Some of us have only humble hotel requests: fresh towels, a shower with hot water, maybe a restaurant reservation or two … and please, no bugs in the bed. But then there are the travelers who are just a little bit more demanding!
We asked 22 hotels, B&Bs and inns to share the zaniest requests they’ve ever gotten from guests, and they responded with some doozies. From arranging doggie honeymoons to offering astronomy advice, these concierges and innkeepers truly went beyond the call of duty.
Swimming with the Fishes
“We had one woman who wanted us to arrange a pedicure with fish that seemingly nibble the hard skin around your toes! And then we had a gentleman who wanted to be christened on Culloden Battlefield because he was convinced he was a Jacobite reincarnated!! We said no to the fish but yes to the christening — a retired minister did it for £75.” — Stephen Davies, General Manager, Culloden House (Inverness, Scotland)
How Much Did They Pay in Checked Bag Fees?
“Two hundred twenty-two pieces of luggage arrived with the Rolling Stones when they visited the hotel for just two nights in 2003. On another occasion, rock star Don Henley requested that his bed, stored in a truck that follows him on his travels, be placed in his hotel room. However, he later asked that it be removed because he found the Brown Palace bed so comfortable.” — Shannon Hulsey, Media Representative, The Brown Palace Hotel (Denver, Colorado)
At Least You Didn’t Have to Build an Igloo
“The most memorable request for us is the guest who asked for 20 pounds of ice for his penguins. The penguins visited a year or two ago as part of one of the exhibits at the Boston Globe Travel Show. They stayed in the bathtub when they weren’t on display at the show, which was held on site in the Seaport World Trade Center. Twenty pounds of ice actually isn’t too much, and we have multiple ice machines at Seaport, so we filled up four bags for them. We hope the ice helped to keep them comfortable during their stay!” — Lauri Howe, Director of Communications, Seaport Boston (Boston, Massachusetts)
In the Doghouse
“We were asked if we could accommodate a guest’s six chihuahuas and we duly obliged, as we have kennels in our underground car park. Another unique request: We had to keep the Jacuzzi private for a guest who wanted to propose to his girlfriend. (She said yes!)” — Adriaan Bartels, General Manager, Cliff House Hotel (Waterford, Ireland)
“Our area is a baseball mecca, home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Every year, a new group of baseball greats is inducted into the Hall of Fame and stays at the hotel (from Babe Ruth back in the day to Andre Dawson). When Bruce Sutter (a pitcher who was first to make effective use of the split-finger fastball) was inducted, his baseball friends wanted to play a prank on him. Bruce had a gray beard, so the day before his induction 12 Hall of Famers, including the renowned Ozzie Smith, asked our concierge to purchase 12 gray beards. Somehow the concierge was able to do it (by traveling all the way to Albany), so when Bruce walked to the podium to accept his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the 12 baseball players were wearing gray beards to root him on.” — John Irvin, General Manager, Otesaga Resort Hotel (Cooperstown, New York)
You Are What You Eat…
“We once had a guest who was vegan and waited till breakfast was served to tell us she was allergic to tofu. This same guest said not to worry about her food too much, as she hoped to one day exist only on air by breathing and not need to eat at all. We had plenty of fresh fruit and oatmeal and LOTS OF AIR for her.” — Barry Werner, Innkeeper, Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast (Baltimore, Maryland)
Can We Get Our Horoscope Too?
“Here in southwest Scotland we are situated beside the Galloway Forest, a newly accredited Dark Sky area — one of only five in the world. That means very little light pollution, and on a clear night from our deck we can view other galaxies including the Milky Way above our farmhouse as well as a sky full of stars, planets, comets, meteors, nebulae and satellites. Our guests have asked for everything from stargazing guides and warm hats to steaming mugs of hot chocolate. We’ll even provide the services of a trained astronomer to show our guests around the constellations!” — Andrea Currie, Owner, Alton Albany Farm B&B (Barr, Scotland)
“Honey? Why Is There a Flamingo in My Bed?”
“One hundred plastic pink flamingos were placed in a room at a guest request as a practical joke. We aren’t sure why the guest wanted them, but they were scattered everywhere — tub, bed, desk.” — Allison Scott, Director of Communications, The Broadmoor (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Every Dog Has Its Day
“We put aside our pet-friendly suite for a bride and groom so they would have a place to go after their doggie wedding! Cricket (the bride), a therapy dog who works with seniors at a local residence for women, and Black Magic (the groom), a rescue dog, rode in a limo from the ceremony to our hotel, where we had a pet menu and a wedding cake waiting for them. (Cricket wasn’t too sure about sharing the cake with her groom, but their handler/owner had a way of convincing them to share.) They especially enjoyed their welcome gifts of ‘Hawthorne Hotel’ squeaky bones.” — Kristie Poehler, Regional Director of Sales & Marketing, Hawthorne Hotel (Salem, Massachusetts)
That’s Something We’d Rather Choose for Ourselves…
“One guest asked us for a selection of ‘toys’ from Agent Provocateur [a U.K.-based adult clothing and novelty shop]. We got to choose.” — Siraj Singh, E-Commerce Executive, The May Fair Hotel (London, England)
We Won’t Even Ask
“The strangest request we’ve gotten was ‘Do not touch the bed!’ The housekeeper was told, ‘Leave the bed alone.’ And a note found on the bed said ‘DO NOT TOUCH!’ Inquiring minds…” — Monica Kissane, Innkeeper, White Cedar Inn (Freeport, Maine)
‘Tis the Season
“The Sofitel Chicago Water Tower welcomed guests staying in December who decided to celebrate an early Christmas because he was shipping out for military service overseas. The concierges purchased a tree from one of the local greenhouses and had it placed in the room prior to their arrival. In advance, the wife shipped the concierges their holiday ornaments, stockings and a few small gifts. Armed with all of those props, the concierges decorated the tree, hung the stockings, wrapped the presents and staged their celebration all before the guests walked into the hotel for a magical Christmas holiday.” — Lisa Taylor, Public Relations and Marketing Manager, Sofitel Chicago Water Tower (Chicago, Illinois)
Quick! Someone Call a Park Ranger
“We get a lot of interesting requests, as well as questions — like ‘What time of the year do the elk turn into moose?'” — Snake River Lodge (Jackson Hole, Wyoming)
Better Than a Yellow Submarine…
“A guest only wanted to stay in the hotel ‘if we had a fully yellow room.’ Thank God we do, and he finally checked in.” — Home Hotel (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Sounds Like That Bachelorette Party Was a Little Too Much Fun
“A bride realized four hours prior to her wedding that she got her dress dirty the night before on a drunken adventure in Seattle. It was a trip to the local dry cleaner for me — I had to assist the dry cleaner with cleaning the wedding dress and shortly after meet the bride at the wedding venue.” — Louis Galdeira III, Concierge, Hotel Vintage Park (Seattle, Washington)
Why Don’t You Ask for the Prime Minister Too While You’re at It?
“A very affluent guest celebrating his son’s bar mitzvah once requested that the concierge arrange a football pitch and the Israeli soccer team to come and play a match against his son and his friends. Our concierge was able to put him in touch with one of the largest Jerusalem soccer teams, with which they were very pleased.” — Ruth Waiman, Executive Assistant, Inbal Jerusalem Hotel (Jerusalem, Israel)
“Recently an A-list actress from a top-rated television series was staying with us and asked us to provide a personal steamer for her room. At Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, we strive to fulfill any of our guests’ needs that will ensure they have a comfortable stay, so of course we had the steamer waiting in her room when she arrived. No problem, right? Except that despite being asked to leave the steamer in her room when she left, she took it with her.” — Rana Kay, Director of Public Relations, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego (San Diego, California)
And What About the Feng Shui?
“We had a guest who requested a specific room because of the effect the sun at that angle had on their aura.” — Laura Vardon, Sales Manager, The Eliot Hotel (Boston, Massachusetts)
The Butterfly Effect
“On several occasions we have had brides ask that we keep their butterflies in our walk-in coolers for several days prior to their wedding ceremony in our garden, when the butterflies would be released. Unfortunately for our food and beverage department and our sales staff, it is not quite as easy as ‘butterflies shipped in, butterflies go in cooler, butterflies come out of cooler, container opens, butterflies are free, bride and wedding party smile with joy and happiness.’ The butterfly shipping crates list specific ‘thawing’ instructions so the winged lovelies will be active and full of wing at just the right moment. Too long in the cooler and you have butterfly lethargy … too much thawing time and the little lepidopteras become too active too soon and beat themselves up in the box wanting to escape.” — Bill Ott, Director of Marketing & Communications, 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa (Eureka Springs, Arkansas)
He Can Practice on Us Too!
“We once had a guest that was in town for a massage therapy seminar and asked if he could give some of our associates massages so that he could practice. That was one request we had no problem granting!” — Kelli Crean, E-Commerce Manager, The Roosevelt Hotel New York (New York, New York)
What the Heck is a Hinny?
“The wackiest guest request I ever received came by email from a travel agent in Tasmania. She wanted to book a week’s stay for her client, the Anglican Bishop for the State of Tasmania and his wife, and did I know of a place that [the wife] could ride a hinny? After several emails (and Googling the word ‘hinny’), I was quite prepared to meet this fantastic couple. We arranged for them to visit some of our Amish neighbors, she got to visit with their mules (the closest we could come to a hinny) and they made good friends within the community. All in all, it was a wonderful visit for all of us.” — Jan Garrabrandt, Innkeeper, The Artist’s Inn and Gallery (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania)
Just Avoid the Beans and It’ll All Be Fine
The following letter was sent to Stefanie Hrejsa, General Manager at the Days Inn Chicago, and is so special that we’ll let it speak for itself:
“My baby Billy, who is a cute snorkeling piglet, is my most treasured pet that I cannot go anywhere without. … Billy just has a little problem: every hour he likes to go outside and play with his soccer ball that he pushes around with his little snout. I tend to keep to his every hour playtime schedule because if not he’ll throw a fit and oink all night. … We want to ask if we’d be able to reserve a room near an exit door with two beds? I did forget to mention that Billy sleeps in his own bed with a fluffy pillow that he loves to lay his small pudgy head upon. By the way, it has been two years [since] Billy has had a runny accident on the bed. I admit that day he had that awful accident was my fault, because I overfed him beans with a chalupa. … I do promise that you will not have to worry about another accident because that is the last time I would ever feed him beans and chalupas.'”