Whether you’re staying across town or halfway around the world, luxe hotels are an alluring option. Their many amenities -- spas, gourmet room service, and chic bars and boutiques -- can take your trip to the next level. But some brands really up the ante with an uber-exclusive benefit: butler service. It’s an over-the-top experience that’s laser-focused on your comfort and convenience. Here are just a few of the perks you can expect from resorts and hotels that offer the amenity.
1. A Warm Welcome
You can expect your relationship with your butler to begin as soon as you check in. Many hotel chains (including the Savoy, the gold standard for hotel butler service and training) will assign them to you at the desk, or have them meet you just outside your room. At that point, he -- or she (more on that later) -- will walk you through your room’s amenities, ask about your preference for beverage service, and inquire about any dietary restrictions you might have. The point of all this is to provide seamless, unobtrusive, and impeccable service for the duration of your stay. Also expect your butler to provide you with a cell-phone number that, when called or texted, will send a member of the service staff to assist you, no matter the time of day or night.
2. Unpacking Help
Once your luggage has been brought to your room, your butler will likely ask if you’d like assistance unpacking. Granted, you might not want a stranger handling your clothes and personal belongings, but remember that butlers are trained to be discreet! A butler unpack is a lovely perk to help you relax and settle into your room, especially if you’ve had a long journey. At this time, the butler might notice items that need pressing, special handling, or shining, and he’ll offer to take care of those for you. And when it’s time to head home, the process works in reverse. A quick call, and your suitcases will be packed and ready to roll out in a jiffy. This is a basic butler amenity, and one we highly recommend.
3. Shopping Skills
Need a last-minute present to bring along to a special event or dinner party? What about an evening dress for the theater or opera? Or what if you’ve forgotten to stash a favorite face serum or lipstick into your travel cosmetic case? Just really craving a red velvet cupcake? No worries! Your butler is available to act as a personal shopper and scout out exactly what you require with ease. These folks know the city where you’re staying inside and out, and they’ll know where to find nearly anything you’re looking for. The St. Regis butlers are especially well regarded for their shopping prowess, and their attention to detail is unmatched. However, while a butler’s services are typically free of charge with a luxury room or suite, the products or amenities they provide will be added to your room’s final cost.
4. Concierge Services
Looking to score last-minute tickets to a sporting or cultural event? Or need dinner reservations for the hottest restaurant in town? Just call or text, because these are also things your hotel butler can assist you with, saving you a stop at the concierge. At La Réserve Paris, the butlers pride themselves on being virtual magicians -- scoring tough-to-find tickets or VIP passes on behalf of their guests. Hotel butlers can also help plan unforgettable special events, including engagements, honeymoons, birthdays, or anniversaries. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them to help design the most memorable evening -- whatever the occasion -- of your vacation!
5. The Perfect Bath
Sometimes, after hours of sightseeing, you just want to return to your room or suite and soak the day away. Ready for a decadent, calming bath of the perfect temperature, complete with essential oils, something bubbly to drink, something fabulous to read, and warm towels on the side? Ring your butler! Many hotels, such as the Willcox in Aiken, South Carolina, offer customized bath services guaranteed to soothe, with options including candlelight, rose petals, and customized mineral bath salts. It’s a terrific perk that will leave you relaxed, refreshed, and ready to conquer the next day, whatever it might hold. Don’t worry: Your butler will depart as soon as your bath is ready.
6. Tech Assistance
Maybe you’ve got a bit of work to square away while you’re on the road, or perhaps you’re having difficulty downloading vacation photos from your phone to your laptop or other device. If you’re staying at one of the Ritz-Carlton properties, including the one in Atlanta, simply call the technology butler! This designated staff member is at the ready to assist with any tech trouble. The tech butler can help you access the Wi-Fi, provide the right power plugs (important if you’re traveling abroad and didn’t bring your own), and even resolve software compatibility issues, taking the stress out of your vacation. And if you’re looking for the latest tech trend, ask about Instagram butlers! Many top-tier hotels now offer staff members who will help you snap the perfect selfies while on the beach or on the go, or will take you to a city’s most iconic sights for the best photos. They’ll even offer tips on phone positioning, time of day, and what to wear for the best snaps.
7. Services For Women Travelers
More and more women are traveling abroad, both in groups and solo. To cater to these women, the India-based luxury chain Oberoi Hotels & Resorts offers an all-female butler staff and chauffeur fleet exclusively for female travelers. It’s an amenity that has taken off in recent years, as traveler safety has become a top priority. Having an all-female service staff for those who request it is a thoughtful touch, one that brings a bit of comfort and familiarity when you’re navigating a new place half a world away.
8. Perks For Your Pet
Lest you think butler service is just for you, it turns out that it can also be for your dog! Many upscale hotel chains roll out the red carpet for -- and offer butler services to -- four-legged friends as well. The St. Regis Aspen has developed an “Elevated Pet Program” that includes a dog butler for walking and fetch, and even jogging-stroller rides for smaller pets. Loews Hotels provides pets special treats, bowls, and placemats at check-in and gourmet room service options for both cats and dogs. If you and your constant companion need to unwind after a long day, staff at The Betsy in Miami can arrange a custom “couple’s massage” at an outdoor spa for both you and your pooch.
As you can see, there are many ways a butler can help take your travel experience to the next level! However, should you opt for such service, it’s important to remember that these men and women work extremely hard to make sure your vacation is efficient and enjoyable. In return, gratitude and gratuities are both in order if your butler has provided exemplary service. Don’t tip per service (each time a meal is brought or something is ordered or procured); instead, plan to leave your butler 5 percent of your room rate at the end of your stay.