by Tom Isler | January 01, 2008

Taylor Howie, a Loews guacamolières.

Master masher:
Taylor Howie
is one of Loews’

An attentive staff has always been a selling point for hotels, but as properties market to smaller and smaller niches, individual workers’ expertise, no matter how esoteric, is now being promoted as aggressively as a new spa or free Internet access.

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, while hardly alone, has been particularly proactive in publicizing employees’ knowledge in various fields, or hiring experts and bestowing upon them curiously specialized titles.

This past October, for example, the Fairmont Gold, a hotel-within-a-hotel at the Fairmont Washington, D.C., debuted a “sleep concierge” who advises on what sleep-inducing amenities or snacks (i.e., scented candles or smoothies served with lavender cookies) should be included on a sleep menu in each room.

At the Fairmont Kenauk at Le Chateau Montebello in Quebec, one of the front desk attendants is a nature guide who can lead groups on hikes focused on edible or medicinal plants or speak about environmental issues.

Paul Muddiman, chef and master carver at the signature restaurant at The Savoy, a Fairmont Hotel in London, leads group meat-carving lessons.

Fairmont trumpets its “bath sommelier,” “baked beans expert,” “chocolatiere” and “fish valet,” to name a few, at various properties. Other hotels, meanwhile, herald their “guacamoliere” (Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Arizona), “soap concierge” (The Tides Riviera Maya in Mexico) and “tequila afficionado” (Las Ventanas al Para’so, a Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos).

Makes you wonder how anyone ever sat on the beach without the assistance of a “tanning butler” (Ritz-Carlton, South Beach).