Ask a Concierge - Blaž Sok

more than a year ago

Blaž Sok can be found working as the concierge in both the Grand Hotel Union and Grand Hotel Union Business, where he seems to always be on call to meet the needs of guests. We spoke to him about his work.

How did you become a concierge at the Grand Hotel Union?
I was working here, on reception, and what interested me was when guests had unusual or interesting requests, and that’s what I enjoyed working on. I looked into it, and realised what I wanted to do, but at the time there were no concierges in Ljubljana, only one in Portorož. So I talked to the general manager about it, and started to think differently, to do my best to become the first concierge in the city. At the time I was getting a lot of reviews and comments online, TripAdviser, things like that. I still do. I keep them in a special folder, and it means more than a tip. Because of that I was given this chance eight months ago, so I’m still learning, but I love this job.

What are some unusual requests you’ve had to deal with?
Well let’s say a guest wants to go hunting, with a helicopter, so I have to arrange that. Also, a lot of Americans come here to find their family history, and I help with that. People ask what’s the strangest request, but really it’s things like finding medicine for a guest. One time this took me two days. Or I helped someone propose to his girlfriend, or a man wanted to reserve the whole of Strelec just for him and his wife. It’s those things that mean my days are always different. There’s no routine. I love it.

Are you from Ljubljana?
Yes, and I can’t imagine anyone doing this job if they weren’t. You know, many young people dream of leaving Slovenia, of going to work abroad, but I don’t have those plans. I’m happy here, in Ljubljana. I have it in my heart.

What kind of things do you do in your free time?
I like to visit the museums, explore the city, but that’s also part of my job. And every day I like to take an hour to do a little workout. I walk in the forest here, Rožnik Hill, this is my special place. I need this time to myself, because otherwise I’m available for the guests 24 hours a day.

Do you live in the hotel?
No, I live five minutes away, but I have my phone with me all the time. Living here would be too much. I have to keep some things separate.

What is a good souvenir from Ljubljana?
A Ljubljana dragon, for sure. You can buy one in every souvenir shop, and it’s the best symbol of the city.

What about places to visit in winter?
There’s not a big difference between the summer and winter. When the Christmas lights go on, this is the one thing that you must go all around the city to see, and the Castle is always good, in every season.

And to eat?
For sure, if you’re a visitor you must try traditional Slovenian food. But what is this? Slovenia is a small country, but if you go north they have their own traditions, if you go toward the sea they have different ones. Perhaps the traditional food is just a kranjska klobasa. For restaurants my favourites to recommend are the newly opened Atelje, but also Strelec at the castle, Špajza and Gostilna As.

And where do you like to have a drink?
If I want a drink after work I just walk over Triple Bridge and go along Cankrajevo nabrežje, maybe have a coffee at Fetiche Patisserie, or a beer at Kavarna Maček.

Finally, can you give us an Insider Tip?
For me, Sunday is the best day to visit Ljubljana. Almost all the stores are closed, just restaurants and cafes open. So you can just relax, go to a museum or visit the Castle, and have a coffee by the river. That to me is the best of Ljubljana.

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