Monday, August 12, 2013

Luxury hotels’ oddest professions

Amusing article I came across this morning about some strange positions in hotels.

Luxury hotels’ oddest professions

From a duckmaster to a tequila butler, there's a professional at hand to satisfy even the most demanding guest. 

Gone are the days when luxury hotels could assume guests would be satisfied with a smile from the receptionist and some insider advice from a long-serving concierge. As major brands battle for business, they’re promoting increasingly niche services and employing staff with highly specialised – or peculiar – skills to set their properties apart and create a loyal customer base.

The most impressive positions seem to be the quirky few that are offered by a miniscule number of properties internationally. At the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, ‘duckmaster’ Anthony Petrina is in charge of what is one of the residence’s main attractions: its flock of ducks. The 25-year-old takes responsibility for the overall care and wellbeing of the five North American mallards and is most visible in his role during the twice-daily March of The Peabody Ducks. At 11am each morning, he accompanies the ducks as they march along a red carpet from their rooftop Royal Duck Palace to the marble fountain in the lobby. John Philip Sousa’s King Cotton March plays as the procession takes place. The procedure is repeated at 5pm, when the ducks return to their palace and retire for the evening. It sounds made up, but it happens.

The hotel has employed a duckmaster of sorts since 1940, but recently created animal-related roles take a more conspicuously ecological approach. At the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Oman, the hotel's turtle care project employs a dedicated turtle ranger who ensures turtle nests are sheltered from any threats and that guests and local communities are informed of the plight of the species through educational talks and viewings. Similarly, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort on the island of Vanua Levu in Fiji employs a full-time resident marine biologist, Johnny Singh, who educates guests about local ecosystems and also undertakes research projects and local outreach programmes to ensure the resort is as environmentally sustainable as possible. At more than 20 Fairmount hotels around the world, meanwhile, beekeepers are employed to maintain apiaries that pollinate local plants and provide local honey for onsite restaurants and bars. It’s a win-win initiative for the chain, with the brand seen to support the local environment and the locally sourced honey also meeting a growing demand from luxury consumers for hyper-local food.

Click here for the rest of the article.

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