On any given day, hotel concierge Kalindra Ashleigh might help guests book dinner reservations, track down a lost cell phone—or have a freshly caught shark shipped to Abu Dhabi.
“As a concierge, you never know what your day is going to entail and what miracles you may have to pull off,” says Ashleigh, a concierge at the Montage Beverly Hills. In the case of the shark, a visiting prince had caught the fish and wanted it shipped home intact—but unfortunately, thorny customs issues got in the way. “Instead, I offered to have a taxidermist transform it into a trophy for the prince,” she says. (He declined.)
With their wide network of contacts, concierges are “logistical experts, ambassadors of the city, and most important, during your stay, the facilitators of your life,” says Ashleigh. At high-end hotels like the Montage, you’re more likely to find a concierge who belongs to Les Clefs d’Or, a global organisation of veteran concierges whose code promises to “attend to any request so long as it is moral, legal and kind.”
While the shark incident is proof that not every desire can be fulfilled, most guests’ requests are pretty straightforward: According to a Hotels.com survey, 68 per cent of concierges in the U.S. and Mexico say they get asked most about sightseeing recommendations. (A good rule of thumb: Tip your concierge about $10 for a good dinner or tour recommendation, and at least $20 for more complicated requests.)
When we checked with concierges from around the world, however, we found that they regularly field requests that go well beyond a nice walking tour suggestion. In Paris, one family asked for two small lions to be waiting in their hotel room for their daughter’s birthday party. At the hotel that inspired The Shining, two guests requested to have dinner with the resident ghosts. And back in Beverly Hills, one guest enlisted a concierge to organise an elaborate wedding—for her show collie.
In fact, many of the most colourful concierge requests seem to involve weddings, proposals, or some other bit of romance engineering. At São Paulo’s Hotel Unique, one heartsick guest asked the concierge to help him stage a Cinderella moment to woo back his love. “Ultimately, I don’t think the relationship worked out,” says a hotel spokesperson, “but getting a horse carriage and a glass slipper was quite a feat.”
See the 10 most outrageous hotel concierge requests >
More from Executive Travel:
Two guests at the Four Seasons in Whistler asked to have a chunk of glacier shipped to South Carolina.
One guest at The Fairmont Chateau in British Columbia requested a full suit of armour for his marriage proposal.
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