on the clock around the world

May 30th, 2008

It’s a [ ] job, but somebodys got to do it. Whether it be training and caring for street elephants in Thailand, making rare salt one’s specialty, or tangoing the night away on a cruise ship in the Black Sea, some jobs – especially in Paradise – mean more play than work. For an intriguing angle on the global travel industry, let’s check in with the behind-the-scenes staff members that make these resorts tick:

Job: Salt Sommelier at Anantara Maldives Resort & Spa, The Maldives

Description: While knowledgeable wine sommeliers are now de rigueur across the globe, who would expect a salt sommelier on a tiny island deep in the Indian Ocean? Thanks to Nasrulla Thoha, native Maldivian and official salt sommelier at Anantara Maldives Resort & Spa, guests can match the perfect NaCl to their tuna carpaccio or wok-fried scampi. Dinner in the company of Thoha means more than aimless grazing, it’s a learning experience – for example, did you know that Cyprus Black Lava flake salt is simply Mediterranean flake salt mixed with activated charcoal, which adds not only the beautiful inky color but acts as a natural detoxifier? The salt sommelier can also make recommendations from an extensive list of mustards and chutneys to suit even the choosiest palate.

Job: Fair-weather Concierge at The Wauwinet and Skipper at The Cottages at the Boat Basin, Nantucket, Massachusetts

Description: While most travelers are well versed when it comes to hotel concierges, Nantucket Island Resorts takes it one step further with specialized concierges to suit their guests’ specific needs. When the island is feeling under the weather and living up to its nickname of “The Grey Lady,” the Fair-Weather Concierge at The Wauwinet steps in to ensure that guests enjoy their trips as much as if it was 75 degrees and sunny. With over 100 ideas for things to do on island and at the property, from playing games by the fire in the Library to more exciting cooking classes in TOPPER’S award-winning kitchen with Executive Chef David Daniels to flower arranging classes with the best florist on Nantucket, the Fair-weather Concierge is there to keep guests busy. And even in the rainiest weather, complimentary wellies, slickers, and umbrellas are available for a tromp along the moors and beaches. (The Wauwinet also has a Picture-Perfect Concierge to capture the perfect moments on camera.)

At The Cottages at The Boat Basin, “Skipper” is on hand to do whatever necessary to prep for arrival and take care of guests’ every need while on island. From supplying fishing poles and outfitting the kitchen with grilling supplies to scoring hard-to-get reservations at Lola 41 in town to providing the perfect beach spot, Skipper is happy to help.

Job: Mahout at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa, Thailand

Description: In a (pea)nutshell, a mahout is an elephant ‘driver,’ but this job is so much more. Historically, these individuals in Thailand have devoted their lives to caring for elephants, and at Anantara Golden Triangle’s Elephant Camp, they impart their knowledge to guests in a three-day mahout training course. Set up in conjunction with Thailand’s National Elephant Institute and its Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, the Elephant Camp lies on 160 acres of bamboo forest, nature trails, and river banks that provide an ideal habitat for the elephants and their mahouts. Guests to the camp learn elephant driving skills by working one-on-one with a mahout, who supervises the training. The mahouts instruct guests in the basic commands (pai=go, baen=turn, and the all-important how=stop) used to drive an elephant. Other topics touched upon are river bathing, daily upkeep of an elephant, feeding requirements, and mahout lifestyle.

Job: Ambassador Host on Crystal Cruises

Description: It’s a tough job but someone has to do it: dance, dance, dance, that is. Crystal Cruises’ Ambassador Hosts are a group of retired gentlemen who sail to exotic destinations in first-class style with the opportunity to do what they love – travel, dance, and interact in the very active social scene onboard both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. As dancing, dining, and social partners, Ambassador Hosts serve as liaisons between single female guests and the onboard community. Hosts minister solely to the social needs of these guests and make their experiences at onboard social functions and on-shore excursions more inclusive and enjoyable.

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