Read Concierge Confidential Online
Authors: Michael Fazio
He didn't have to do that. Most places would just take one entrÃ©e off the bill. I'm sure the manager was mortified; I was mortified. But neither of us
mortified. Part of gracious service is to not be melodramatic. Because I respected his professionalism and the system, I got treated better than I otherwise would have. I validated the system.
In Between the Sheets
“Good evening,” I said. “Concierge, this is Michael. How may I be of assistance?”
The guest on the phone had a thick Russian accent. “I vant you to get me a voman,” he told me. He could have been asking me to find his girlfriend who was in the lobby or something. He could have been asking me to send him a maid to clean his room. But despite how hard it was to understand what he was saying, it wasn't hard at all to understand what he was asking.
“Do you prefer a certain type?” I asked him. “Blond or brunette?”
“I vant a very beautiful voman,” he said.
Clearly my instincts were right. “I don't know anybody off the top of my head, but let me look into it and I'll make some phone calls.” There was the notorious
Robin Byrd Show
on Channel 35, where hookers advertised their wares under the glare of bad studio lighting. But I needed an
not some trashy hustler. Where do the fancy escorts go? I asked myself. Would someone in the nightclub industry know? I picked up the phone and dialed AuBAR.
“AuBAR.” They were coarse; exactly what you'd expect for a Eurotrash hangout.
“Hi,” I said. “I'm calling from the InterContinental Hotel. I have a client who's asked for an escort. What do you think I should do? Do you know somebody?”
It was loud in the background. Maybe she hadn't heard me. “
Do you know where I can get an escort?
I'm calling from the InterContinental Hotel.”
“I can't help you,” she said as she hung up the phone.
There was a cabinet behind my desk, and all the way at the bottom were the Yellow Pages. It was in a big leather binder with those metal springs down the middle. I opened the cabinet and sat down on the floor, taking out the phone book. I flipped it open to the escort section.
The escort pictures in the Yellow Pages were huge. I was terrified that somebody was going to walk by the desk and see me, on the floor, looking at photos of prostitutes. I realized that I didn't even know where to start. I was looking for quality, and they could look gorgeous in the book and be trolls in person.
I flipped to the adult bookstore section, because there were no pictures there. I found one store that was close to the hotel and called them up.
A woman answered the phone. “Hello, Come Again?” It was the name of the establishment.
“Hi, I'm calling from the InterContinental Hotel. I have a client who's asked for an escort. Do you have some kind of a listing? I don't know what to do!”
“Oh honey, we'll figure this out for you.” She was like this sweet, welcoming coach about to walk me through the game. “Well, we do have a swingers paper that comes out monthly, but that's not what you want. Did you look in the Yellow Pages?”
“Yes, but I don't know which one to pick. It has to be reputable and I don't want to get in trouble.”
“Let me see if I can help you. What's your phone number?” She took down my information. “I'll call you back right away.”
It had now been ten minutes, and the Russian guy probably thought that I was a loser because I couldn't get him a hooker. My service brain was freaking out.
Am I doing the right thing? Am I
doing the right thing?
A few minutes later, the Come Again lady rang me back with a phone number for me to call. As a concierge, I was committed to the highest levels of professionalism and quality. I, of course, had to ensure that these hookers were, in fact, reputable. “I got your number from Come Again,” I told the guy on the phone. “This is for a client of mine. He's a very high-powered businessman and needs a really reputable escort for the evening. How does this work?”
“Well, the rate is three hundred and sixty dollars.”
“Oh, that's expensive.” Sometimes when I said that they would come down on the price. This was not one of those times.
“I can assure you that we're a very professional agency.”
“She has to be beautiful,” I said. “That's what he's looking for.”
“We will only send the best.”
“Okay, I'll have him give you a phone call,” I told them. “Thank you so much.”
I told the Russian guy the contact information. “My associate called me back and gave me the number of a very high-quality agency. I called them and they're expecting your call, and they have someone available for you. But you have to do it between yourselves,” I said, feeling very accomplished. “I can't get involved any further.”
“Can I put it on a credit card?” he asked me.
“You'll have to ask the agency.” I then got off the phone. Mission accomplished.
Things quieted down for a bit, so I took a deep breath and relaxed. About twenty minutes later, I heard the sound that only really crappy shoes make.
Clack, clack, clack
. I looked up to see a young woman in a little spaghetti-strap shirt, whose big high heels were making the noise. She looked trashy, as though she had just left a nightclubâeven though it was way too early in the evening for that. Just by looking at her, I could tell that she smelled of cheap perfume.
What a bimbo,
I thought to myself.
On one shoulder she had a huge bag. The bag slipped, fell on the hard marble floor, and everything inside of it went flying. The first thing I noticed was the little boom box with speakers on the side; it was very '80s. The big D batteries went rolling for a mile.
She's probably a stripper,
I thought to myself.
I got out from behind my desk and helped her pick up her things. Only then did I see the rest of the contents of her bag, and realized who she was.
The vibrator was not dick-shaped, though it was colorful and cylindrical. It wasn't really grotesqueâif anything, the vibrator was the most appropriate thing about the girl. It was
. It was the kind of dildo you would hope someone would bring to the InterContinental Hotel, in the event that someone needed to bring a dildo to the InterContinental Hotel.
Come Again had come through for me.
“Here you go,” I said to her.
“Oh, thanks so much,” she said, not at all embarrassed.
I pointed her to the elevator and sent her on her way. That was easy. The man on the phone had been directâas much as he was ableâso I knew how to accommodate him. But when a female guest called the desk with a similar request, it took me some deciphering to figure out what she wanted.
“Good evening,” I said. “Concierge, this is Michael. How may I be of assistance?”
“I think I'd like to book a massage,” she said. “I want to book a massage, but I guess all of the spas are closed?”
It was dinnertime. The spas weren't closed; she was giving me a cue. I took it. “Well, I can get someone to come to your room.”
“Oh my! What a great idea!”
“Is there any specific technique that you'd prefer? Swedish, deep tissue, cranial-sacral?”
“I think just Swedish?”
“Just like a rub?”
“Right, just for relaxation.”
“No problem,” I said. “I understand you'd probably prefer a female.” Women always want female therapists. Men always want female therapists.
“Yes,” she replied. “â¦ Or a male.”
“Okay, no problem. So do you prefer a male or a female?”
She started to stammer. “No, like, IÂ â¦ I prefer female, but a male is fine.”
It got to the point where it was like herding cats.
The woman wants a guy,
But does she want a “guy” or does she just want a male therapist?
“You know, there's a gentleman who comes here that works for a chiropractor and he's really, really good at adjustments.”
I half expected her to say, “That's fineÂ â¦ or someone who's naked.” “Okay,” she said. “Just somebody who is strong.”
Now I was going to have some fun with this.
One of the massage therapists who used to come to the hotel was named Sam Sundman. I knew that he was straight, but there was something male-stripperish about him. It was kind of like the way that some personal trainers seem like they could be bought. Sam was a good self-marketer. He'd come to the hotel in the evening and just say hello, but he was also a bit of a tease. At the end of the day, there was nothing in it for me. But maybe there was something in it for this lady guest. Maybe Sam really was trying to be a hustler.
It was time for my testing of Sam Sundman.
So living vicariously through this horny lady, I called Sam and I booked a massage. I wonder if my instincts about him were right. I had my little snicker, but it was short-lived because the concierge desk was so busy. Right away, it was on to the next three requests.
The next morning I get a call at home from Linda, the hotel's newest resident managerâand a very rigid woman. “What happened with Ms. Jamison, and a massage?
“She's a mess!” I immediately said. “If she's telling you that something inappropriate happened, then I'm telling you that that's what she wanted.” I spelled out the whole story, like how she said “â¦ or a man,” “â¦ or a man,” “â¦ or a man” around fifty times.
“Well,” Linda explained, “she came down to the front desk and broke down.”
The poor self-loathing woman!
“She was just crying hysterically, saying that she was touched inappropriately.”
I started flipping out. I knew that I could be fired over this, easily. “You know what? He's a legitimate massage therapist, but I think that she was looking for massage and company. I know that he would never do anything if he wasn't invited to. Let me talk to him.”
“Please do. This is quite serious. There might be charges pressed.”
I called Sam right away. “What happened with Ms. Jamison last night?”
“Huh? I didn't do anything wrong.”
“So what did you do?”
“Well,” he explained, with all his masseuse articulateness, “she was, like, moaning and, like, gyrating around. Dude, I wasn't into it, but she kept pushing it. I'm sorry, but, y'know, she took my hand and, y'know, I wound up fooling around with her a little bit and she went down on me.”
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
It was eleven in the morning and I didn't have work until the afternoon, but I went right to the hotel as fast as I could to put out the fire. I sat Linda down and repeated what Sam had told me, in as clean and dignified a fashion as I could manage. What went down, and who went down.
The whole situation had escalated up to corporate. As I passed by the office window, I saw Ms. Jamison sitting there behind the glass. I couldn't believe it. In my mind's eye I had pictured Alexis Colby. In real life, she looked like a homely librarianâand I understood the whole thing right away. I just wanted to sit with her and tell her, “I know you feel dirty, I know you do, but I also know that you enjoyed it. You don't have to hate yourself.”
Eventually, corporate took care of it and the whole situation went away. But the bigger environment of sex and hotels is something that will never go anywhere.
SEX AND HOTELS
I don't know what it is about hotels that generates bad sexual energy and shame. There's something at a hotel that just makes people porn out. The thing that
does in hotels is watch porn. The largest revenue generators in hotels are the minibarâand porn. The porn protocol for guests is very simple: Watch it, enjoy it, pay for it, and shut up.
Virtually every single day, anybody that works in a hotel at night has the following phone call: “Uh, yeah, I was just trying to watch the in-room entertainment and I don't think it's working. I'm just gonna go to bed, so I just want to make sure that it's not on my bill.” Or, “I'm trying to order a movie and it keeps turning on and off and I'm very upset. This is very distracting. This is terrible. Make sure that's not on my bill.” Whatever euphemism they use, it's all pornâand the hotel employee knows it's porn. It can't
be porn, because the LodgeNet systems that are in all hotels reside on a whole separate computer from everything else. Yes, the employee could take it off the billâbut they'll also see it.
There are also the passive people who aren't going to fight to get the porn taken off the bill; they just want to make sure that it's not itemized. What they don't realize is that anything that's $9.50 is Disneyâand anything that's $11.95 is porn. They'll say something like, “I'm going to order some in-room entertainment. Is that a separate bill?” They're hinting so that the hotel employee will assure them that, no, the title will not be on their bill.
But it's not just the guests who get their rocks off in hotels. It extends to the staff as well. Hotels, especially in the United States, are notorious for giving work visas to people from foreign countries. They bring them here and work their brains out for close to no pay. In Europe it's more of an honorable career to work in the hospitality industry, and they even have colleges for it. What happens, therefore, is that the American hotels get these wide-eyed little does from Berlin. You can come to New York!â¦
And work sixteen hours a day, and commute to Astoria, and live in a one-bedroom apartment with nine other people
. Their whole life revolves around the hotel, because they work all hours. Afterward, they go to the hotel bar (where they aren't supposed to be).