By Shivani Vora
Can a butler really make a hotel stay that much more extraordinary?
For a growing number of luxury properties that have butlers as an amenity for their guests, the answer is a resounding yes.
According to Reneta McCarthy, a senior lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, the concept of butlers dates at least as far back as the 18th century in Europe, when a butler was a male who was in charge of the dining and entertainment in wealthy households. “Eventually, the idea of butlers seeped into the hotel space in Europe,” she said. “And more recently, in an effort to differentiate themselves in a competitive market, more and more top-end hotels are touting that they have butlers to pamper their guests.”
Many of the properties with butlers offer them only to guests staying in suites. Casa Angelina in Italy’s Amalfi Coast, for example, has butler service for those staying in its six suites, and Faena Miami Beach has butlers for guests who have booked multi-bedroom or specialty suites. Other hotels, such as the St. Regis New York and the Connaught, in London, provide butlers for all rooms.
Being a travel writer, I’ve gotten my fair share of news releases in the last year about hotel butlers. They’ve always made my eyes roll but have also piqued my curiosity about whether butlers actually have value or are nothing more than a marketing gimmick. I decided to find out firsthand. My husband, Mahir, and I recently tested the butlers at the St. Regis New York, a 238-room property in Midtown Manhattan that had butlers long before they became more mainstream. Over the course of 36 hours, we put three different butlers through the paces with our numerous requests.
Source: New York Times
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