Wednesday, October 13, 2010


An Insider's Wedding Guide to NYC with Chef Concierge at the InterContinental


Five star? 1 star? Sure, we already knew that not all hotels are created equal -- but as it turns out -- not all concierges are either. But at the InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel, their concierge is a cut above even the best.

As Chef Concierge (that's right, it's "chef"!) for over twelve years, Domenic Alfonzetti knows a thing or two about how to make guests feel right at home. His 25 years of experience in the hotel industry -- working every job from front desk agent to rooms division manager -- bring something extra to the table.

"I have been in just about all of the front office positions, so I have an inside understanding of how the hotel operates. The answer is always "yes" -- now, what is the question?" says Domenic.

But that hardly means his job is easy. Sure, you can ask Domenic to get you reservations at top restaurants or ask him how to get discounted Broadway tickets -- but more often than not, Domenic's job is about making the impossible happen -- especially when it comes to weddings.

"I have witnessed many a wedding," he says, but some requests stick out. A bride-to-be asked Domenic for two dozen white Casablanca lilies, tied with a black silk ribbon, for her intimate wedding that was happening at 3 p.m. the next day. Sounds simple, right?

"You will be surprised how something simple can become a major issue," says Domenic. The flowers were ordered and sure enough, the next day two dozen beautiful lilies showed up with black ribbon. They were held in the refrigerator to keep them fresh until 3 p.m.

"At 3 p.m., the bride asked for her flowers," Domenic says. "One of my colleagues asked to see the flowers before they went up -- and it was lucky she did. The flowers had been kept a little too cold, and unfortunately, had frozen. This is when you go into third gear and make it happen! I literally ran to a nearby florist and picked up two dozen Casablanca lilies, pulled off the leaves, brought them back to the hotel, cut them to size, arranged them with the same black silk ribbon and rushed them to the bride within 25 minutes. The bride never knew -- and she even commented on how beautiful the flowers were upon her departure."

There's another InterContinental wedding Domenic also remembers well. The bride and groom arranged to have their ceremony in Central Park -- which sounds like a beautiful idea, until it rains. "It wasn't just rain -- it was more like a monsoon!" Domenic says. The bridal party arrived back at the hotel soaking wet and upset. So once again, it was Domenic to the rescue. He made a few phone calls, and within an hour, had converted one of the hotel's business rooms into a small wedding chapel, complete with twenty seats and an aisle.

Even if you're not getting married in the city, though, Domenic can be there to show your guests the best NYC has to offer. "We pride ourselves in being in the know. We are connected nationally and through our membership in Les Clefs d'Or, as well as through networking with our counterparts at all of the InterContinental properties." In other words, you've got the hook-up when it comes to experiencing NYC.

"Don't be afraid to approach the concierge desk," Domenic likes to remind guests. "We are there to assist, recommend, and guide. In fact, come and see the concierge first. We can show you everything the city can offer and help you get the most out of your stay."

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Perfect 10 Weddings in Bermuda


You know as much as I love NY, when I had the chance to head to Bermuda to see 10 incredible destination weddings this weekend, for 10/10/10, I jumped at the chance.

In case you missed the contest, The Knot partnered with Bermuda to bring 10 lucky couples the destination wedding of a lifetime. Each of the couples gets a totally personalized ceremony at a fabulous hotel on the island -- plus they each got to bring along 8 friends for free (thanks to JetBlue!).

So far, the weekend couldn't be better. The weather is gorgeous and while the couples are gearing up for their big day tomorrow (more on that later!), I've had an incredible time relaxing and seeing some of what Bermuda has to offer. I've been staying at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess hotel (above right photo), which is right at the heart of the harbor on the island. Aside from exploring a beautiful beach today (Elbow Beach, above left photo) I also got to enjoy a perfectly traditional English tea this afternoon (Bermuda is still a British colony -- so afternoon tea here is pretty authentic). The Earl Grey tea was delicious, but so were all the mini sandwiches, treats and even savory shooters served along with it.

Now there's a little bit of time until dinner -- and then it's all about preparing for tomorrow -- 10/10/10. I can't wait to see the 10 amazing weddings that will be happening throughout the day. Stay tuned, I'll be posting more about this wedding weekend in Bermuda later.

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