I’m an early riser, so the 5:30 a.m. phone call last week found me at my computer writing this blog. The caller was Le Montage, a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills.
It was a perfect time. Wilshire Boulevard was deserted. The hotel was three miles away. I could park on the street. Guests during the small hours are particularly grateful. I was home in time for breakfast.
My last visit to Le Montage occurred several months ago. The call arrived at 3 a.m.
That I am Los Angeles’ leading hotel doctor is beyond doubt, but I have never dominated the elite establishments (Bel Air, Four Seasons, Beverly Wilshire, L’Hermitage, Peninsula, Beverly Hills Hotel). These already had doctors when I began in 1983.
After a few decades, some took notice, and I often covered for their doctors, but nowadays when these hotels call, it’s generally during the wee hours.
I suspect this is because a new generation came on the scene a few years ago including several young aggressive doctors building a concierge practice. Concierge doctors offer an exclusive personal service, but they accept only cash. They have no interest in Hiltons, Ramadas, Holiday Inns et al whose middle-class guests might object to the fees, but luxury hotels are a different matter. They solicited with considerable success.
“Do you think they're paying off the concierges and bellman?” asked a veteran colleague when the subject came up.
"They wouldn't stoop to that," I responded. It's illegal. I’ve met several of these doctors, and they seem personable. Check their web sites (google “Los Angeles house call doctor”). All describe themselves as skilled and deeply compassionate. Read their testimonials or the Yelp comments. Unanimous praise.
When these physicians introduce themselves to bellmen and concierges, they undoubtedly emphasize their skill and deep compassion. Who would not be impressed?
As midnight approaches, bellmen and concierges go home. The skeleton night staff has never encountered these exceptional physicians, so when a guest falls ill, they call Doctor Oppenheim.