AWARD-winning hotel Rosewood Corniche, Jeddah, has been offering guests an ‘unusual’ amenity, since the launch of its ‘fragrance butler’ earlier this year.
Honouring the time-tested methods of traditional butlering, but with a creative and modern approach, the luxury hotel has been attracting guests by redefining state-of-the-art, discreet service for all hotel guests.
TTN caught up with head butler Issam Rajab to learn more about the hotel’s butler services and the significance it holds in the hospitality industry...
What role does ‘butler’ play in today’s hospitality scenario?
The butler is the sole person who consolidates the many functions of a hotel in one resourceful, round the clock available person, an individual whose job caters to requests both large and small while paying fine attention to detail and exceeding guest expectations at all times.
What are the services provided by the butler service at Rosewood Corniche? How does it merit against others in the field?
• Clothes – unpacking suitcases upon arrival and packing them for guest check out is one of the most valued services we offer. Additional options such as wardrobe management, laundry, pressing and shoe shine are important too.
• Technology – helping guests with their IT needs and acting as a personal assistant ensures our business travellers are up-to date with their emails and professional commitments.
• Fragrance – mainly catering to business travellers who fly to Jeddah with hand luggage only; we offer them a choice of scents as per their taste and day’s activities.
• Local expertise – providing an update on the latest happenings in the city and the hotel and introducing them to various entertainment and cultural hotspots around town.
• Personalised services – escorting guests to appointments on and off property, personal shopping and assistance, wake-up services and most importantly, anticipating their needs or dealing with their last minute requests.
• Rosebuds Programme – designed to entertain and educate children, combined with our signature philosophy, ‘A Sense of Place’, the Rosebuds programme offers a host of personalised services to younger guests including a special kids menu, minibar, bathroom amenities and fun activities. Our aim is to actively engage children in their learning by helping them experience sensorial and practical life applications of the world around them.
In your 11 years of experiences what changing trends have you observed?
Butler service is definitely a growing trend especially in the top five-star hotels and resorts, where they are constantly on call. A constant helping hand at the guest’s disposal is beyond price and guests are always happy to take advantage of the additional assistance. As the butler service becomes a necessity at a certain class of an organisation, I believe hotels will start distinguishing themselves by discovering new types of specialised butler services. At Rosewood Corniche we offer guests a truly personalised service by appointing a fragrance butler. Rosewood Corniche butlers undergo intensive training on a regular basis, bringing special trainers from the UK so that we can learn straight from the experts.
What are the challenges a butler faces?
I think the biggest challenge is to ensure that guests are always provided with nothing short of flawless service. With information and reviews of every international hotel readily available on the internet, prospective guests are increasingly savvy in evaluating properties; and I think the challenge is not only to surpass their expectations but to add a point of difference if a comparison between the hotel and other facilities is undertaken.
How popular are butler services with Arab travellers? What are the expectations that you need to meet?
Travellers of every nationality nowadays are seeking perfect services in their hotel suites that only a butler can provide. Hotels which have butler services now can exceed guest expectations by offering the wow factor or merely making their stay more fun, convenient, pleasurable and tailor-made to their needs.
My job is very easy if I listen carefully and adapt to different people. The key skill of being instinctive remains at the forefront of the role. I act as a personal assistant at times, setting up a guest’s laptop and arranging itineraries. You also need very good knowledge of food and beverage and of valeting, or pressing clothing, laundry and laying clothing out. We are always ahead of guests’ needs and like to be there before they ask!
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