In an ever increasing room density environment, hotels along the Mayan Riviera are forever adding new amenities and features to get the “edge” over their fellow resorts.
If an initiative is effective other hotels follow. Interestingly the hotels actually discuss the success or failures of new initiatives with competing hotels. One would think it would be the opposite; however they are very cooperative between themselves in a uniquely competitive way.
The newest service being featured at Fiesta’s Grand Palladium Royal Suites Yucatan is the Hotel Butler; a feature that we feel will catch on and become a standard at any hotel offering upscale amenities.
Now, if you are unfamiliar with the idea, maybe never having had a butler, then you may not know what your butler’s responsibilities are or what the protocols are in dealing with your butler.
WHAT DOES A HOTEL BUTLER DO?
At first blush one might view the Hotel Butler as a fancy term for a concierge. And this is where the idea originated.
In the past, the Palladium Royal Suites Yucatan had a manager but no concierge. In an effort to upgrade the services for Royal guests the idea of the Hotel Butler was adopted as a means to provide a higher level of service far beyond what a normal concierge’s job description would be.
For example, say you wish to propose to your girlfriend or re-propose to your wife. Your plan is to lure your gf/wife out onto your cabana’s deck, to sit on the chez-lounges and relax. At the designated time a canoe gently floats up with a mariachi playing sweet music on his guitar [there is a beautiful canal system throughout the resort]. You get down on your knee and propose. After she says yes you kiss, that is the cue for the fireworks and yes fireworks go off. Just then the door to your cabana bursts open. It is your butler with a bottle of Champaign and a photographer. Your Hotel Butler can arrange this.
Or, say you’re wandering around the beach one day and you stumble into the Kantenah out-door buffet and they have that amazing Mexican BQ Chicken. You gorge yourself silly because it is so delicious. The next day you look for the chicken but you cannot find it anywhere so you have steak & lobster for dinner instead. Now the steak & lobster is great but that BQ chicken is to die for. You lament to your Hotel Butler that you can’t find that BQ chicken anywhere and it sure was good! Your Hotel Butler will reply; “when would you like your BQ chicken and where you would like to dine”.
Those are just a couple of examples and I won’t even go into what happened after I complained to Marcel about the eucalyptus vapor room at the spa, just use your imagination.
Your Hotel Butler is there to help make your stay as wonderful as possible. The name Hotel Butler is really not the right title. It should be Amazing Vacation Maker or something like that, but the term Hotel Butler does denote a certain air of “ritzyness”.
For day to day practical measure your Hotel Butler can arrange tours to attractions, get you specific information on local things, answer questions and take care of any problems you may encounter.
At the Palladium Royal Suites Yucatan there are two butlers, a Butler Supervisor and a Director. Traditionally Guest Services is handled by women. This is the norm all across Mexico, not simply at the Palladium. So the supervisor for the butlers is a woman, who also acts as a Hotel Butler.
Each Hotel Butler is designated a certain block of rooms. It is the responsibility of the butler to look after the guests occupying their rooms. They also work behind the scenes doing room checks and following up on any services asked for by a guest in their domain.
The butlers start their dayshift at 9:00 am and work until around 5ish when they start writing up their reports and taking care of any last minute details. By 6:00 pm they should be off work but quite often their day is not done and 10:00 nights are very common. The afternoon shift officially works until 9:00pm.
The posted hours for the butler service are 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm and At the Royal Suites Lobby: 9:00 am to 1:30 pm, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Once the butler walks off the grounds they are not allowed back onto the property until their next shift starts. This is the rule for all employees at the Palladium. That said, the butlers at the Palladium have vehicles, cell phones and access to the Internet and do continue their work after their regular hours just like any hard working person with motivation and a love of their work.
WHO BECOMES A HOTEL BUTLER?
A person who speaks five languages, is university educated, has traveled internationally and worked as a successful marketing executive. In other words, your Hotel Butler is no slouch.
Meet Marcel, one of the Palladium’s new Hotel Butlers. I’ve already said a few words about him. I’ll tell you more.
Born and educated in Venezuela, Marcel immigrated to Mexico seven years ago. He applied for citizenship, which he has since received and is grateful to Mexico for giving him the opportunity to live and work there.
Marcel made his way to Mexico City where he utilized the skills he learned in University in marketing and advertising and worked his way up the corporate ladder. Successful, with his own penthouse, a brand new Mustang, two Harleys and an upscale lifestyle at age 27 Marcel was starting to feel the negative results of too much work in an unhealthy environment. Hospitalized, Marcel made the decision to adopt a new lifestyle so he chose to relocate to the Mayan Riviera.
Wishing to leave the world of advertising and marketing he chose to try working at the resorts occupying several positions until he found something he could excel in. The Palladium offered him that opportunity.
He has no regrets leaving Mexico City behind him and truly loves his new life on the Riviera. Goal driven he has set out to become the best Hotel Butler possible. I am not just making this up. Marcel takes his job very serious, as do all the butlers at the Royal Suites Yucatan.
We found Marcel to be a very genuine individual who honestly believes in integrity. A rare quality in a person!
The butler staff makes a decent wage. They also receive tips; however they do not expect to be tipped for their services.
As of this writing, there does not appear to be a standard on tipping rates for butlers. When we inquired it appeared to be quite “up in the air”.
The ambiguity lays in the upscale nature of the service. Do you tip a butler for every minor thing they may do for you? Is handing a few pesos to the butler proper etiquette?
As mentioned, your Hotel Butler does not expect a tip for services rendered and they will perform their duties day after day, request after request without any gratuities offered. They will do so un-begrudgingly, maintaining the same high degree of service time after time.
Know that having your Hotel Butler working on your side can really add to your stay. It is like you have a personal hotel supervisor/consultant making sure your visit meets your expectations and more.
It took us a few days to think about something our butler could do for us, but after we got into the hang of it we found this service to be extremely beneficial. I was a heart-beat away from having Marcel iron my newspaper. He would have, too!
For tipping, use discretion. Do what ever makes everyone happy. If you use your butler throughout your stay for any number of minor things you may want to tip them at the end of your stay with one big tip. You can also tip them when services are provided; tipping according to the amount of effort involved in following through with your request, or what you feel the end result was worth to you.
If certain services require much planning like a candle lit dinner on the beach for two then you must consider that your Hotel Butler will have to work with a number of other parties to set this up for you and you should talk with them to establish a tip that would cover everyone involved.
The Hotel Butler is a great feature. Having stayed at the Royal Suites Yucatan before the Hotel Butler was implemented, we can testify with first hand experience that this service can enhance your stay when used effectively with creativity and imagination.
The Hotel Butler makes you feel special and they really want to make your stay something exceptional. Two thumbs up!
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