With their expert knowledge and deep love for people and travel, your Luxury Gold Travelling Concierge ensures that your vacation is personal and unforgettable. Always at your service, they tailor your travel experience for you and take care of every detail, leaving you free to enjoy every moment.
Here John Jennings, who escorts Luxury Gold guests in Britain and Ireland, gives us an insight into a day in the life of a Travelling Concierge.
In 2009, John set off backpacking around the world and fell in love with travel. On his return he knew he wanted to share his new found love with others and, after reading an article about the best jobs in the world, became a tour manager. Learning his trade over the last 11 years, he has worked his way up in the industry to become a Luxury Gold Traveling Concierge.
“Watching people’s expression change when they see something amazing for the first time is always really special,” he tells us. “When guests see a spectacular sight for the first time, I always make sure I have turned back to see their faces. This is really for me what it is all about.”
We join John for a day in the life of a Travelling Concierge on the evening of Day 5 of British Royale, a 10-Day luxury guided tour of England and Scotland’s national treasures, as the guests arrive in the medieval English city of York.
Day 1 of our time with John: Arrival into York, early evening
“York is always a highlight for our guests,” says John. “Beautifully preserved, it is a place of extraordinary cultural and historical delights. To see the joy on the faces of our guests as we arrive is always a pleasure.
“On the drive I have taken the time to ask each of the guests about their preferences for dinner this evening and explained the plans for the next day. We have two options for exploring York in the morning, I make a note of everyone’s selection and help with any queries. These conversations are very important, ensuring our guests always know what is coming up, and they give everyone the opportunity to continuously tailor their journey according to their individual preferences. We offer a curated personal experience throughout our luxury guided tours, with a thoughtful balance of guided experiences and independent exploration.”
Settling into the Grand Hotel and Spa
“On route into the city, I have contacted the hotel to confirm our arrival time. This means that the room keys are all ready, and the hotel is waiting to greet us. As we arrive at the 5* Grand Hotel and Spa, our guests are greeted by the hotel doorman, dressed in his top hat and finery and their bags are whisked away. A truly magnificent hotel, the guests look around in awe as we pass under the high ceilings of the grand entrance hall. I accompany them to the check in desk to pick up their keys and they can then head straight to their rooms, where their luggage is waiting.”
Choose how you dine, from fine cuisine to traditional pub fare
“This evening our guests can choose how they wish to dine. York is renowned for its gastronomy of all kinds, so there are many great options. On the drive I spoke to everyone individually about dinner recommendations and, as we are on the fifth day of the tour, I have also had the chance to get to know their preferences. One couple on this tour really like fine dining, so I had already hand selected some suggestions for them to choose from and made reservations at Melton’s, renowned for its high-quality British cuisine. The other guests are keen for a traditional country gastropub experience, and I recommend the Eagle and Child and the Kings Arms. Both appeal to Luxury Gold guests, offering traditional charm and a delicious locally sourced menu.”
“York is a very compact city so I then offer to walk anyone in in the evening that would like to join me. I take the opportunity to explain where things are, and to talk about the day ahead tomorrow, and I will accompany people to their restaurant if they wish. While they dine, I head off for my dinner and I run through the plans for the next day and make any last-minute adjustments. I am also on hand throughout the evening and on call overnight should the guests need assistance with anything. “
Day 6: A bespoke journey
“The Grand Hotel and Spa hosts a wonderful breakfast spread, which the guests enjoy at their leisure. I don’t join them, but instead take the opportunity to catch up on some administration and check weather forecasts and anything else relevant for the day.
Then, at 9am, we are off for a choice of two optional experiences. I spoke to the guests yesterday to see how they wished to explore the city; walk the medieval city walls or visit the spectacular cathedral, York Minster. These curated experiences offer two very different ways to explore, and I check that they are still happy with their choice. Our options are very carefully chosen with the Luxury Gold guest in mind so usually everyone is keen to do them, but they can of course choose to do something completely different, and I would advise and assist with bookings. I travel with the guests to the cathedral and on arrival introduce them to their Local Expert. I walk up ahead so their tickets are ready and waiting and everyone walks straight in.”
“Afterwards I meet all the guests back at the cathedral and make recommendations of what to do with their next few hours which are free time. I suggest visiting The Shambles, a small medieval narrow street with leaning buildings that they might not find for themselves. I have a guest who is particularly interested in engineering, so I advise a visit the Railway Museum.
“I then return to the hotel and spend time confirming things for the upcoming days. I have couple who are celebrating their anniversary in a few days when we get to Edinburgh, so I arrange for some celebratory elements at the restaurant we will be dining at.”
VIP Experience, a private tour of Castle Howard
“This afternoon we head to Castle Howard for an amazing and exclusive Luxury Gold VIP experience. We arrive at this magnificent building in almost solitude after it is closed to the public. The guests gasp with delight as we step into the ornate Grecian Room and sit down to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea. Then I introduce the guests to their expert guide, and we embark on a private VIP tour of the castle.
“No matter how many times I see this place, I am always amazed at how special it is to be here all alone. I join the guests for the tour as I always like to hear their excitement and feedback, and I really enjoy getting to know them. Everything I learn about our guests’ personalities enables me to make their vacation even more special and personal. And seeing their happiness and wonder is why I love my job.
“On the journey back to the hotel I hand out some souvenir bags that I put together from Rowntree’s, the British confectioner based in York, as a surprise gift.”
Enjoying the exquisite Grand Hotel and Spa
“The guests have eaten so well today they all decide to stay at the hotel tonight and enjoy its amenities, which include an award-winning restaurant, luxurious spa and skilled bartenders just waiting to serve you their signature cocktails. I take the time for some final administrative tasks as we prepare to head to the beautiful English lake district tomorrow.”
If you are inspired to visit York then take a look at our British Royale luxury guided tour, and of course, your Travelling Concierge will be with you every step of the way.