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The Best Vacation Resource You’re Not Using

aerial view of a marina

concierge sign With the advent of the Internet, planning your entire vacation down to the hour has become easy, with online check-in, competitively priced booking websites, and readily available reviews of every Bed and Breakfast, restaurant and activity in any given place. But no matter how much careful planning you do, there will always be something you’re missing in whatever location you’re headed to – that hole-in-the-wall pub that only locals know about, the public beach that’s a bit off the beaten path but nearly always empty, the best place to get a great photo of local wildlife. That’s why more travelers should be taking advantage of one of the most under-utilized amenities in the industry – the concierge.

To begin with, a concierge is one of the few things left that’s really free. Many upscale Bed and Breakfasts and resorts have a full-time concierge on staff, and their services are included in the price of the room, although tipping is encouraged based on your appreciation of the service or the difficulty of the request.

Your concierge can help you book a table at a popular restaurant, get those last two spots on a busy tour, or arrange a cab to be there when you’re ready to leave. He or she can also help you celebrate a special occasion by, for example, making sure there are rose petals and a bottle of champagne in your room when you arrive to toast your anniversary. But don’t forget that this staff member can also share secrets of the place you’re staying that you would never know simply from Internet research. He or she lives there, and has gotten to know the place inside and out. The concierge can help you make the most of your trip and provide some extremely memorable ideas that might have passed you by if you hadn’t asked.

At Tucker House and Harrison House on beautiful San Juan Island, we are proud to offer these services to help you more thoroughly enjoy your stay. We can point you towards our favorite lunch café or reading spot, provide options on the best ways to get around the island, or tell you where our favorite spot to go for a summer day’s hike is. We’ll even help you demystify the ferry schedule!

We have a standard list of the best restaurants and activity operators to choose from if asked for a basic recommendation, like a good seafood place or a nice spot to watch the sunset. But our team will try to get to know you a little, so we can come up with more personal recommendations – the best whale-watching boat for a family, the most romantic restaurant for a special celebration, or the most scenic beach to just watch the world go by – even if that place isn’t necessarily on the “best-of” list. To get service catered to your interests, make sure you give us a bit of time; especially during the busy summer season, make sure to give us a call before you arrive so we can suggest ideas for your itinerary. Once we have things finalized, we will take care of all the bookings and have vouchers awaiting your arrival in your guest room. With a bit of advanced planning, we can be sure to offer our guests our best, even during the height of the season.

Anna Maria and Dave, your innkeepers, learned a valuable lesson about the advantages of a concierge during their recent Hawaiian getaway. Anna Maria recalled their experience for me.

“Since we are in the business, we consider ourselves independent travelers. We do all of our own research and book all the aspects of our trip. This year, by the time we finally got to Hawaii we ran out of steam to organize what we should do. We were overwhelmed with all the choices in the tourist literature and online. Out of desperation, I called the concierge desk and spoke to Suzie. As soon as I started speaking with her and hearing her breadth of knowledge, I trusted her recommendation knowing we were in good hands.

Without hesitation, she recommended that we take the Na Pali Boat tour the next morning as she knew we had a small weather window to do this trip. She explained the boat trip goes up and down the coast and then crosses to Niihau, where we would dive. I was in disbelief and asked her to repeat the itinerary. This tour was on our bucket list for another visit, as I never imagined we could have done this boat trip in January. When we boarded the boat the next morning, the crew was shocked to hear of our itinerary, as it wasn’t on their radar considering the season. Needless to say, we are so thrilled we enlisted Suzie’s help and took her advice. That trip was the highlight of our visit.”

At Tucker House and Harrison House, all of our outstanding innkeepers double as concierges, and will make sure you add something truly unique and memorable to your itinerary. So don’t run the risk of missing out on an experience that might be the one you remember forever – ask your concierge how to make your next vacation the trip of a lifetime!

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