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‘Take your hands off my lobby boy!’ may be the most quotable line from the Oscar-nominated flick The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s with this affection in mind that we at Mr & Mrs Smith set out to pay tribute to the hotel porter. Keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook accounts this week as we reveal three of the best-loved bellhops in New York City, starting 17 April. Vote for your favourite guy (in the form of a ‘like’, of course) and he could win $250 towards a Smith hotel stay.
In the meantime, we’ve rounded up a slew of fun facts about the first face you’ll see at check-in…
1 Hollywood’s most powerful Toms have a past in hospitality. Both Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise worked as bellhops early in their careers. Allegedly, Hanks even carried the bags of Sidney Poitier and Cher.
2 It’s not only hard work being a bellhop, playing one on TV is strenuous, too. Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel on the hit BBC show Fawlty Towers, revealed years later that he really was burned during a kitchen fire scene for the 1975 ‘Germans’ episode. The payout for second-degree acid burns? A whopping £750.
3 A robotic bellhop named Botlr, created by the Silicon Valley robotics company Savioke, made his hotel debut in 2014. He can fetch you a toothbrush and bring you an extra bottle of water. He’s not, however, programmed for leniency on late check-out.
4 In 2015, alternative teens across America were encouraged to dress like bellhops after clothing chain and shopping mall staple Hot Topic released a ‘Hotel Bellhop Dress.’ The black velvet number with cord detailing and button accents was part of the brand’s American Horror Story collection.
5 The Who’s 1973 song ‘Bell Boy’ tells the story of Jimmy, who discovers that his old idol works in a hotel.
6 Brandon Flowers, frontman for the band the Killers, worked as a bellhop at a hotel/casino in Las Vegas before making it big in music. He later confessed in an interview to rifling through a bag of CDs belonging to a member of Morrissey’s band.
7 A Chicago-based porter with some major skills, Ted Serios claimed to have psychic abilities in the 1960s. He said he could put images on Polaroid film using only his mind, and he called the prints ‘thoughtographs’. At least one psychologist, who wrote a book called The World of Ted Serios: “Thoughtographic” Studies of an Extraordinary Mind, believed him.
8 Pharrell dressed like a bellhop for his 2015 Grammys performance – hat, white gloves and all – and the Twitter world went berserk with references to The Grand Budapest Hotel. Speaking of which…
9 Zero, the beloved lobby boy character from The Grand Budapest Hotel has inspired an array of hotel heartthrob merchandise, including iPhone covers, portraits, stickers, pins, soy candles, plush toys, pennants and mini matryoshka dolls. And that’s on Etsy alone.
10 In his 2012 memoir Heads in Beds, long-time hotel employee Jacob Tomsky declared the wheeled suitcase (invented in 1970) ‘the bane of the bellman’s existence’ and its creator, Bernard Sadow, ‘the man all bellmen hate, though they’ve never heard his name’. And on that note, don’t forget to tip your bellhop!
Featured illustration by Amy Siobhan Walsh