This article originally appeared on VICE Spain
You've probably seen me hundreds of times: standing patiently in the background of some important economic summit, opening a car door under a hail of paparazzi flashes, sneaking the main character of a 90s movie into some VIP room so they can chase their unrequited love. Yeah, that's me: the bellboy.
It's my job to see and hear everything. I am aware of every little detail of our customer's personality so I know exactly what they want — oftentimes before they even do.
I'm not going to lie; it's a job like no other. I show up half an hour early for my nightshift so I can take care of the things you have no idea need to be taken care of. Believe it or not we aren't just mannequins that stand frozen in the corner waiting for you to ring a bell. There's a whole lot more going on in the shadows.
I remember my first night on the job. It was hectic. We had a bunch of Saudis staying at the hotel. Lavish businessmen, of the "nouveau riche" type, who had booked half a floor for themselves. They'd just put their families to bed, when I arrived. It wasn't the first time that the hotel had such guests but it was the first time I had to deal with them personally. My boss told me that I needed to stay by the phone to field all requests, jokingly assuring me there'd be more than a few.
And there were. They called looking for blondes, brunettes and redheads – there would be nobody sleeping alone that night. It only took a few hours for the six rooms to go through 50 bottles of champagne. Of course, all of this happened in total discretion – no one knew what was happening in those rooms other than the people inside them and me. That night I realised I had found my dream job.
Another time, a well-known Spanish businessman showed up. He'd recently married a gorgeous, famous actress who was pregnant with their first child. I remember him telling his wife that he'd go to the terrace to smoke a cigarette but what he actually did was rent a private room so he could get pissed with his mates and partake in all manner of activities that his wife shouldn't know about. I guess he must have even asked the drug dealer to stick around for a few drinks because the guy was in there for a while. Naturally, I stood guard in the hallway – it's a key part of my job to monitor and record any movement outside the room. For the guest's "safety", of course.
After having worked for hotels for a while, I'm pretty confident in saying that I've seen it all. I've met kings and queens, male prime ministers with a serious high heel fetish and closeted homosexual singers who dare to break character during their stay. But those I really like are the more anonymous customers – people who have the freedom to indulge in whichever fantasy they want without having to worry about what public outcry.
For instance, not long ago I was busy catching up on some necessary (read: fucking boring) work, when a customer arrived. She was quite obviously wasted:
"I have a reservation in my name. Here's my ID," she said.
- "Welcome, Mrs. Drunkard. How was your trip?"
"Well, just look at me."
I'm just the bellboy so normally, I don't check people in. If the concierge is busy, I try to entertain the guests a little until my colleague is ready to deal with them. That obviously wasn't going to be good enough this time.
"Bring the most expensive bottle of champagne you have to the room. My husband will tip you when he arrives," she demanded.
Yes ma'am. I quite like it when guests stop seeing me as some useless piece of junk or a glorified baggage mule. It's great when they actually consider me as someone who's interested in helping them have the night of their lives.
I wasn't at all surprised when she called me on the special number reserved for VIPs instead of calling the front desk. I knew she was in need of some vitamins to keep the night going. It goes without saying that I'm no dealer, but my clients' welfare and experience is my top priority, so what else could I do?
More recently, I had a trio come into the hotel. The one who seemed to be in charge was a tall man in his 50s – rather attractive. He'd brought what I thought were his two kids with him. A girl with beautiful blue eyes and long brown hair and a guy, who I figured was her brother.
I carried their suitcases up to their room and put some house music on the TV as per their request. I noticed their beds — a single and a double —and quickly began to realise that this probably wasn't a family. Well, at least, not a normal one. They asked me to unlock the windows – which usually always remain closed – so I needed to run downstairs to fetch a key. When I returned less than five minutes later, it was obvious they'd already kicked the party into action. The young girl was running around in her underwear, while her "brother" barely had any clothes on either. At least the older guy was holding it together in a way. It took roughly another 15 minutes before the whole corridor could hear them moaning with pleasure.
Generally speaking, things calm down as the night goes on. An air of peace descends on the hallways as the rooms' inhabitants drift off to sleep. It's that very calm that lets me know I've done a good job. Everyone is satisfied and tucked in.
It's around that time of the night, when the morning shift start clocking in to take care of breakfast, fix the things that I haven't had time to and set up for the day. It's time for me to call it quits. Quite often, as I'm walking home, I try to predict what sort of debauchery the following night will bring but it's always impossible to guess.
That's probably why I love my job.