaders in wetlands sustainability.
They must eat Maryland blue crabs at one of our famous Baltimore crab houses. I regularly recommend these three: Phillips is a continuously owned family restaurant that has been in business for over a hundred years. They have a crab deck that sits right on the water of the Inner Harbor.
Nick’s Seafood House is locates in the yacht basin just a 7 minute drive from the hotel with free parking. Sitting outside on their deck listening to live music watching the boats come in to dock is fantastic.
L.P.Steamers is a traditional Baltimore crab house located in a renovated townhouse. It is bare bone elegance with picnic tables, an abundance of crabs and a rooftop deck for supreme city views.
How do you keep up-to-date on all that is happening in your area in able to assist guests?
I have a plethora of websites, local bloggers, local magazines that I’m constantly perusing for current information about events, activities and must try restaurants. I also play tourist on my days off to investigate what’s new and exciting in my city. A Les Clefs d’Or concierge is always on the go fostering meaningful relationships to provide the best experiences for our guests.
What is your favorite way to spend a day in your area?
I live in Mt. Vernon in Baltimore which is the cultural hub of the city. I enjoy visiting one of the many local art galleries we have in my neighborhood. Mt. Vernon is also the home of one of our premier public (it’s FREE) museums in the city, The Walters Art Gallery. I love walking around my neighborhood discovering new restaurants/ bistros to try and shopping at local boutiques. It’s important for me to support local businesses. I do not recommend any place I haven’t experienced for myself.
You have the honor of being a Les Clefs d’Or concierge. What meaning does that have for you?
It means that I am internationally recognized as being an expert in my chosen profession. It’s a guarantee to my guests that they will always receive the absolute best service from me to provide an exciting and individually curated experience for them while visiting Baltimore. My gold key designation makes me very proud to serve those visiting Baltimore and giving them an opportunity to show them the city I have come to love.