By Shelley Sharp
“Welcome to the The San Juan Island Inn Collection. How may we help you?” Inside the Concierge Service at The Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites
Grace Proctor is the planner in her family. An Austin, Texas stay-at-home-mom, she begins her planning for their summer vacation right after Christmas. Grace has two rules she follows to select their destination and activities: 1) Find a destination in the United States that she, her husband and three children have never been. 2) Their chosen location should have things to do to keep everyone happy.
Meet the Proctors
Grace and Alan’s daughter Emma is 14 years old. Emma is a bit of a Tomboy. Back in Austin, she plays soccer and the trumpet. When she goes on family trips, her favorite things to do are “things like horseback riding and ziplining.”
Son number one is Peter, who is 12. Peter is a self-proclaimed “comic book nerd” who likes to be alone sometimes and is a picky eater. His idea of fun is going to movies, reading, and hanging out with his dog, Milo.
Seven-year-old Nathan is adventurous and “fearless” according to his parents. He likes running anywhere his legs can take him. Nathan is a kid who needs to be outside to let off some energy. He plays indoor soccer and likes to climb the rock wall at their gym in Austin.
A great vacation for Grace and Alan includes outside family time, good food choices, lodging with a kitchen that is pet friendly, in case they bring their dog. They set aside money all year for their summer get-away so they can treat their family to fun experiences.
Lucky for them, they called the San Juan Island Inn Collection last January.
A Welcoming Phone Greeting … and So Much More
You may not know it, but the San Juan Island Inn Collection staff offers free-concierge services for all its guests — and with a smile. “When a potential visitor reaches out to us, just to ask those first few questions and get the ball rolling,’ says Innkeeper Shelley Klausen, “We authentically enjoy helping them.” In fact, she and her teammates consider themselves unofficial ambassadors of their beautiful island home. “We realize that just getting here takes planning, time, and effort,” she explains. “If we can help alleviate any confusion, and take some of the planning off their hands, we know it will make for a less stressful vacation.”
Enter Grace, Nathan, and their three very-different children. When Grace first called in early 2018, she initially inquired about room choices that would suite her family. After five minutes of explaining the best options for an August stay, she and Lindsey settled on the Harrison House’s Lopez Suite, with its two twin beds, one full-sized, and one queen. But unlike many cookie-cutter lodging choices, she then asked, “How do you plan to get here?” And from there, a new level of service was born for Grace.
How We Helped
“Sometimes, working with a guest and their specific list of needs can take us more than 20 minutes,” says Guest Relations Coordinator Lindsey. “Often, travelers don’t realize all that’s involved in getting to Friday Harbor. We help by thoroughly explaining their land, sea, and air options, the schedules, the costs, and then find the best fit.” In Grace’s case, they opted for arrival via the San Juan Clipper catamaran from Seattle with a return to Boeing Field on Kenmore Air. During their time in Friday Harbor, they chose to rent a minivan to have the flexability of driving to westside beaches or taking day trips to Lopez and Orcas Islands.
From there, Grace and Lindsey discussed some fun activities that would give them a mix of adventures to keep their kids happy — and still find time to relax during their five night stay. “Having someone to talk it over with really helped,” says Grace. “Lindsey helped me with a schedule and get a better understanding of the area from a local’s point-of-view.” Together they opted on ziplining and whale watching as guided tours for the family, moderate hikes and the best beaches for kids, the Roche Harbor Sculpture Garden, disc golf, and island farms to visit. Walkable in-town things to do included the Whale Museum, bowling, and summer movies at The Palace Theater. For Grace and Alan, Lindsey suggested dinner at Coho Restaurant, Duck Soup, and Friday Harbor House. For the kids (including picky eater Peter), she led them to Cask and Schooner, the Golden Triangle, and Vic’s Drive In. She suggested picking up groceries at King’s Market and grabbing fresh deli-foods at Market Chef.
Free and Easy
After booking the Lopez Suite and the call had ended, Lindsey moved forward to make it all happen. She booked them on the San Juan Clipper ferry and Kenmore Air flight, made their zipline and whale watching tour reservations, set them up for dinner at Coho Restaurant and Duck Soup, and sent them links to the M&W Auto Rental and Washington State Ferries. She also booked a massage for Grace at Lavendera Massage, just two blocks from the Inn. Lindsey then emailed Grace confirmations for all of the above, along with additional information about onsite amenities like free bikes, barbecues, the outdoor hot tub, and music nights.
Best of all, The San Juan Island Inn Collection’s concierge-with-a-smile service is free. We do not up-charge for bookings or our time. We delight in knowing that you won’t have to spend all spring searching travel sites, creating pro and con lists, or relying on the advise of strangers. It is our goal at the Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites, that by the time you arrive, you won’t have to spend valuable vacation time booking a last-minute sailboat tour or having to find a way to the airport. We live here, know our small business owners, and are here to help you. It is our goal to do our job well enough so you will come back.
Grace and Nathan are scheduled for a return visit (by themselves) this fall.
To best utilized the free concierge services at The San Juan Island Inn Collection, give us a call at: (360) 378-2783.