Some of us ask very little of a hotel: 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.
"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)
"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)
"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)
"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)
"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)
"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)
"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)
"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)
"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)
"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)
"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)