The most critical part of running a luxury hotel is the ability to grant guests' requests, says Gary Burke, who's been the hotel manager at the Jefferson for 12 years. "So we get asked just about everything," he says. Here's a sampling:
Grooms and groomsmen tend to forget things, such as cufflinks and ties. "And in one case, shoes." Once a groomsman panicked because he couldn't find his jacket. Luckily, Burke was wearing a black one in about the right size. "So off came the jacket. Gave it to the guy and off he went."
The manager of "a very famous comedian" called the Jefferson's concierge at 9 p.m. His client requested a private screening of a new-release film — at 10 a.m. the next day. The concierge staff called around and found that CinéBistro in Stony Point Fashion Park was happy to oblige.
A regular guest of the hotel asked for a bellman's uniform to wear, because he wanted to wash his own car in front of the hotel. Staff offered to wash it for him, but he insisted. So they brought him the uniform, as well as a selection of sponges and shampoos.
And if a request is impossible to fulfill? Always offer an alternative, Burke says. More often than you would think, a guest will ask for an ocean-view room. "We say, we actually don't have an ocean, but we do have the James River."