Butler service has gone from a fad to an expected amenity at luxury resorts and cruise lines. Nowadays you can expect to find butler service available as a premium perk at high-end hotels, resorts, and cruise lines around the world.
What to Expect from Hotel Butler Service
In a nutshell, a butler is there to provide a seamless, enjoyable stay and take care of requests that would otherwise require your time and energy. Whether you need dinner reservations or forgot to pack your toothbrush, your butler is there to solve problems and fulfill requests.
Butler service is commonplace in luxury resorts in the Caribbean. At the plush Las Casitas Village at the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico—a popular place for families because it has its own waterpark—here's a sampling of what the 24-hour butler can do for you:
- make sure your suite is ready with the details you want
- greet guests on arrival, and register guests in-room
- unpack your luggage and pack it again before departure
- provide concierge services such as booking tours, spa appointments, golf tee times, and transportation
- make special arrangements for special celebrations such as a birthday or anniversary
- order and deliver room service
- take care of grocery services
- draw a bath
- turndown service in the evening
- help with check-out, escort guests to lobby, make sure nothing is forgotten in the room
Which Guests Get a Butler?
Butler service is typically available as part of an elite level of service at a resort. Sometimes, this elite level is only available at an exclusive luxury area within the larger resort or in the VIP section of a "ship within a ship" on cruises. Make no mistake: You are paying a premium for this service.
Different resorts designate which guests are eligible for butlers. At the all-inclusive Hotel Marina El Cid resort on the Mayan Riviera, butler service isn't tied to elite accommodation, but rather is part of a premium add-on platinum service that provides enhanced perks along with the usual all-inclusive array of food, drinks, and play.
What to Tip a Resort Butler
If a butler provides good service, it is standard to tip 5 percent of the room rate. For example, if your room rate is $300 per night and you stay five nights, your total room expense would be $1,500 and you would tip your butler $75.
Where Else to Find Butlers
While their existence at sun-and-sea resorts is commonplace, butlers can also be found at other vacation spots. At London hotels, for example, butlers can nicely fulfill a visitor's fantasy of English upper-class life. Less expectedly, butlers can also be found in Las Vegas casino resorts.
On a cruise ship, a butler is distinct from the cabin steward, whose responsibility is to clean and tidy your stateroom. In contrast, a butler can make your dinner reservations, book spa appointments or shore activities or even provide drinks service during an in-cabin cocktail party.
Keep in mind that the exact functions that butlers provide differ from property to property and not all butlers are created equal. At one end of the spectrum, a butler's sole responsibility may be ensuring the satisfaction of the guest to whom he or she is assigned throughout their stay. In this case, you would have a dedicated butler all to yourself.
At the other end of the spectrum, the term "butler" is used rather loosely and, frankly, as more of a gimmick. For example, a resort might offer a "pillow butler" or a "bath butler," who performs a specialty service role for all hotel guests in general.
- Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher