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Concierges Aim to Please


The position of hotel concierge is hardly an American creation. Even the word is French. But in at least one American city – the raucous gambling mecca of Las Vegas, Nevada – the job takes on proportions that go well beyond European refinement. In Vegas there's a lot more asked of a concierge than to find show tickets or give directions to mighty Hoover Dam in the nearby desert.

This, after all, is the naughty town whose official slogan is, What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.

Concierges there told the Chicago Tribune newspaper that they will not arrange anything illegal. Whether that's universally true in Party Town U.S.A. is open to suspicion, but requests of Vegas concierges can border on the bizarre.

One man asked that a full-sized, stuffed gorilla be waiting in the room when his lady friend arrived. The concierge found one.

Another fellow wanted a Mexican-style mariachi band to follow him around a casino while he gambled. The concierge set it up, though there's no word on how other gamblers reacted to the din of trumpets and guitars. The gambler fared so well at the tables that he asked the band to accompany him the next night as well.

Another time, a Japanese woman who spoke little English had to rush her son to a hospital. While the boy was resting comfortably, she returned to her hotel, only to realize she had no idea how to get back to the hospital and her son. The concierge sent a photographer to shoot pictures of every hospital in town. The woman recognized one of them and was able to hurry back to her son.

One request that a Vegas concierge could not, or would not, satisfy was to have a warm bath awaiting a guest's arrival. Not one with water and bubbles, but a tub filled with goat's milk. Apparently there weren't enough goats in all of Nevada for the concierge to pull that one off.

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