At your service

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 February, 2008, 12:00am

From car repairs to concert tickets, concierge services at luxury residences are designed to take care of all your needs

When the idea of a residential concierge was first launched in the luxury property sector, it was something of a novelty, according to local property management companies who offer the service.

Not surprisingly, they said, residents took to the idea of using a concierge who could cater to their every whim and was available 24 hours a day right from the beginning.

If you think your needs are odd, or if you are just looking to outdo your neighbour, be aware that a concierge at a luxury property knows few boundaries. 'In other words, a concierge will do anything the clients asked as long as it is morally, legally and humanly possible,' said Irene Wai, general manager of Supreme Management Services at Sun Hung Kai Properties, whose development The Leighton Hill was one of the first residential properties to offer a full concierge service in Hong Kong in 2002.

Interestingly, the most popular requests made by residents are somewhat mundane and are geared towards making life easier. The most popular requests for Sino Group's Courtesy Ambassadors are for housekeeping information such as home cleaning services, concert ticket bookings, furniture shops, laundry services, car repairs and rental, and pet care services.

There are many benefits to living in a building with a concierge if you are newly arrived expatriates on unfamiliar turf. They offer someone dedicated to answering your questions, no matter how unusual, and this can make a huge difference to how you care for your family - especially when you don't understand how the system works.

One success story is that of the concierge working at a Sino Group property who found a speech therapist for a foreign child who had difficulty speaking after moving to Hong Kong, said Sunny Yeung Kwong, associate director of Sino Group.

The ambassadors have also helped western expats understand Chinese customs and festivals, arranged multiple-entry China visas for western families, handled a surgery tour to South Korea for a Hong Kong resident and planned a travel itinerary to Shanghai and Vancouver for a Hong Kong family.

Concierges are chosen for their caring natures, as exemplified by the case of Peter, who works at The Leighton Hill. He once helped a resident look for her missing father-in-law (an Alzheimer's patient) while he was off-duty.

And the help doesn't stop with people. Daniel, who also works at The Leighton Hill, once received a call to look for a resident's lost cat.

'Daniel found the cat on the platform of the window in the resident's house and advised him to take his cat to visit the veterinary clinic,' said Ms Wai.

Concierges go above and beyond the call of duty to attend to residents' needs - and even sometimes needs they never knew they had. Which is of course the point.