The traditional hotel concierge can do a lot to help guests have an excellent stay. They can score hard-to-get reservations or front-row-seat tickets and point the way to the best a destination has to offer. In the past few years, however, hotels have been stepping up their “concierge game” as they seek to meet the needs of a well-connected and more demanding traveling public.
While hotels have shifted some expense to newly implemented health protocols and regulations, there is still room for a little fun, especially at a time when competition for travelers is high.
Covid-19 pandemic challenges aside, these concierges have traded top hats and gold key lapels to become experts in something entirely different. Whether you sleep in a bubble or prefer an all-inclusive island resort, meet the new wave of personalized concierges, butlers, gurus, and experts that are ready to pamper and impress.
Animal adventure authorities
When you check in at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, be on the lookout for Victor Hernandez, the property’s resident “bird whisperer.” His job is to care for the exotic birds that live on property. He also hosts interactive and educational sessions for guests teaching them about the birds’ personality traits and physical characteristics.
At InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, the resident zoologist and environmental consultant teaches guests about the red-shanked douc langurs native to the region. These curious animals frolic all around the Vietnamese resort and are a favorite of visitors. The monkeys especially love it when guests leave abandoned room service trays outside on their balconies (a suggestion that the resident zoologist does not encourage).
The “Meerkat Men” at Natural Selection’s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Camp in Botswana have quite an unusual job. Their role is to develop a comfortable relationship with the animals so they are not startled by human interaction. At this luxury camp in the Kalahari Desert, they spend every daylight moment with them to nurture this connection and help guests understand more about the meerkats.
At Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos, dog butlers welcome furry guest arrivals with a long roster of services. Man’s best friend is pampered like their human owners here. Dog massages, portable pet cabanas, a “Canine Delights” room service menu, and “doga classes” (doggy yoga) are all part of the offering.
In California’s Monterey Valley, guests can spend time with animals at Carmel Valley Ranch to learn from the resident goat expert and cheese maker (on property, he is known as Charlie, the Cheese Guy). He leads guests through the onsite creamery to learn how the goats produce cheese for the hotel’s menu and explains how bees in the apiary make their honey.
The sloth concierge at Nayara Springs in Costa Rica, also an expert nature guide, leads guests on hikes through the rain forest to explain how these sedentary creatures live.
In Oman, turtle rangers play important roles at the Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa and Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. They protect the endangered green and hawksbill turtles by patrolling the beaches at night. The rangers ensure that the mother turtles can nest in peace and that hatchlings make it to the sea while also educating guests about what they are doing.
Sky gurus and astrologers
The director of astronomy at the Hyatt Regency Maui guides guests through an evening stargazing experience. Couples can even enjoy sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries as they peer through a high-definition telescope.
The “sky guru” at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas points out constellations to tipplers at the Maldives’ first overwater observatory and cocktail bar. In one of the least polluted places in the world, the skies are as bright as ever these days.
Belmond’s certified onsite astrologer explains the constellations to interested passengers aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman, Scotland’s only luxury sleeper train. The stargazing excursion into the Scottish countryside takes guests into one of the darkest skies in Europe.
Hotel Rangá in Iceland has its own resident astronomer to guide guests on their search for the famous Northern Lights. The hotel’s observatory has a roll-off roof that is said to be the most advanced in Iceland allowing guests to stargaze without any light pollution.
Families can pack light thanks to the services of a LEGO Butler at Ashford Castle in Ireland. One phone call away is a full play set delivered on a silver tray to the room.
The music concierge at Aria Hotel Budapest is a man of many talents—performing artist, composer, and music scholar. He manages the music in the hotel’s public areas and guest rooms, which are divided into four themes (jazz, classical, contemporary, and opera), and guests can visit his lobby library to discuss their favorites.
When it comes to customizing travel experiences, tracing your family roots is as personal as it gets. At The Shelbourne in Dublin, which says it has the world’s only genealogy butler, conducts consultations with guests interested in exploring their Irish ancestry. As a certified genealogist, she is an expert in helping people understand genealogical records and planning related family history research.
A fireplace butler at The Lowell in New York can help guests enjoy a wood-burning fireplace by bringing a pile of wood and an aroma of the guest’s choosing to the room and setting everything up to their liking.
Food and beverage maestros
At the Shangri-La Fijian Resort & Spa, guests can summon the coconut concierge to cut and serve the refreshing fruit. His job is to climb the resort’s trees to collect coconuts (more than 250 per day) and slice them with a sharp knife for guests by the pool or on the beach.
If you’re looking for a tipple at Zemi Beach House in Anguilla, the hotel’s house “Rummelier” can handpick one of the 100 small-batch, single-estate rums on the menu to personalize each cocktail.
At Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in Switzerland, two water sommeliers educate guests on the nutritional values of the 20 different brands of international and domestic water it has on offer. Did you know that water with a lot of bicarbonate is good for hangovers and sore throats? That’s the kind of information they can share. The sommeliers also conduct water tastings and pair mineral waters with different dishes and wines on the menu.
The steak knife concierge at the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, California has a long-running history in hospitality as well as knife making. At the resort’s Argyle Steakhouse, he presents guests with five to seven knives, each with a different blade, size, weight, or design, and helps diners decide which goes best with their choice of meal.
Dream Nashville’s barbecue butler can set up an entire feast on the terrace of one of the hotel’s suites. The butler prepares the meal on the grill as guests enjoy the multi-course feast and cocktails around a custom-built fire pit.
Ever wondered how to eat a hairy red chestnut or properly slice open a smelly durian? A fruit sommelier at Cape Fahn Hotel can show you how. The hotel, on a private island near Koh Samui, Thailand, is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member and participates in the World of Hyatt program. The expert role shows guests how to properly cut and eat the tropical Thai fruit delivered daily to guest rooms.
The great outdoors specialists
At Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona, the mountain bike concierge can outfit guests with the ideal bike and guide them to the right level of trails for their endurance level. The concierge knows the trails very well since they were all planned and built by staff.
During the winter months, a ski concierge at The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana can coordinate any necessary ski gear or rentals, lift tickets, and even a gourmet lunch to enjoy on the mountain.
If you prefer a bit of pampering with your outdoor activity, the glamping masters at Hoshinoya Fuji in Japan can lead guests on private canoe tours or visits to nearby lava caves. They can set up thw glamping experience including hot toddys, hand warmers, outdoor movies, and plenty of campfire snacks like s’mores.
A dominoes master at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico can set up the table and guide your game strategy. Dominoes is a popular family game on the island, and in addition to sharing local stories and culture with guests, the dominoes expert can teach guests how to improve their game.
The Instagram concierge at W Punta de Mita in Mexico provides guests with a map of the resort showing the best spots and times of day to snap that ideal selfie. They can walk guests over to where their best selfie or future “influencer” magic can happen.
At The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, guests of all ages can avail of the sandcastle concierge’s services who can help with the best construction strategies or snap the perfect photo to take home.
Wellness and relaxation masters
The “director of serenity” at Inns of Aurora makes it her focus to offer everything from private Ayurvedic consultations and tarot card readings to essential oil and tea blending classes.
A soap butler at Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda greets guests when they arrive with a tray of local artisanal soap options. Guests can choose the fragrance that best matches their mood.
At Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul, the onsite soap butler can slice 100% pure olive oil handmade soap in 12 difference scents for guests to use while staying in the historic palace wing.
At the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, the resident aloe concierge advises guests on the healing effects of aloe, which grows on the island. This is welcome news for those that may have spent too much time in the sun.
The detox concierge at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit handles a different type of detox experience than you might expect. If you want a digital detox, the concierge can disconnect the in-room TV and whisk away any personal devices you brought to store in a protected space. They are replaced with board games and other activities to allow guests to truly get away.
Road trips are all the rage this year, but if you’re still not sure where you want to visit, there’s a concierge for that, too. The Opal Collection Road Trip Concierge can help you plan a visit around Florida before you ever set foot in a hotel. Travelers get hotel and spa discounts for booking through the concierge service.