Sunday, January 24, 2010
World's Most Outrageous Guest Requests
Head Concierge Simon Thomas once was asked to purchase a house and all of its contents for a loyal guest — sight unseen. A Middle Eastern traveler once asked him to ship 21 live deer to Kuwait — a 21st birthday surprise for his daughter. Another guest requested two golden pheasants — live, not stuffed. A celebrity once asked Brown to choreograph a very elaborate transfer from her cruise ship to the hotel via helicopter. The star was very specific about what color and make the cars should be for meeting her and her entourage at the ship and then driving them 100 yards to a waiting helicopter.
Hotel Adlon Kempiniski
When a family vacationing from Hanover, Germany, realized they had left their 4-year-old daughter's stuffed bunny at home, they asked the concierge, Raffaele Sorrentino, to remedy the situation since she could not fall asleep without it. When it was clear no substitute would do, the concierge arranged for a bellhop to drive the five hours round trip to retrieve the beloved bunny from the family's residence. Another time, Sorrentino jetted a staffer to Paris to buy a particular handbag that was not available in Germany, for the birthday of a guest's wife.
The Sagamore Resort
Lake George, N.Y.
Sometimes a guest's requests are so outrageous they cannot be fulfilled, no matter how dedicated the concierge. At this Victorian-era resort a guest asked the concierge to promptly "send engineering to my room to change my fireplace from gas-burning to wood-burning."
Another guest who was getting poor cellphone reception urged the concierge to have a cell tower installed at once. Another guest begged the concierge to find an all-day sitter for his 4-year-old son on Christmas Day; the concierge found not one, but two.
A few years ago, a loyal (and extremely wealthy) guest of the hotel wanted to watch a film, privately, on the beach fronting the hotel. However, the guest did not like sand and asked the concierge to "cover it up somehow." A team was dispatched to Mexico City to buy a panoply of rugs that were carefully rolled out on the beach. (Fortunately, this happened before the resort's recent $71 million "beach recovery" project that added 300 feet of pristine beach to the deluxe property.)
Le Saint-Sulpice Hotel
A pop star staying at this boutique hotel during the making of a movie insisted on drinking raw milk — straight from the cow — first thing every morning as part of a strict dietary regimen she was following.
Then concierge Patrick Huynh made regular trips in the middle of the night to a farm a couple of hours outside of the city in order to be back in time for the guest's breakfast. He'd worked out a barter with the dairy farmer: free raw milk in exchange for a night's stay at the snazzy boutique hotel. Huynh even opted to milk the cow himself — in his concierge suit.