From a last-minute table at Noma to home-plate baseball tickets, these hotels use their connections to give guests incredible experiences.
As any concierge worth his or her Clef d’Or pin will tell you, when it comes to creating a special guest experience, it’s all about the connections. But while many upscale hotels tout their abilities to set up exclusive, VIP experiences for their guests (think after-hours shopping trips, private museum visits, and backstage tours), we wondered which hotels might be able to arrange things travelers could do on their own—and would want to do in that destination—but that might be tough for us unconnected mortals to access. From a table at one of the world’s best restaurants and tickets to a sold-out show, these eight hotels and one hotel rewards program can hook you up. Now if only we could find one with Hamilton tickets. . . .
The biggest story out of Copenhagen this year is the relaunch of Noma, chef Rene Redzepi’s renowned temple to Nordic cuisine. Although the new incarnation is set in much larger digs (it’s spread out over 11 buildings, and features gardens and greenhouses), the number of diners who can experience it is limited: The restaurant seats just 40 for lunch and dinner, is only open four days a week, and is already booking up months in advance. Luckily, Nimb Hotel is on the case. Set inside the famed Tivoli Gardens, this stylish boutique property features 20 clubby new suites, the city’s only rooftop pool, and a passion for food. In addition to managing several restaurants and bars in the Gardens, it has an on-staff food concierge to set up culinary itineraries, take guests on tours, and organize VIP experiences. The hotel team also smartly books tables at Noma whenever reservations become available, so they have them on hand for any interested guests. Reservations are based on availability, of course, but be sure to ask when booking a room— you might just snag one of the most coveted tables around.
While music has always been a part of Hamburg’s scene (from its 17th-century opera houses to the early days of the Beatles), the 2017 launch of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall has helped make the northern German city a top destination for culture-seeking travelers. Clocking in at around $900 million, the striking riverside performance center is state of the art, with the main hall’s “vineyard-style” terraced seating and 10,000 individually shaped sound plates all designed for peak acoustics. Helmed by the former music director of the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, the Elbphilharmonie is attracting performers in all styles of music, from all around the world—and is selling out shows over a year in advance. Guests of The Fontenay, however, have an in. Just opened this April on the banks of Lake Alster, the hotly anticipated, 131-room hotel—itself an architectural marvel—is owned by one of the top sponsors of the Elbphilharmonie, so it’s able to offer guest packages that include accommodations, tickets to a performance (in Category 1 seats), transfers to and from the show, preshow drinks at the Steinway Spiro Lounge, and more. Contact the reservations team directly to check availability.
The Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel
New York City
Opened in 2016, the towering, 348-room Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel was billed as NYC’s “first digitally enhanced hotel,” evidenced by elements like the entry corridor’s “living” digital tapestry projection, which responds to human motion; the four-story LED clock on the roof; and an interactive Navigator program that offers insider local information. Thanks to its location just steps from Madison Square Garden, it’s also become the official hotel sponsor of the famed arena. The relationship grants the hotel access to an “experience bank” that it can tap for special occasions (think Zamboni rides and backstage tours) as well as last-minute tickets and suites—including for sold-out or hard-to-get events like New York Rangers’ games. Guests should contact the concierge (aka Navigator) with any MSG requests; tickets are usually sold to guests at face value, but if the hotel already has tickets for a particular game or show, it may offer them for free—so you might get extra lucky. The hotel also has a stockpile of signed Rangers merchandise, which it often gifts to fans.
There are plenty of ways to get a taste of New England at Hotel Commonwealth, from the local ingredients and signature dishes showcased at the on-site restaurants (including the oysters, lobster, and chowder served at the Island Creek Oyster Bar) to the proximity of the fabled Green Monster. Named the official hotel of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park in 2014, Hotel Commonwealth can hook guests up with tickets to the hottest concerts, and even behind-home-plate seats to Sox games, for at-cost prices. (Tickets are almost always available, even last-minute, but the coveted home-plate ones may require more of a heads-up.) The hotel can also arrange for guests’ names to appear on the scoreboard. If you’re a big Red Sox fan, book the Fenway Park Suite, which is lined with priceless team memorabilia.
Vermont was at the forefront of the craft-beer boom, and since opening in 2013, this independent hotel has been helping guests tap into the area’s world-class brew scene. From a weekly Bike and Brew Tour across Burlington’s waterfront and south end to beer-pairing dinners and special packages, there are lots of ways craft connoisseurs can indulge. The hotel’s beer concierge can also facilitate access to some of the area’s top breweries and help guests track down some of the most sought-after labels—including the ever-elusive Heady Topper IPA. Lauded by experts as “one of the most iconic craft beers of our generation,” and often ranked among the world’s top beers, Heady Topper is only brewed in Waterbury, Vermont, and only distributed within a 25-mile radius—meaning it often sells out before a shipment even arrives. For years, Hotel Vermont has been hooking guests up with insider intel on where a hidden stash might be found (like a particular gas station on a Tuesday morning) or the exact time a delivery might be made. If you want to try the famous brew before going in search of a case, Juniper, the hotel's on-site restaurant, also has access to exclusive pours on tap.
The Peninsula New York
The Peninsula New York is turning 30 this year, and to celebrate the occasion, the swank Midtown favorite has launched a selection of 30 curated guest perks, ranging from unique amenities and special offers to over-the-top events and the Keys to the Kitchen program, a collection of culinary experiences at some of the city’s top restaurants. Although most of the restaurant experiences are of the VIP variety (think private kitchen tours, chef meet-and-greets, and special added courses), the hotel can also hook you up with hard-to-snag reservations—including one for the coveted Kitchen Table at The Modern. Set in the heart of the Michelin-starred restaurant, with a front-row view of all the chef action, the table only accommodates four diners at a time for a multi-course tasting menu (with one seating at lunch, and two at dinner; prices start at $188 per person). Because of its exclusivity and limited availability, the Kitchen Table starts taking bookings 90 days in advance and often fills up fast—which is where your friends at The Peninsula can help.
Every year, nearly 1.5 million visitors wander the colorful grounds of the Keukenhof flower park outside of Amsterdam—and the park is only open for less than two months a year. Naturally, the biggest crowds arrive during tulip season, when the fields are awash in over 800 varieties of the Netherlands’ signature bloom. Tickets can be tough to snag for this peak period (which typically occurs between late March and early May), but the team at the design-conscious, Leading Hotels of the World–member Conservatorium Hotel—which last year launched its own tulip varietal, in honor of its fifth birthday—have got it covered. In addition to offering a luxury “Tulips in Bloom” package (featuring things like helicopter tours and private boat rides), the hotel can source individual Keukenhof tickets last minute and often for sold-out days. Contact the host department for more info; tickets are affordable at 18 euros.
Le Club AccorHotels
While airline frequent flier memberships offer perks that go beyond the airplane (such as discounts to retailers, hotels, car rentals, and more), most hotel loyalty program benefits only kick in when you check in. And sure, upgrades, free Wi-Fi, and the occasional complimentary fruit basket are great—but doesn’t your loyalty warrant more? Accor Hotels thinks so. Officially launching this July, the revamped Le Club AccorHotels program will apply to all brands under the Accor umbrella, including Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Swisshotel, Banyan Tree, 25 Hour Hotels, and many others—so there are lots of opportunities to rack up points all over the globe. Members enjoy perks along the way, but once you reach platinum level there’s a host of Elite Experiences to choose from, including access to some of the world’s top events. The 2018 roster includes tickets to Bruno Mars, U2, Ed Sheeran, and Bon Jovi concerts in Brazil; sports events like the Australian Open, French Open, and Monaco Grand Prix; a VIP box at Carnival in Rio; and, in New York City, the Tony Awards and New Year’s Eve in Times Square. In Paris, the brand’s name adorns the AccorHotels Arena, so members have the chance to enjoy a Kendrick Lamar or Katy Perry concert from the VIP box while sipping complimentary drinks.
The hills are alive—with the sounds of one of Europe’s top classical music festivals. Taking place each summer in the chic Alpine village of Gstaad, the Menuhin Festival was started by famed violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1957 and has since grown to attract performers and culture-vultures from around the world. As many locals and travelers regularly attend the fest every year, tickets can be hard to finagle—but the concierge at the 56-room Alpina Gstaad (the first new luxury hotel in town in a century when it opened in 2012) is up to the challenge. Thanks to his network of local brokers, festival sponsors, and season ticket holders, the concierge is able to score seats for almost all the concerts—so guests have the chance to soak up both the music and the mountain views.