The oddest hotel jobs
The dog surfing instructor helps canines large and small ride human-size surf boards at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego.
At the world’s top hotels, no job is too small if it adds to a guest’s overall experience. Maybe that’s why hotels keep hiring for highly specialized (and increasingly unusual) staff positions. From tanning specialists to men who scare monkeys, here are some of the oddest jobs in the hotel industry.
Dog surfing instructor
California might be known for its surf bums, but at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, hanging 10 is for the dogs. At the resort’s Su’ruff Camp, an instructor helps dogs large and small ride human-size surf boards at the Coronado’s special dog beach.
Plenty of hotels employ romance concierges, who handle anything from coordinating weddings to arranging special date nights. But the wedding planner at Stowe Mountain Lodge in northern Vermont received so many frantic emails and phone calls from would-be fiancés, the lodge turned it into a full-time position to help guests plan special ways to pop the question.
Not every hotel would be thrilled to have a colony of bees take residence on their property, but the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado and the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Ontario purposely established hives on their rooftop to help stem the decline of the honeybee in North America. Resident beekeepers care for hives that provide the honey for the hotels’ afternoon tea.
Forget the standard bar of hotel soap, the Viceroy in Rivera Maya, Mexico gives guests a custom slice of soap on arrival, specially selected by the resort’s soap concierge. With variations in fragrance, formula and texture, the locally made soaps change seasonally.
A smudged or scratched lens might not be as serious as a sprain or broken bone, but the Four Seasons Resort in Lanai, Hawaii employs a doctor dedicated to the health of traveller’s most essential sunny day accessory. Known as Dr Shades, a Four Seasons staff member makes hourly poolside rounds to repair any sunglass dings with a kit equipped with screwdrivers, screws, nose pads and polishing cloths.
Like many hotels, Aman Resorts’ Amanbaugh in Rajasthan, India leaves special treats for guests before bed. However, the Amanbaugh has the more unique problem of hungry monkeys stealing cookies from the jars left on room porches. Four monkey men walk the grounds throughout the day and keep the critters on notice by repeating the sound a dominant male monkey, meant to scare them off.
Swim-up hot cocoa butler
Frozen concoctions are usually the poolside drink of choice, but in the winter months, the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Tucson, Arizona offers its guests hot chocolate and hot cider via a swim-up hot cocoa butler stationed in the heated pool.
A quintet of mallard ducks is the main attraction at the Peabody hotels in Memphis, Orlando and Little Rock, but the job of managing the flock is no quack. The Duckmaster must train each new group of ducks to march from their rooftop home, down the elevator and into the lobby fountain each morning, and the reverse each evening.
Whether guests are looking for a natural bronze without the burn or a flawless fake and bake, they can call the 24-hour tanning concierge at the W Scottsdale in Arizona. The tanning experts can advise clients on the right sun protection factor (SPF) or set up an in-room air brush tanning session.
Just like selecting wine, the process of picking tobacco for shisha (a hookah) takes skill and experience, so the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai hired a full-time Shisha sommelier to help guests navigate the process. Different flavours of tobacco can be picked to pair with food and wine, or selected individually based on guests’ preferences.