From baby butler (butlers for babies, not babies working as butlers) to mermaid trainer, hotels catering to the fanciful whims of world travelers offer up all kinds of surprising professions for people with the right skillsets, and for those who want to venture upon an unusual career path.
Ever wanted to get into the hospitality industry, but hesitated because you couldn’t find a job quirky enough to match your imaginative personality? Well, kick those reservations aside, because if you search hard enough, you can land some pretty incredible—and oftentimes fairly bizarre—hotel jobs that make for great conversation starters.
Top Picks for You
WHERE: Jaipur, India
Hate pigeons? Lots of people do. “Rats with wings” is one of the most common epithets hurled at these much-maligned birds (although they have their fans as well). One way to channel your pigeon rage would be to take up the job of pigeon chaser, as exemplified by pigeon nemeses employed at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, India. These “pigeon wranglers” spend hours a day chasing pigeons from the main courtyard, helping keep it free of pigeon fecal debris while getting a decent cardio workout at the same time.
WHERE: Half Moon Bay, California
If you make your living playing the bagpipes, a musical session by the Californian coastline seems like it would be a pretty sweet gig. The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay treats its guests to the (melodic?) sounds of Scottish bagpipes every evening come sunset, with the pipes ringing out across the cliffs adjacent to the hotel. It’s a very Gaelic way to say goodbye to the day and greet the onset of night.
WHERE: San Diego, California
If you’re into mermaid fitness, and healthy enough to become a mermaid (or merman), then maybe you can become a mermaid trainer. In San Diego, the Hotel del Coronado offers guests an aquatic workout that seems a little fishy at first glance. Mermaid trainers throw in the use of mermaid tails with these aerobic, belly-blasting classes, turning students into temporary creatures of the sea. And if participants enjoy the workout, and then spread tales and tails of their mermaid adventures far and wide, this hotel poolside job just might turn into a growth industry.
INSIDER TIPIf you want to become a mermaid trainer, you’ll need a pretty strong core to begin with, as those artificial tails lock your legs together, forcing you to really work your abs.
WHERE: Memphis, Tennessee
Rather than look for gainful employment as a quack who practices medicine without a license, the Peabody Memphis Hotel offers a select few, with a bit of the “quack” in their personalities, the coveted job of duckmaster. And what does a Peabody Duckmaster do? This human flock leader escorts the ducks on a march from the hotel roof to the fountain twice a day. It’s a grand procession that has been running a fowl—actually quite a few fowl—of delighted hotel guests since the 1930s.
INSIDER TIPIf you’re not currently employed as duckmaster, it’s a tough gig to get, although if you’re famous, you could join the ranks of past honorary duckmasters including Kevin Bacon, Oprah Winfrey, and the Queen of Jordan. Or you could simply pay for the privilege—but then it wouldn’t count as a real job.
WHERE: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
While some hotels employ falconers and their birds of prey to clear the skies of pesky seagulls, the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort keeps a professional falconer on staff who takes guests out onto the sands of the Liwa Oasis to demonstrate the power of these mighty birds in flight. The resident falconer also teaches visitors about how to care for these feathered predators, and some of the ancient traditions surrounding falconry in the region. It’s the perfect job for someone who loves wild animals, the desert, and also has the patience to train falcons to respond to human touch—and the rigorous demands of a hotel’s activities schedule.
Hangover Recovery Concierge
WHERE: New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is famed for its boozy days and nights. This is why the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans has created the job of hangover recovery concierge. These specialists have been trained to render aid to hotel guests in need of special care after a wild night out on the town. And if a guest can’t make it to the spa without assistance, or order a juice blend or bloody mary (a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you) without slurring his or her speech, a hangover recovery concierge is clearly what this suffering patron needs.
WHERE: Paris, France
At the Mandarin Oriental, Paris, as well as other hotels in big cities around the globe (like the Waldorf Astoria in New York), beekeepers keep busy doing what beekeepers do, which is, of course, keeping bees. The Mandarin Oriental takes advantage of the City of Light’s urban bee populations to harvest honey from hives on the rooftop, and then offer homemade (or hotel-made, which shouldn’t be confused with hotel maid) honey to its guests. It’s the perfect job for beekeepers who enjoy the perks of city life.
Hookah Water Pipe Sommelier
WHERE: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
If you love the smell of tobacco in the morning (or any time of day), you could be the kind of person apt to fire up a water pipe while on the job. If that’s the case, becoming a hookah or shisha sommelier could be the career path for you. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Finance Centre keeps a shisha sommelier on hand to address the tobacco requirements of people spending time in the hotel, helping them choose the perfect blends and flavors to satisfy their tobacco cravings.
WHERE: Portland, Oregon
When a guest opts for the “Compliment Package” at the Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel, a decent portion of the hotel staff gets in on the flattering action. Verbal gifts from fawning wake-up calls to seemingly random but thoughtful remarks from hotel employees telling you how attractive and wonderful you are will fly at you from all kinds of directions during your stay. If you like hotel work and buttering folks up, this could be the ideal place for you.
INSIDER TIPA sense of humor is a must for hotel employees and guests taking part in this unique package, as there’s a certain amount of tongue in cheek that goes into the entire affair.
Dog Surf Instructor
WHERE: Coronado Island, California
Across the bay from San Diego, on Coronado Island, Loews Coronado Bay Resort employs a pooch surf instructor. And no, that’s not a really clever dog that knows how to train people how to surf. We’re talking about a dedicated Homo sapiens who’ll teach your favorite canine (or maybe least favorite pet, depending on how it feels about water) how to ride the waves. And here you thought surf camp was only for your human children. The canine surf package even throws in a pair of stylish board shorts for your thrill-seeking dog.
INSIDER TIPLoews Hotels are extremely pet-friendly, as exemplified by their Loews Loves Pets program. This means you can travel with your furry friends and show them a good time—while carving out some free time for yourself as well.