Fortune’s Concierge Black Book: New York
Regena Falling has been a concierge since 1989. She spent 19 years in Seattle at the original Four Seasons, but “I always had really wanted to move to New York,” she says. After making the move, she spent four years at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park. “But I was always keeping my eye on the Park Hyatt. I walked by it every day on my way to work. It was a life goal of mine to be able to open a hotel and hire my own team.” She fulfilled that goal when the Hyatt opened its suave 210-room flagship in the first 25 floors of architect Christian de Portzamparc’s glittering spindle across from Carnegie Hall. With her cohort of six concierges, Falling handles a mix of leisure and business, American and international guests at the Hyatt. Here’s where she sends them.
Hot Neighborhood: The Lower East Side is such an interesting part of New York. The streets are thin and curvy, and the architecture has a lot of character. There are great restaurants like Narcissa and Cherche Midi, nightlife at Death + Company, even a great little burlesque place called Slipper Room. I love Bluebird and Mudspot for coffee and the womenswear at Epaulet. The LES is also home to one of New York’s few remaining independent bookshops, St. Mark’s.
Best New Restaurant: In Midtown, you typically don’t get that trendy feel of restaurants in Meatpacking [District], but Beautique is an exception. The chef, Craig Hopson, came here from Le Cirque. I have a hard time not ordering his scallops with foie gras.
Toughest Dinner Reservation: Dirty French is the French version of Carbone (with the same owners) and is just as hard to get into. It’s on many of our guests’ lists. Everyone comes to New York wanting to go to the restaurants they’ve read about…but these places only seat 60 people! We can get people into Dirty French with a little notice and a little flexibility. A range of four or five weeknights is a lot easier than 8 p.m. on a Saturday.
Cocktail Destination: The bartenders at Dear Irving in Union Square do amazing Gilded Age cocktails. You basically go in and tell the bartender what you like, then they build a bespoke cocktails just for you.
Spa Experience: Especially in winter when you want to be warm, AIRE Ancient Baths in Tribeca is very relaxing. They have all different bath treatments in brick-and-stone plunge pools that are lit from within, lots of candles and saunas. It’s beautiful, high-end but rustic.
Shopping Spree: In the Flatiron, Dover Street Market is a high-end department store with seven floors and a constantly changing selection. You can get anything from Prada and Comme des Garçons to Repossi jewelry and limited-edition sneakers.
Urban Escape: About an hour from Manhattan on Long Island, the mansions of the Gold Coast make a great day trip. Oheka Castle, Old Westbury Gardens, Eagle’s Nest… They were built by barons of industry at the turn of the century up on a hill so they could be seen from Manhattan. A lot of them have tours that are really quite interesting; the ones that don’t we can set up private tours for.
Locals’ Secret: My son is an artist so I love to visit Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg. It’s a library that’s full of artists’ sketchbooks and pads. Not necessarily famous artists; it can be anyone. You can even buy a sketchbook there and have yours added to the collection.
Must-Have Souvenir: A lot of fabulous things come from our Canadian neighbors, and Black Seed Bagels is a great little spot where one of the owners is from Montreal. The bagels are delicious. We’re sending staff down there at least once a week for guests to take home.
Best Room in the House: The 57th Street Studio Suite isn’t the biggest room in the hotel, but the architecture is really interesting. On that side of our building, the windows curve up, so the suite has almost like a little solarium feel with the windows bowing above your head.
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Minibar Temptation: Nuts, “especially spicy almonds.”
Favorite Hotel in the World: Leela Palaca Udaipur. “When you arrive from the airport, a mustachioed gentlemen greets with you a sun umbrella and you get on a beautiful boat covered in silk that takes you across the lake to the hotel.”
Next Vacation: Mendoza, Argentina
Most Outrageous Guest Request: “We had a guest that wanted to charter a helicopter to take him to his friend’s barbecue in Boston—and land in the backyard.”
A Great Concierge Is: Kind.
We asked Regena Falling to plan us a single, singular day in New York…
“I would arrange a helicopter charter from the JFK Airport with a full tour of the Manhattan skyline before arriving at the 34th Street helipad, where you will be whisked to Park Hyatt New York via Mercedes S Class sedan. Once you have had a chance to relax, I would arrange for your driver to take you to your choice of a private tour of the Museum of Modern Art or consultation at Sotheby’s.
“Your art immersion will be followed by a private shopping tour at Barneys along with a bite at a VIP table at Fred’s. If you still need more time to shop a ‘Locked in Barneys’ VIP shopping experience awaits you tomorrow either before the store opens or after hours. Next a little relaxation is in order with a couple’s massage at the hotel overlooking the New York skyline.
“For your evening entertainment, you would have your choice of a VIP tickets to Carnegie Hall along with a backstage tour or sold-out tickets to a Broadway show with a celebrity meet-and-greet, with a tasting menu to follow at Mas Farmhouse. Your night will end with escorted entry and bottle service for a reserved table at Avenue. Your driver will be waiting when you are ready to return to for a blissful nights rest in your suite.”