When it comes to the life of a hotel concierge, fetching shampoo and recommending restaurants are just the tip of the iceberg. As you can imagine, staff at luxe hotels get some pretty outlandish requests. And, if it's not illegal or immoral, most do their best to make them happen.
But just how wild are we talking? We asked some top concierges from across the country for their craziest requests.
This Florida Mansion is 62 Acres of Movie-Inspired Magic
The Grand Del Mar San Diego, CA It's one thing to tell a friend that you're taking her on a special trip to Peru, and quite another to have a real-live llama deliver the message for you. Well, that's exactly what one Grand Del Mar guest insisted upon; he asked to have a llama roam the hotel property until the perfect moment when he could pop the surprise.
Admittedly, the guest wasn't totally out of his mind, as he had a friend in the area with an the actual llama. So it was more a matter of getting the animal to the hotel. Which they did, successfully pulling off the stunt without a hitch.
A black toothbrush
Waldorf Astoria Chicago, IL Apparently, they do exist. According to the concierge at Chicago's Waldorf, anything a guest asks for is, in essence, a valid request. If they want a solid black toothbrush, you have to scour the city to find one.
The clothes off their backs
The Jefferson Richmond, VA After the airline lost his luggage, a guest arrived without a suit for an important business meeting -- in an hour! Fortunately, the hotel's managing director had his dry cleaning hanging in the office, and he and the guest were just about the same size.
High heels from their emergency shoe stash
The Jefferson Richmond, VA Yup, the hotel also has a collection of sensible ladies' black pumps in a variety of sizes that can be borrowed in a pinch. Or, if a guest needs more than a pair of kicks, the concierge has a network of local boutique owners who are willing to let guests quickly shop off hours in case of a fashion emergency. Naturally.
A last-minute wedding gown repair
The Jefferson Richmond, VA Perhaps the best hotel happy ending (of the fashion variety, come on!) was a bride who needed her wedding dress re-hemmed. She brought the request to the hotel team at MIDNIGHT before the big day. The hotel's most trusted seamstress was contacted at home and, amazingly, had the gown fixed up by the morning.
Impossible-to-get craft beer
The Grand Del Mar San Diego, CA A guest was a big beer enthusiast and in search of the “Holy Grail” of suds, Russian River Brewing Company's Pliny The Elder (PtE). A highly sought-after double IPA, it can take a near “act of God” to find it on local store shelves, says Justin Robbins, The Grand Del Mar's chef/concierge. To skip waiting patiently with other customers for the distribution truck to deliver the goods to area stores (with a 2-bottle limit per person), Robbins has vendor hold a few bottles to the side for him every few weeks for his VIP guests. In this case, the guest arrived to find four bottles of Pliny The Elder waiting for him in his room.
A private jet flight to a town with no airport
The Jefferson Washington, D.C. When a family emergency arose for one guest at the Jefferson, the hotel's head concierge, Chris Adcock, had to track down a private jet at the last minute. Not only that, it was flying to a town without an airport so they also had to locate a safe area where the plane could land. “Despite the isolation and the bad weather – we pulled it off,” Adcock says. “It was stressful. But the guest had to get there. Whether we had to carry him, he had to get there.”
The Jefferson Washington, DC The most expensive request at the Jefferson was from a guest who needed a gown for a presidential inaugural gala, says Adcock. Not a problem, though, as he asked the owner of a high-end boutique to open the store for a private fitting.
To be serenaded at baggage claim... by a crooner
Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, LA The concierge was once asked by a group of older ladies (celebrating one of their birthdays) to have a stretch limousine pick them up from the airport. Pretty standard, right? Except... they also asked for a crooner to serenade them while waiting for their bags and on the ride to the hotel. Where's Michael Bublé when you need him?
A cake that resembles a box from Tiffany's
The Ritz-Carlton Westchester, NY The concierge at the Westchester Ritz was once asked to assist with a marriage proposal and had the hotel's culinary team bake a cake in the shape/color of a Tiffany's Box. The engagement ring, naturally, went inside.
Penguins. Yes, just penguins. Waiting in the room.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, HI One guest actually requested to have penguins waiting in his/her room upon arrival. And to have Morgan Freeman narrate the whole thing! JK, although that'd be crazy, right? “Now we can create near-miracles," said the concierge, "and we often do... but even this one was well out of reach and against a number of laws!”
For the hotel chef to cook up freshly killed alligator
Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, LA Helicopter rides over the Louisiana wetlands, alligator hunting, charter fishing -- no problem. They can arrange those. How about having the chef clean and prepare the day's catch for a fabulous dinner experience? Well, they'll do that too.
A private helicopter to watch the Ironman Triathlon
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, HI A recent guest was sponsoring a team of seven triathletes in the Ironman World Championship and wanted to watch all of them in the race. To make it happen, the hotel arranged for a private helicopter to fly side-by-side with the NBC newscasters (gaining flight clearance required even more string-pulling) and a four-wheel-drive vehicle on the ground. They even packed him a tasty lunch for the day.