Did you recently watch one of those classic black and white films from generations ago that had an actor as a hotel doorman wearing a very funny looking hat who would always be referred to as a bellhop? Did you watch that film and become curious as to what or who a bellhop is and what exactly he or she does? Don't worry because you're not the only person that has ever had such thoughts.
The term bellhop is one you don't hear all that often anymore but it used to be a term that was quite in vogue back in the day. A bellhop, also known as a bellman or bellboy, is a term used to refer to a hotel porter, which is a hotel employee that would assist hotel patrons on vacation from with their luggage during the check out and check in phase of any hotel stay. You might have even encountered bellhops while visiting a friend's condo in Toronto, as some condos employ bellhops. Should you be interested in buying your own condominium unit with a bell hop, you may want to begin your search here.
Most hotel bellhops were required to were a uniform that included those funny looks hats that resemble a drum or squat can. The bellboy hat was designed in a way to replicate military drummer boy caps, chinstrap and all. The term bellhop was coined because of how the hotel front desk clerks would have to ring a bell in order for a hotel employee to come to the front. That hotel employee would then "hop" to attention and receive their instructions from the front desk, be it to help patrons find out where their room is located or valet their car.
There's not a whole lot more to the bellhop story then what we've mentioned and even though it is a unique sounding word it doesn't have the most exciting origin story. Bellhop or bellboy is more used in American English than British English, as the United Kingdom uses the word porter for their hotel doormen. We also mentioned how bellhops are also known as bellboys and that's because bellhops traditionally were boys or adolescent males and therefore, bellboy become a common phrase as well. Nowadays though the profession of bellhop isn't limited strictly to boys or adolescent males, as people of all types and ages work as bellhops such as old men and adolescent females.
The duties of bellhops vary from hotel to hotel but mainly they're are asked to open the front door for hotel guests, carry luggage to and from rooms, valet cars, call cabs, transport guests, and provide directions when asked. Whatever a hotel guest needs a bellhop should be able to provide, be it providing information on what the fastest route to their appointment is or tell them about where the best places in town are to eat. Now that you know what the term bellhop means, where the term came from hopefully you'll know be a little more appreciative of bellhops during your stay.