Snow host? Wildlife concierge? Don't such titles make real butlers cringe? Not at all, says Charles MacPherson of the International Guild of Professional Butlers. "I am pleased that the public associates service with 'butler' or 'concierge,' whether that's a 'fish valet' or a 'surf butler.' " -- Ken Van Vechten
Hyatt Grand Champions Resort & Spa
44-600 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells;
(800) 233-1234, www.grandchampions.hyatt.com
One- and two-bedroom villas, $699 to $899. The butler tradition is alive and well here. Five full-time butlers see to the needs of guests in the one- and two-bedroom Garden Villas. Few requests go unfulfilled. One visitor reputedly asked that his morning paper be ironed because he didn't like the quality of newsprint on this side of the Pond.
St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa
1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point;
(800) 722-1543 or www.stregismb.com
Rooms and suites $339-$825. Surf butler, $85 per hour. A one-hour session with a surf butler includes wetsuit, board and hands-on instruction in the fine art of catching waves; it's up to you whether the results are face-plant or hang-10. The less energetic -- or recovering -- can have a beach butler arrange a day at the private Monarch Bay Club complete with an expanse of sand, chair, umbrella, food, drink and just-right SPF sunscreen.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma; (800) 257-7544 or www.fairmont.com/sonoma. Rooms $209-$509. Forget going sideways in wine country; Judy Mendel keeps you upright. The chief concierge (more affectionately known as the wine concierge) can recommend that perfect varietal and vintage, gain access to a Fort Knox-like winery and do everything else a good concierge does. Think of her as a living, breathing guidebook.
Alfred, my PlayStation
Viceroy Santa Monica, 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (800) 670-6185 or www.viceroysantamonica.com
Rooms $339-$539. When the Viceroy set up a deal with Sony PlayStation, it hired Kelly Conway as game butler to guide guests through the latest electronic adventures. Conway will deliver your portable PSP to play poolside. Step up to a suite and the butler arrives bearing a PS2. The question: What do you tip a guy who can beat you at Mortal Kombat?