Savoy-trained butlers are simply the best in the world. And here’s why
English butlers, synonymous with Reginald Jeeves in the novels of PG Wodehouse, are answering more calls from around the world for their services, with global TV hit Downton Abbey credited for some of this new demand.
The popularity of the British period drama around the world has created a buzz around what used to be a job associated with a previous era when stately homes were commonplace.
Last year it was reported that with the Middle East dominating the list of the world’s largest superyachts, demand for quality trained staff has increased with a UK-based firm setting up a special academy to cater to this niche market.
And now Etihad Airways is offering a butler service to passengers in its new Residence offering, the world’s first private multi-room cabin on a commercial passenger aircraft.
Guests staying in The Residence will have a dedicated butler on call throughout the flight, offering the type of discrete personal service and attention to detail found in the world’s most exclusive hotels.
These hospitality professionals have been selected by Etihad Airways and are undergoing specialist training at the Savoy Butler Academy in London, part of the world-famous Savoy Hotel.
The butler’s role is multi-faceted including that of a Concierge and Maitre d’hotel. Their uniform has been designed by Rome-based fashion designer, Ettore Bilotta, to reflect the superior levels of professionalism and style associated with this unique role.
A dedicated VIP Concierge team will also ensure all aspects of the experience, including booking luxury chauffeur transfers, check-in, and custom menu planning, are handled with the utmost discretion.
When the Savoy re-opened, in 2010, after a £220m refurbishment, the owners reintroduced traditional butlers, after a 50-year hiatus.
According to the Savoy’s official website, the hotel has long had an ethos of “personal service naturally”, and was the first hotel to establish its own school to train professionals.
The Savoy Academy trains a new generation of butlers who combine the discretion of a traditional English butler with the efficiency of a 21st century personal assistant.
Beginning around the early 1920s, employment in domestic service occupations began a sharp overall decline in western European countries, and even more markedly in the United States.
Even so, there were still around 30,000 butlers employed in Britain by World War II but as few as 100 were estimated to remain by the mid-1980s. In 2007, the number of butlers in Britain had risen to an estimated 5,000.