What Kind of Special Requests Do Stars and Guests Have From Hotel Concierge?
Bizarre stories circulate around some requests made by hotel guests at the front desk. Some would say it is not unusual, imagining the hospitality industry as it is represented in the movies for example in Four Room or in For Love or Money.
Are there any extreme, quirky requests? How do those stars who come to festivals behave? What is mostly desired by them? These kinds of questions were on my mind for which I tried to get some answers.
Four Rooms Trailer from 1995
What`s the reality when it comes to tourists in Budapest, what favor do they most frequently ask, what is in the center of their interest, what demands are the most difficult to satisfy? Is it really true that the stars who come to perform at Sziget or any other music festival and concert are alluring?
I interviewed the front office assistant of a hotel in Budapest about their experiences.
When all of Shakira`s dancers arrived with four buses to spend a couple of days at the hotel a few years ago, they had a pretty tight schedule, said the assistant.
"We were given their arrival time and when all rooms should be ready, how to hand out the room keys and to whom. Their arrival was well prepared and organised, although none of them had any extreme or difficult demands."
Here`s an extract from Shakira`s concert in Budapest:
”Despite the rumours many stars are particularly humble and friendly. For instance when the lead guitarist of Anthrax, Scott Ian stayed with his wife (who happens to be Meatloaf`s daughter) and his son in our hotel in dowtown Budapest, we had to postpone the repairing of an urgent technical problem in the room next to them so Scott Ian could relax and prepare for his upcoming concert undisturbed, which, of course, had to be approved by the management.”
Anthrax, Budapest in 2014
"Heavens & Hell, Ronnie James Dio`s band, stayed with us – said my friend who works in the hotel. They were very warm and friendly and allowed us to take a photo with them. For example, even a guy who spotted them as they casually walked along the Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút) got a chance to take a picture."
Slayer and Bad Religion also stayed in our hotel. A colleague of mine, who is a huge Slayer fan asked them to sign his record. ”Sure, why not” they said so when my colleague pulled out 11 records their response was to ask if he also wanted tickets for the night`s show, and he got not one but four tickets! Bad Religion treated us similarly well, it started as a simple autograph and became an invitation to the concert.
Slayer, Budapest in 2011
”Sometimes it is our colleagues, who are fans of a particular artist, that tell us the person who just showed up in the lobby was such-and-such musician of the Sziget festival.”
Artists are coming to the Liszt Academy from all around the world and many of them were guests of the hotel. Classical musicians frequently book whenever they have a bigger concert at the Academy. Once there were more than 100 musician guests at the same time, so when one of the orchestras wanted to rehearse it became a mini concert in the hotel hall.
Sziget Festival 2017
"What`s the most difficult kind of request that guests have? Something that cannot be carried out immediately.
For instance, arranging a sightseeing van with a tourist guide speaking a less frequent foreign language like Spanish or French is utterly challenging and cannot be carried out on a short notice. It takes time to arrange, and we are terribly sorry about that. Making the guests aware that a project like this – having a ten person van in standby with a guide who speaks the required language – is not easy either. Usually they accept that fact, and within a couple of hours their request will be granted.
If somebody asks for a limousine for sightseeing, that kind of thing we can certainly arrange. We are in contact with a bunch of limousine rental companies, so in an hour or so the car will be waiting for them."
Finding a dog sitter for a guest who was looking around the city required the most creativity by far, as the front office assistant told me, and all the staff and their acquitances got a phonecall to see who was available. Another other time the sink had to be fixed in the middle of the night, rigth away, due to an unexpected problem.
"Actually, our job demands us to be constantly creative because no two requests are alike, each one is unique."
My friend has elaborated plans and answers to problems like „The guest has only half an afternoon to look around the city and needs to leave right away. In this case my friend suggests to do a sightseeing with a hop-on hop-off, which is the most efficient package deal to have since it includes a boat trip, a walking tour, two different bus routes to choose from and there`s still some time left for riding up to The Castle with the funicular. Because of its complexity this program is very attractive among our guests.
Budapest Castle Hill Funicular
We are asked mostly about sightseeings, trekking tours, boat tours, shuttle services and sightseeing tours at night. We also had a request for an airplane sightseeing tour and another time one of our guests wished to try an airplane simulator.
Interestingly escape sights situated in Budapest are well known and beloved among guests, and many of them are looking for it. Tourists are fond of caves and The Hospital in the Rock is particularly popular for some reason. „Does it still operate, is it really open to the general public, are there authentic relics from the Second World War?” These kind of questions are always asked.
An Escape Room in Budapest
Fascinating how the footballer Ferenc Puskas himself, and his uniform are still so amazingly beloved among the tourists and even his statue is frequently visited. It is unbelievable how the cult of Puskas is still so prevalent, especially among the Spanish, as my young friend told me. Probably because of Real Madrid Football Club I suppose, Puskas is still unique and admired by both young and old, regardless of age.
He is considered to be a great football player outside of Spain too, he is virtually a hero. So it is important for these tourists who visit Hungary to get a memento that is somehow related to him. If a guest would like to see a football game at Puskas`s old club, Honved, the porters get the tickets for them since they are huge football fans.
The Puskas Statue in the 3th District of Budapest
There are funny stories as well, like when a guest plays a joke with us.
"It happened to a colleague of ours who is now retired. At the check-in we ask for the guest`s name and greet them in our hotel. So my colleague followed the protocol and asked for the guest`s name, who replied by giving his card instead: Let me give you my card. He presented a card that said 'My card'.
This one happened to me. After a certain German guest has arrived, instead of greeting me he just said 'Zimmer'. Zimmer means room in German. We were fully booked on that day, so I told him in German that unfortunately we were full. His reply was 'Zimmer ist mein name'."