Providing great service leads to some very interesting hotel jobs. (Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images)
Luxury travel has always been… a luxury, with posh hotel rooms, fine meals, and attentive hotel staffs. But who really had the better service: modern travelers with their high-tech connections, instant-comparison websites, and new resort offerings? Or voyagers of generations past, with teams of sherpas and servants to drag their heavy trunks and answer their every need?
Yahoo Travel explores the question by looking at some of the quirkiest or over-the-top hotel job descriptions from luxury hotels of past generations versus some of the curiously decadent offerings of today. Full-time sock finishing seamstress or iPhone playlist curator — who ya got? Vintage hotel job descriptions courtesy of Hilton Hotels. Sarcastic comments, all our own.
Then: Wine Room Porter
Stocking wine shelves is a crucial job…crucial. (Photo: Trevor Williams/Photodisc/Getty Images)
Duties: “Sweeps and cleans wine room. Delivers and receives new stock and opens cases. Puts stock on shelves. May break bottles. Educational requirement: public school.”
Any job for which you’re actually told you can break bottles is a good one. It’s certainly what I learned to do in public school.
Now: Salt Sommelier
That’s a pretty impressive salt library. (Photo: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company)
Duties: “Produce fifty different salts, infuse with flavors and pair with foods and wine. Gather salts, fruits and other ingredients. Four years in current position, building up the salt library to dozens of blends.” - Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island
No information on whether he broke any of the bottles in which they are stored.
Then: Sock Finisher
A sock finisher would make laundry day go twice as fast! (Photo: Tracy Harris/Prickly Pear Creative/Moment Open/Getty Images)
Duties: “Irons and finishes socks and stockings by placing them on sock forms. Pairs the socks, brushes off lint, inspects for darning needed. Works in damp, warm environment. Sex: female. Age: 20-50. Special requirements: finger dexterity. Care to avoid errors in sorting.”
Aside from being disqualified based on my gender, looking at my socks now, I think I’d get fired for my sorting ability.
Now: Sleep Consultant
She’ll help you catch some zzz’s. (Photo: The Benjamin/Facebook)
Duties: “Sleep medicine professor and co-author of the book Sleep for Success, … gives talks on latest sleep research. Rest & Renew program’s content and resources are based on the studies and findings outlined in her book. Oversees the hotel’s Sleep Team.” - The Benjamin, New York City
She sounds well-educated (and rested), but can she fold socks?
Take a load off. Your bellman is here to help. (Photo: Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images)
Duties: “Carries guests’ luggage from car to room. Must be able to stand long periods of time. Delivers telegrams. Installs radios in guests’ rooms upon request. Relieves elevator operators in an emergency. Keeps sidewalk under marquee free of debris.”
Today’s bellman are a tad less enthusiastic. (Photo: Massimo Merlini/E+/Getty Images)
Duties: Pulls your small, wheeled carry-on suitcase a few feet to the front desk. Tells you the Wi-Fi is broken today. Points toward the elevator. Waits for a tip.
Then: Head Oysterman
Your personal shellish opener. (Photo: Lara Hata/Photodisc/Getty Images)
Duties: “Directs ordering of oysters, clams, shrimp, and other shellfish, according to menu requirements. Opens, cleans, stews, and generally prepares shellfish in the many ways they are served. Works almost constantly with opening knives. Must be able to read and write. Sex: male. Age: 40-55.”
So all you young, aspiring oystermen will have to wait until you’re middle-aged for the job. You can spend that time learning to read and write.
Now: Chief Marshmologist
S’mores aren’t just for campgrounds anymore. (Photo: Bertrand Demee/Photographer’s Choice RF/Getty Images)
Duties: “Expert on the s’more. Welcomes guests at the resort fire pit and leads guests in the craft of s’more-making. Gives instruction and guidance about the artful technique of roasting the perfect marshmallow while sharing the history of the s’more.” - Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe
Similar to the oysterman, I assume this job requires decades of studies in the sacred arts of marshmallows.
A good bartender is a staple of any good hotel. (Photo: Dex Images/Corbis)
Duties: “Must have pleasing personality, good appearance and [be] well spoken so that guests will be made to feel welcome. Serves public who sit or stand at bar. Must know recipes for popular drinks and know proper glasses in which drinks are served. Must know all rules and laws pertaining to house, federal state and city."
On the whole, I’d rather be a bartender.
Now: Personal Concierge
A good concierge always smiles…even when guests are being difficult. (Photo: Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images)
Duties: “Excellent interpersonal skills to provide an authentic and unique service experience for our guests by providing the highest levels of courtesy, professionalism and unparalleled service … creating a sense of, ‘We’ve been expecting you.’ Ability to effectively deal with guests who will require high levels of patience, tact, and diplomacy to defuse anger. … Ability to work under pressure and deal with stressful situations. … Requirement for crouching/bending/stooping: frequent.” - Waldorf Astoria
Then: Ice Cream Man
Every hotel should still have an ice cream man. (Photo: Lars Wallin/Etsa/Corbis)
Duties: “Prepares and blends plain and fancy ice cream of different flavors. Molds ice cream to serve for parties and banquets. May assist in serving. Sex: male. Age 25-55. Experience required: 3-5 years. Promotional possibilities: pastry cook.”
Now: Visiting Healing Master
A healing master takes the spa experience up a notch. (Photo: Hilton Hotels & Resorts)
Duties: “Dedicated to sharing the blessings of yoga with people and to show them how to use the sport as a remedy for any disruption, difficulty, or negative feeling they need to face … to find the source of love and peace within. Specialist in various healing techniques like Usui Reiki, Prana Nadi, and symptom relief massage as well as tarot reading.” - Hilton Shillim, India
Inner peace is nice and all, but if you draw the death tarot card, you’re still screwed. Frankly, I’d go for the ice cream over the yoga as a remedy for negative feelings.