Think about your last vacation. There was probably someone who went the extra mile or noticeably excelled at doing his or her job. Maybe you were moved by a random act of kindness. Whatever it is, the person’s role in your travels made the journey seamless, comfortable and/or memorable for you.
I have a long list of people across many continents who deserve thanks for assisting us in various ways. The people I acknowledge below are just a handful of many Journeymakers over the last few months who come to mind.
Our Snorkeling Tour Guide
My daughter was a bit younger than the average guest on a snorkeling tour around Mamutik Island off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo. But since her mask had to be switched out for another because it didn’t fit quite right and it took a little bit of time (that was happily spent building sandcastles), one of the guides took us out on a private snorkeling tour in search of “Nemo”.
She grabbed on to his buoy and he towed her out into the South China Sea — with me swimming alongside of them — to see clownfish, eels, and other amazing tropical fish. It was so cool and something we would not have done our own.
The Blacklane Driver Who Returned My MiFi
We arranged a driver through Blacklane to take us from Four Seasons Hotel at Canary Wharf to Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England. The drive was supposed to have taken about 90 minutes but with city traffic, it took nearly 2.5 hours. With a head cold in full force, I fell asleep with my cell phone and international MiFi in my lap. The MiFi must have fallen on to the floor because I left it in the car.
I called the driver’s transportation company and eventually, they texted to say that they had found my device. We agreed the easiest solution was for them to mail it to my home in the La Jolla. Relieved, but disappointed by less connectivity for the remainder of our trip, I set off into the countryside to ride bikes with my daughter.
On our way back, I ran into our driver in the hotel lobby who had driven it from who-knows-where back to our hotel. He didn’t have to do that, but I am forever appreciative.
Guest Relations at Various Four Seasons Hotels
For me, lately, my Journeymakers are often the guest relations teams at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. I drove up to Los Angeles for work and booked myself into the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. I arrived in the late afternoon and as I was sliding my key into the door, I thought to myself, “A glass of wine would really hit the spot right about now…”
And, then I saw this. Thanks to Jing, a member of the guest relations team, my problem was solved. We often stay here when I need to overnight in Los Angeles so she had been in touch prior to check-in to touch base and see if my daughter was traveling with me. In the era of apps and automation, this kind of personal touch is always much-appreciated and earns my continued loyalty.
The Concierge Who Booked a Reservation I Couldn’t
Our trip planning to Paris commenced much later than I had planned and by then, skip-the-line tickets for the Eiffel Tower were sold out. Reservations for Le Jules Verne restaurant — the tower’s fine dining restaurant that allows access to the second-floor viewing deck — weren’t available online either. We’re not often in Paris so we all wanted to go to a viewing deck, but aren’t the type of travelers who wait in long lines.
I emailed the concierge desk at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris and the next day I woke up to Michelin-star lunch reservations at exactly the time I requested. Of the things my husband and I (and hopefully our daughter) will remember in our lifetime, this is one of them. I mean, look at the view (pictured above). Four Seasons concierges have relationships and advice that can make memorable events happen with ease.
The Server Who Saved My Spot
After a lengthy spa treatment, I grabbed the most epic waterfront lounge space at Shangri-la’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa‘s Sunset Bar. It’s lauded as the best place to watch the sunset in Kota Kinabalu.
But I had to leave my prime real estate to collect my daughter from the lobby as she was being dropped off from a playdate with friends. I’m not sure if she was allowed to do this — these seats are quite coveted — but my server placed a “reserved” sign on my lounge chair and gave me the green light to return with my daughter for a memorable evening of ocean breezes, great food and quite possibly one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.
Thank Your Own Journeymakers
In celebration of American Express Travel’s 100th birthday, they’ve launched a new Journeymakers website. Here, travelers type out short notes of thanks to the people who make vacations memorable. American Express Travel will actually mail these notes to the chosen Journeymakers in the form of a postcard. How cool is that?
Sure, these notes showcase things to do in destinations I haven’t been to. But highlighting how awesome people all over the world are, in one place, is really inspiring.
Now, go thank the people who make your vacations awesome.
Who are your Journeymakers?
*This post is brought to you in partnership with American Express Travel.