Attendees absolutely love to be pleasantly surprised during meetings and events, and this carries over to other experiences during their stay, including hotel activities. Some hotels have gone several steps beyond the norm by offering unique services that keep attendees buzzing during and well after their visit.
These services are offered by talented staff members, ranging from hotel flatterers to circus instructors. Here’s a rundown of some of the most innovative staff roles.
Zeroing in on Your Needs
Hotels worldwide always focus on addressing the specific needs of their guests, whatever they may be. Case in point: The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans provides hangover recovery concierges for its guests, many of whom enjoy experiencing the city’s boozy days and nights. The concierges are trained to provide all the special care guests need to recover, including escorting them to the spa and helping them to order a juice blend.
Not getting enough of a personal boost from hotel staff? Then opt for the Compliment Package at Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel in Portland, Oregon, where hotel flatterers will provide you with seemingly random but thoughtful remarks about how attractive and wonderful you are, and much more.
Want to enjoy an ultimate pampering experience? Upon request, Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneateles, New York, will send a spa butler to your room, fully stocked with Zents ultra-hydrating body care products so that guests can choose their favorite. The chosen scent is promptly delivered to the room, along with chilled face towels, shower and hand wash, and detoxifying Epson bath salts to take home.
Guests who love to enjoy the smell of tobacco at any time of day are wild about The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Airport Finance Center, where a hookah water piper sommelier addresses guests’ tobacco needs, such as helping to choose the blends and flavors that are perfect for them.
The Shelbourne in Dublin employs a butler who won’t assist with your bags and helped you get settled in, but will help to track down any Irish ancestors you may have. The genealogy butler develops personalized research plans, genealogical tours throughout Ireland, and assessment reports, and hosts trips to the city’s several genealogical repositories.
Animal Services that Go Beyond
The Peabody Memphis Hotel is famous for it twice-daily penguin march from the hotel roof to the indoor fountain. The penguins put on a spectacular show that would do military marches proud. The credit goes not only to the penguins, but also to the duckmasters, who train and escort them during the walks.
Lots of pigeons enjoy congregating in the courtyard at Rambagh Palace, Jaipur in India, and they leave fecal debris that can spoil guests’ experience. So, the property provides pigeon chasers, who spend several hours each day chasing the pigeons away.
Has your dog been eyeing the thrill of surfing, but frustrated it can’t join in the fun? Loews Coronado Bay Resort on Coronado Island in Florida employs a dog surf instructor who can teach your pooch how to ride the waves. The hotel even throws in a pair of stylish board shorts for your pet.
Want to enjoy some of the best truffles around, as chosen by dogs? Blackberry Farm, a luxury hotel and resort in Walland, Tennessee, has a full-time truffle trainer on staff who teaches his pack of Lagotto Romagnolo dogs—a breed from northern Italy—to expertly sniff out truffles that will later adorn dinner plates. The breed is known for its razor-sharp senses and laser focus.
Teaching New Skills
Has anyone noticed how nicely people’s bowties are tied at The Foundry Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina? Most likely, that’s due to the refined skills of the hotel’s bowtie butler, who shares bow-tying techniques and provides quick lessons to guests.
Dominoes is an especially popular game in Puerto Rico, and the newly opened Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico in Rio Grande has blended it into its offerings by hiring a dominoes master who sets up domino tables poolside, hosts games, shares professional tips and offers samplings of coquito, the traditional island drink.
Ever wish that you could learn circus tricks during your hotel stay? At Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, a group of circus instructors—employees trained in acrobatic arts—teach guests acrobatic activities such as flying trapeze jumping and tight rope walking.
Though mermaids have captured the public imagination for centuries, most people don’t realize the physical challenges that they would have faced if they actually existed. At Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, mermaid (and mermen) trainers offer guests an aquatic workout, complete with tails. The workouts are challenging, since the artificial tails lock your legs together, forcing you to really work your abs!