Including $15,000 weddings for dogs.
When it comes to hotels, nobody knows the guests like a concierge.
While housekeepers and butlers might peer into the personal lives of those who come to stay, it's the front of house staff who deal with their requests — from the mundane to the completely outrageous.
We spoke to the head concierge at some of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels around the globe to find out what it takes to do the job, from training to becoming a member of the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or (Golden Keys) Society of Concierges.
They also tell stories of out-of-this-world requests — like planning $15,000 weddings for dogs or sending giant jars of peanut butter to Kuwait.
Scroll down to find out what it takes to be a luxury hotel concierge — along with some of the strangest and most extravagant things they've done for their guests.
After starting her career in theatre as a stage manager, Calon moved to the hotel industry as a guest relations officer at the 1,000-room Cumberland Hotel.
"I looked after everything that happened inside the hotel, [while the] concierge looks after everything that happens outside," she told Business Insider.
She then moved to The Waldorf, where she realised the best place to interact with guests was by standing next to the concierge desk. "It was a lot more interactive, [and] there was more trust in the concierge than I'd seen and heard in other departments," she said.
She moved into the concierge department and has since risen to become one of the top concierges in the country, working for St. James's Hotel & Club. She is also a member of the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or (Golden Keys) Society.
"Because it's a nice boutique hotel, quite often the big activities of the day don't start until 9/9.30 a.m. lasting until 6.30/7 p.m. First I go through the handover from the night team, check all the reservations for the day, then attend a morning briefing with the management team.
"I have to do the admin bits that come as a necessity of management. Then it's the face-to-face with the guests, finding out how their day went, what they enjoy, where they’ve been, what they've seen.
"[I get] an influx of telephone calls, depending on which coast has woken up, which keeps you going for a good 10 hours easily. [I also] keep up to date on new restaurants coming along, new shows."
"I’ve worked with Cher, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Halle Berry, Michael Bolton, Samuel L Jackson. It is quite intimidating when you see the stars of the screen that you've followed and watched, but its also very humbling."
"You never ever get the same day twice. I might get asked about the Changing of the Guard for the rest of my life, but it will never be the same person, and they'll never have the same needs as the next person who asks."
"Most people don't realise that the hotel doesn't charge for the concierge service. There's not an awful lot that's free, but you don't pay for using the skills of somebody who has been in the industry. You've got that fountain of knowledge to tap into."
"My journey to becoming a concierge began 30 years ago, when I worked for the Four Seasons Austin as an overnight bellman.
"Because of my willingness to go above and beyond in assisting guests with their requests and attention to detail, hotel management felt that I belonged on the concierge team. From that moment on, I was determined to create magic for as many guests as I could."
"An average day is always about being prepared for the next guest interaction. No two requests are the same, so I have to stay informed and be ready to tackle each request.
"My work shifts vary to accommodate business levels and staffing needs, but my alarm always sounds at 7.30 a.m. While still in bed, I check work e-mails to review the daily hotel report so I know what is happening that day – VIP arrivals, banquet events, projected occupancy for the day and which colleague is celebrating a birthday so I may offer them fond wishes.
"I prioritize my emails so that I can respond effectively when I get to the hotel for my shift, preparing responses in my head as I’m dressing for work."
"Upon arriving at the hotel, usually around 9 a.m., the phones are ringing and guests are at the concierge desk engaging with my colleagues on duty and I immediately step into the flow.
"As a team, we work with an electronic concierge management system, GoConcierge. I immediately review guest requests for the day and for the future that need to be taken care of.
"Then I determine when would be the best time to call or e-mail to fulfill the request and communicate those confirmations to our guests. The day continues in that manner — between phone calls, guests at the desk and emails, until 12 hours have passed and I ask 'Where has time gone?!'"
"With New York City being the premier destination for global travelers and The Pierre being situated directly across from Central Park and steps from the luxury boutiques of Madison Avenue, the most popular requests we receive involve dining, shopping, and theatre/entertainment."
"No request is too large or small for the concierge! The motto for the concierge team of The Pierre is that the impossible will be done immediately and the extraordinary will take a few moments longer.
"One instance that I remember is when a fellow concierge at a Parisian hotel sent out an SOS. A custom-made business suit belonging to one of his guests had been left behind at The Pierre.
"With all avenues of professional courier services closed and the suit required within 24 hours, I called upon a professional flight attendant acquaintance who was traveling to Paris. The suit reached its destination on time and what’s more, travelled with VIP comfort!"
"A concierge job is not limited to a 40-hour work week. It is also about spending your days off exploring the city so you are able to provide expert information and ensure that guests are receiving truly personalised experiences that are not based on a quick Google search.
"Being a member of the UICH Les Clefs d’Or international organization of professional hotel concierges and with the support of the management of The Pierre, I’ve [also] been able to travel extensively and serve as an ambassador for the hotel."
Born and raised in New York, James graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree from State University in New York and settled in LA.
He has been a member of The Peninsula Beverly Hills team since the hotel opened in in 1991, and has been a member of Les Clefs d’Or since 1996. In 2003, GQ Magazine selected James as "The Best Concierge in the World."
Mills has been a professional hotel concierge for nearly 30 years. As chief concierge of Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Jeanne Mills heads a concierge team of 12 including eight members of Les Clefs d’Or.
"The personal chef of a sheik who needed a very specific, clear crystal serving dish for a dinner party to compliment a white ceramic serving dish he wished to use."
Mills had only hours to meet the request, so knowing she would not find the perfect dish in that amount of time, she arranged to have one hand blown. "$5,000 later, the dish was on the table at the sheik’s party."
Louie has over 18 years of luxury hotel experience. Before moving to LA, she lived in in New York and worked as a concierge from 2005 to 2010.
She was chief concierge at Montage Beverly Hills from 2014 to 2017 and chief concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles from 2010 to 2014 before joining Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills in the same post in April this year.
Several members of the concierge team at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel compiled a list of some of the most memorable requests they’ve received — and delivered on.