Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Welcome to Whale Week, our celebration of the city's biggest spenders.
Photo courtesy Le Parker Meridien
As Whale Week draws to a close, let's turn our attention to a non-native species: the high-end tourist. We asked concierges at hotels around town to tell us about the best perks and craziest indulgences they've ever been privy to. Here's what they said.
On going above and beyond to help a customer: "I did go shopping one day, all day, with one of my customers who was turning 16. Her dad had given her $100,000 to spend for the day. We spent most of the day shopping everywhere and she had a great time. She had $50,000 left to spent by 7pm and was not that happy because the stores were closing, but I made sure that they stayed open for her and she was thrilled."—Isabelle Hogan, The Mark Hotel
On whether wealthy clients need much shopping advice: "The majority of them, they come with their homework done. They pretty much know what they're looking for. There is the other part of clientele looking for vintage stores and more boutique stores, but that is somewhat unusual...All these high-end people, they just don't ask you where the stores are because they already know. They're not first-timers in New York. They go to the stores and they have it delivered, or they call the stores."—Claudia Iluz, Le Parker Meridien
On tracking things down: "We had a client who was looking for a piece of art by François Bard. He has done a large number of pieces that we have in the hotel. We were able to track down a piece in the midwest and we were able to get it shipped to Australia for them. We also have people coming to us at 5:30am saying things like, 'I forgot my suit and I have an interview with the president,' and we've had to call people in the area to get them into a suit as soon as possible. At one of our London properties, we actually gave one of our uniforms to someone who had to interview Tony Blair the next day, because he forgot his suit."—Todd Hunt, The Crosby Street Hotel
On popular neighborhoods: "They love the stores in the Upper East Side on Madison going all the way down to 59th street. We have a wonderful map that we give to our guests with all the stores on Madison Avenue. Also, they do request to go shopping in Soho for unusual stores and we do have a Soho map with all the stores too."—Isabelle Hogan, The Mark Hotel
On who shops where: "Brazilians ask for all the high-end stores. Italians too. Sometimes they ask for Gucci because they're under the impression that it's cheaper here. I have no idea if that's the case."—Claudia Iluz, Le Parker Meridien
On exclusive shopping services: "We do work with a few personal shoppers. We also have access to Bloomingdale's Lexington Avenue store 24 hours a day. We haven't had to use it very often, but if someone needs pajamas at 2am, we can do it. It's like a little city over there—there's always someone doing something. And at my concierge desk, if someone requests something, you can't say no."—Todd Hunt, The Crosby Street Hotel