Ten outrageous hotel requests
Hall porter Michael DeCozar – a man almost as legendary as the hotel he works in – has dealt with some fairly off-the-wall demands in his time. He’s met a guest’s request to ship a suit of armour to Australia. He’s bought and had delivered a decommissioned battleship. Arguably his most bizarre request, however, came when a guest wanted to bathe at Brighton beach as their Christmas wish, but was unable to make it to the coast. Their solution? Rally the staff to fetch fresh seawater from Brighton, and use it to fill the guest’s bath.
Let’s say it’s perhaps not the best idea buying a pet from a foreign country. Let’s say it’s also a bit weird that Harrods sells real puppies. You can see where this is going – on behalf of one of the hotel’s guests, head concierge Clive spent two months arranging vaccinations, quarantine, vet appointments, and flights to get a Harrods-bought dog to its new owner in Egypt.
Ever been on one of those dream getaways, only to have your plans dashed by the Queen? No? Well that almost happened to one guest – a doctor from Hawaii – at The Stafford. On a world tour to see all 36 Vermeer paintings, the guest was confronted with a small problem – one painting, ‘The Music Lesson’, was housed at Buckingham Palace. Lucky for him, concierge Frank Laino did some string-pulling, getting the guest escorted into Buck House, along with a 15-minute session with the painting.
‘We have a supermodel guest who likes to bathe in goat’s milk,’ says The Savoy’s head butler Sean Davoren. Okay, fair enough. Supermodels can be a bit kooky, can’t they? But hang on, it gets weirder: ‘However, the goat’s milk has to be unpasteurised, and so the milk needs to come straight from the goat from a location in Wales. The milk costs £30 but the chauffeur to collect it costs about £600.’ Is that what the rich and famous call an average milk round?
A dog’s dinner might mean one thing, but to one guest of St. Ermin’s, its connotations are quite different. Legend has it the customer asked hotel staff if they could provide a daily supply of Kobe wagyu beef for his dog. The concierge team obliged, ordering in steaks from a nearby restaurant.
When booking a room, it’s not uncommon for hotels to ask their guests if they have any special menu requests. Perhaps that was taken too enthusiastically when, according to concierge Ian Heigh, one man ‘wanted an onion ring the size of his head.’ After a few phone calls, Ian was able to make ‘a very happy guest smile.’
If you thought celebs were stuck in a bubble of privilege and narcissism, this won’t change your mind. As she turned 35, it’s reported Mariah Carey wouldn’t leave her limo until the hotel literally rolled out the red carpet, but with one caveat – it had to be lined with white candles. Seeing as she’d booked out 15 rooms at the Baglioni – at £20,000 a night in total – the hotel was only too happy to oblige.
Head butler Daniel Jordaan has kept many a demanding guest happy at The Lanesborough, whether that involves sourcing tea from a corner shop in Saudi Arabia, or helping kit out a woman’s hospital room to match The Lanesborough’s aesthetics while she was in labour. Perhaps the strangest, though, was putting together a guest’s private winter wonderland, complete with Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, and bona fide snow.
Flemings’ head concierge has had to buy and deliver a fair number of rare items for his customers (like a left-hand drive £250,000 Rolls-Royce Wraith, for instance), but nothing quite compares to tracking down a set of Gérard 888 cigars that went out of production in the mid-80s. The cigars had to be delivered by courier, as Vahé Gérard et Fils doesn’t ship outside Switzerland.
You’d think a private detective would be the best way to track someone down (that’s how they do it in the movies, right?). But maybe we’re all missing a trick – one American guest at The Waldorf decided to put the task on her concierge instead. Her request? To find her grandmother’s friend from the war. Her lead? This woman was a landlady of a pub from somewhere up north. Nevertheless, two days later, the concierge had planned a surprise afternoon tea to unite the pair.