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The best vacations are the one where you don’t have to lift a finger — not even that trusty index one that you use for taking photos. Fortunately, hotels around the world have supplied specialty butlers to attend to everything guests might possibly need while traveling, from snapping the perfect selfies to storing that Chinook salmon you spent an hour reeling in. Here are 10 of the world’s most over-the-top hotel butler services you never even knew you needed.
1. Instagram Butler
It wouldn’t be a trip to the beach without a photo of your feet planted firmly in the sand to prove it. But the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is further elevating the art of the selfie with #InstaTrail, a series envy-inducing backdrops around the resort, from an Undholi (a traditional Maldivian swing) perched just above the Indian Ocean to a fish-eye view of Ithaa, the resort’s all-glass, underwater restaurant. What’s more, guests can tour these spots with an Instagram butler who’s there to aid in creating the best-looking pics, share tips on nailing the perfect selfie and offer expertise about, say, the ideal time of day to stage photos or how to best position your phone.
If you love the idea of an Instagram butler but prefer a city view, the Lotte New York Palace’s InstaButlers will accompany you into some of the hotel’s most photogenic spaces, including the Champagne Suite’s champagne cave. (No one has to know it’s not the room you’re actually sleeping in.)
2. Ambience Butler
Picture it: you and your significant other have finally found the time to sneak away for a few days. You want the ambience to be exactly right… but you’re not exactly sure what that ambience should be. Sounds like a job for — yep, you guessed it — an ambience butler. At Nicaragua’s breathtaking Mukul Resort, resort guests fill out a pre-arrival questionnaire that indicates their favorite things, like scents, music and snacks. When they check in, they might be greeted by in-room yoga mats and guided meditations programmed into an iPad, or candles and rose petals on strewn over the bed.
3. Sarong Concierge
Guests at The Ritz-Carlton, Bali looking to fully immerse themselves in Balinese culture can book time with a sarong concierge. During the half-day, off-site excursion, participants will visit sarong artisans for a behind-the-scenes peek at how the textiles are made; they’ll also get an etiquette lesson on how they’re worn and wear their sarongs — which they can take home as souvenirs — to a Hindu temple. The experience costs about $150 a person.
4. Fish Valet
As home to some of the world’s most famous fishing lodges, British Columbia, Canada has plenty for guests who want to take home their catch. That’s where Harvey Makasa, the fish valet at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport, comes in. The hotel’s resident fish-storage expert helps guests check their bounty into the hotel’s special 575-cubic-foot fish freezer to ensure it’s prepped for the flight home.
5. Fragrance Butler
Between the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule for carry-ons and the possibility of a bottle of perfume accidentally breaking open in your suitcase, it’s often wise to leave that bottle of Chanel No. 5 at home. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t smell fabulous when you’re trotting around the globe, and if you’re spending time at a Rosewood Resort, a fragrance butler will keep you in tip-top shape. At The Carlyle in New York City, Stella McCartney and Bulgari Pour Homme are on the menu; meanwhile, the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, Calif., offers Ajne California Woods — the property’s signature scent.
6. Art Concierge
Whether it’s your first visit to Paris or your 100th, museum-hopping is usually on the to-do list. But what if your hotel could bring the museum to you? Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris is home to its own art gallery — Art District — whose full-time art concierge, Julie Eugène, helps guests foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of what they’re looking at in the impressive gallery, which hosts a rotating selection of contemporary Parisian art and cultural artifacts. Additionally, Eugène can snag her guests invites to art party soirees, previews, openings and private collection viewings — truly Parisian glamour as its best.
Miami, too, boasts a major art scene — especially during Art Basel Miami Beach. And The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach makes the most of Miami Art Week with the help of Noel Lanzas, the hotel’s longtime Art Basel concierge, who tailors custom Basel experiences and itineraries for guests. He also has some pull with the area’s hottest restaurateurs — something that’s particularly valuable during the fairs, when good tables are tough to come by. During the rest of the year, Lanzas is on-hand to walk you through the hotel’s own art collection, which is valued at $2 million.
7. Sleep Concierge
We’ve all been there: after a day of travel and what seems like the world’s worst case of jet lag, you throw on your PJs and slip into your hotel bed — only to stay awake all night. It’s a phenomenon known as the “first night effect,” and it happens to the best of us. That’s where Rebecca Robbins, the sleep consultant at New York City’s The Benjamin, and her 24/7 “sleep team” come in — they’ll offer expert advice on how to catch the best Zs and help guests navigate the pillow menu (yes, The Benjamin has a pillow menu).
8. BBQ Butler
It wouldn’t be a Southern getaway without barbecue. At The Ritz- Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia, the property’s Lakeside Cottage and Lake House come with their own private barbecue stations; however, if you don’t feel like firing up that puppy on your own, a BBQ butler can make the meal happen for you. Choose the dishes, sides and sauces — then sit back and get ready to dig in.
9. Picnic Butler
At two of Scotland’s Forest Holiday resorts — in Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre — picnic butler Jack Black (no, not that one) does more than just pack your lunch. Black is a veteran forest ranger who has spent his life exploring the great outdoors; although he’s climbed both Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro, he considers his role as Scotland’s only picnic butler the greatest challenge of his career. With an incredible landscape and natural larder, the country gives Black plenty to work with, and if you want to learn about foraging, fire-building or outdoor survival, he’s your man.
10. Tea Butler
Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel is home to one of the country’s most elegant tea services; guests dine with panoramic views of Lake Michigan while a harpist plays quietly in the background. A tea butler visits each table to offer a crash course in tealeaves and samples of various blends so that diners can choose the perfect fit. Just make sure to save room for some scones.
Featured image courtesy of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
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