21 Bizarre Special Requests from Hotel Guests

Some of us have only humble hotel requests: 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.

I reached out to 21 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 scattering plastic flamingos around the room, these concierges and innkeepers truly went beyond the call of duty.

Editor’s note: The following quotes come from general managers, communications directors, and other representatives of the listed properties.

Swimming with the Fishes

“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.” —Culloden House, Inverness, Scotland

How Much Did They Pay in Checked Bag Fees?

“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.” —The Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, Colorado)

At Least You Didn’t Have to Build an Igloo

“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!” —Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Boston, Massachusetts

In the Doghouse

“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!)” —Cliff House Hotel, County Waterford, Ireland

Play Ball!

“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.” —Otesaga Resort Hotel, Cooperstown, New York

Can We Get Our Horoscope Too?

“Here in southwest Scotland we are situated beside the Galloway Forest, a newly accredited Dark Sky area. That means very little light pollution, and on a clear night from our deck we can view 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!” —Alton Albany Farm B&B, Barr, Scotland

“Honey? Why Is There a Flamingo in My Bed?”

“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.” —The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Every Dog Has Its Day

“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.” —Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, Massachusetts

That’s Something We’d Rather Choose for Ourselves…

“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.” —The May Fair Hotel, London, England

We Won’t Even Ask

“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…” —White Cedar Inn, Freeport, Maine

‘Tis the Season

“[We] 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.” —Sofitel Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois

Quick! Someone Call a Park Ranger

“We get a lot of interesting requests, as well as questions—like ‘What time of the year do the elk turn into moose?'” —Snake River Lodge, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Better Than a Yellow Submarine…

“A guest only wanted to stay in the hotel ‘if we had a fully yellow room.’ Thank God we do, and he finally checked in.” —Home Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sounds Like That Bachelorette Party Was a Little Too Much Fun

“A bride realized four hours prior to her wedding that she got her dress dirty the night before on a drunken adventure in Seattle. It was a trip to the local dry cleaner for our concierge—he had to assist the dry cleaner with cleaning the wedding dress and shortly after meet the bride at the wedding venue.” —Kimpton Hotel Vintage, Seattle, Washington

Why Don’t You Ask for the Prime Minister, Too, While You’re at It?

“A very affluent guest celebrating his son’s bar mitzvah once requested that the concierge arrange a football pitch and the Israeli soccer team to come and play a match against his son and his friends. Our concierge was able to put him in touch with one of the largest Jerusalem soccer teams, with which they were very pleased.” —Inbal Jerusalem Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel

Finders, Keepers

“Recently an A-list actress from a top-rated television series was staying with us and asked us to provide a personal steamer for her room. … We strive to fulfill any of our guests’ needs that will ensure they have a comfortable stay, so of course we had the steamer waiting in her room when she arrived. No problem, right? Except that despite being asked to leave the steamer in her room when she left, she took it with her.” —Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, San Diego, California

And What About the Feng Shui?

“We had a guest who requested a specific room because of the effect the sun at that angle had on their aura.” —The Eliot Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts

The Butterfly Effect

“On several occasions we have had brides ask that we keep their butterflies in our walk-in coolers for several days prior to their wedding ceremony in our garden, when the butterflies would be released. Unfortunately for our food and beverage department and our sales staff, it is not quite as easy as ‘butterflies shipped in, butterflies go in cooler, butterflies come out of cooler, container opens, butterflies are free, bride and wedding party smile with joy and happiness.’ The butterfly shipping crates list specific ‘thawing’ instructions so the winged lovelies will be active and full of wing at just the right moment. Too long in the cooler and you have butterfly lethargy … too much thawing time and the little lepidopteras become too active too soon and beat themselves up in the box wanting to escape.” —1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

He Can Practice on Us, Too!

“We once had a guest who was in town for a massage therapy seminar and asked if he could give some of our associates massages so that he could practice. That was one request we had no problem granting!” —The Roosevelt Hotel, New York, New York

What the Heck Is a Hinny?

“The wackiest guest request I ever received came by email from a travel agent in Tasmania. She wanted to book a week’s stay for her client, the Anglican Bishop for the State of Tasmania and his wife, and did I know of a place that [the wife] could ride a hinny? After several emails (and Googling the word ‘hinny’), I was quite prepared to meet this fantastic couple. We arranged for them to visit some of our Amish neighbors, she got to visit with their mules (the closest we could come to a hinny), and they made good friends within the community. All in all, it was a wonderful visit for all of us.” —Jan Garrabrandt, Innkeeper, The Artist’s Inn and Gallery, Terre Hill, Pennsylvania

Just Avoid the Beans and It’ll All Be Fine

The following letter was sent to the Hotel Versey Days Inn by Wyndham Chicago, and is so special that we’ll let it speak for itself:

“My baby Billy, who is a cute snorkeling piglet, is my most treasured pet that I cannot go anywhere without. … Billy just has a little problem: Every hour he likes to go outside and play with his soccer ball that he pushes around with his little snout. I tend to keep to his every hour playtime schedule because if not he’ll throw a fit and oink all night. … We want to ask if we’d be able to reserve a room near an exit door with two beds? I did forget to mention that Billy sleeps in his own bed with a fluffy pillow that he loves to lay his small pudgy head upon. By the way, it has been two years [since] Billy has had a runny accident on the bed. I admit that day he had that awful accident was my fault, because I overfed him beans with a chalupa. … I do promise that you will not have to worry about another accident because that is the last time I would ever feed him beans and chalupas.'”

More from SmarterTravel:

Follow Sarah Schlichter on Twitter @TravelEditor for more travel tips and inspiration.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

By Sarah Schlichter

Deputy Executive Editor Sarah Schlichter's idea of a perfect trip includes spotting exotic animals, hiking through pristine landscapes, exploring new neighborhoods on foot, and soaking up as much art as she can. She often attempts to recreate recipes from her international travels after she gets home (which has twice resulted in accidental kitchen fires—no humans or animals were harmed).

Sarah joined the SmarterTravel team in 2017 after more than a decade at the helm of Sarah's practical travel advice has been featured in dozens of news outlets including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Budget Travel, and Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio. Follow her on Twitter @TravelEditor.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A journal. Even years later, reading my notes from a trip can bring back incredibly vivid memories."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Road tripping and hiking through the rugged mountains of Patagonia."

Travel Motto: "'To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.'—Freya Stark"

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle. I get restless on long flights and like to be able to move around without disturbing anyone else."

Email Sarah at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *