Author: Peter Matthews
If you have ever wanted your own Jeeves, you’re not alone. As period dramas such as Downton Abbey increase in popularity around the world, so too has the demand for butlers, especially among elite families in China, Russia and the Middle East, who are drawn to classically trained house staff to make their lives easier.
But what can you expect from having your own Alfred Pennyworth? We take a look at the services butlers offer, how much they cost and where you can find one.
The modern day butler
Gone are the days when butlers stood around shining the silver. From serving breakfast and managing homes to planning holidays and days out, the modern butler is called upon to do just about anything that will help make his employer’s life a bit easier.
Often recruited by high-flying businesspeople whose work takes them all over the world, a key role of a butler is helping their employer keep to a busy schedule.
Whether this means taking your clothes to the cleaner, managing household accounts and other staff, or ensuring your private jet is ready for your next business trip – a good butler will not hesitate at any request thrown at them.
The benefits of having a butler
Butlers are seen as refined and reserved individuals, with the ability to adapt to any situation without displaying a shred of anxiety or emotion.
Although shows such as Downton Abbey have built up an image of an impeccably mannered butler, the reality of a modern day equivalent is noticeably different from the old fashioned stereotype.
While a butler of today will still be immaculately dressed and know their place in the household, they should also display good communication skills (fluency is other languages is a bonus) and take on the role as your trusted confident.
Loyalty and discretion are two of the most important characteristics a butler should have, while some butlers are tasked with mentoring their employers on British etiquette.
Some of the best butlers can earn in the region of £70,000 a year – almost as much as the average annual income of a surgeon – with the added extra of living in their employer’s home for free.
A newly qualified butler can be hired at a regional location for around £25,000 a year; however, expect to pay more if you live in London and a minimum of £40,000 if you own more than one home.
Unless you plan on poaching your friend’s butler, approaching a domestic staffing agency is your best bet when looking to hire one. Ensuring your needs are matched with the right person, an agency will also look after the contract and detail what is expected of the butler before he is placed in your home.
A home from home: expert butler services at London’s top hotels
From unpacking your suitcase on arrival to arranging your day out, butler services at London’s top hotel destinations make a welcome addition to a trip to the capital.
Located in Knightsbridge, The Lanesborough is the first hotel to offer a personal 24-hour butler service for all guests. As well as complimentary pressing of a set of clothing on arrival and an e-butler service, your butler will familiarise you with the surroundings and will be on hand as and when required.
Multilingual butlers at The Corinthia London Hotel ensure guests get the best out of their stay in London, with an around-the-clock service for all seven Signature Suites. As well as a three-piece complimentary pressing service on arrival, in-suite check in and out, and shoe shine, the hotel can arrange for VIP and top suite guests to be picked up from the airport by the hotel limousine on a complimentary basis, while VIP and suite guests who bring their own cars can park for free.
In addition to standard butler services, five-star Mayfair hotel The Connaught offers a John Lobb shoe shine service on request. Delivered by butlers who have been specially trained by John Lobb at the factory in Northampton, the shoe shine service uses only the finest John Lobb materials. During the 30-minute service, guests are treated to a Connaught martini or drink of their choice, and the added luxury of having their jacket steam pressed to ensure they leave with a spring in their step.
The Connaught offers a John Lobb shoeshine card, priced at £150 for six sessions. To purchase contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.the-connaught.co.uk.