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The Stafford London's Expert in Satisfying Desire

Your concierge, an expert in satisfying every need
Frank Laino (right) at the reception desk of the Stafford London
Frank Laino (right) at the reception desk of the Stafford LondonPhotograph by Jon Stanley Austin

A concierge rarely says no. If a client asks for the impossible—a reservation for eight at Gordon Ramsay’s three-star restaurant in Chelsea, which is booked two months in advance and, anyway, doesn’t have tables that large—the concierge doesn’t embarrass the client in front of his colleagues. The concierge doesn’t say this will never happen, you’re living in a dream world, or any of the other things he may be thinking. The concierge takes the client’s contact information and sends him along. Later, the concierge offers an apology and an alternative.

Frank Laino (pronounced Lay-no) is the source of much wisdom on matters such as this. For the past 13 years he has manned the concierge desk in the Stafford London, a small and grand old hotel. Every weekday, often for 12 hours at a time, Laino is available for consultation or just chatter. He is masterful at executing almost every kind of request. He will buy clients aspirin, knickers, tickets to sold-out events (if he can do so legally), and even old double-decker buses. The one he purchased, part of a fleet being sold off, cost about £10,000 (about $15,860). Shipping it to the Texan who asked for it on a whim cost another £10,000. Laino isn’t looking forward to having to find spare parts.