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Our People - Junior Butler
Personal butlers are at the heart of guest service at the Connaught. Here, junior butler Lisa De Castro gives us a peek into what it’s like to work in this varied, often-surprising role.
“Getting our guests ready for their day”My day starts pretty early – 6am is the usual time. I head down to the hotel’s Pantry for a meeting with the manager and butler co-ordinator. We review who we’ll be taking care of that day, then we go on duty. There are normally four or five of us taking care of the guests in the early mornings. We prepare all the breakfast trollies for pre-booked orders. Then, after serving breakfast, we help guests get ready for the day ahead. Sometimes this means packing or unpacking a suitcase, pressing clothes or doing a shoeshine; whatever they need to get their day started on the right foot.
“People really enjoy having a butler – it’s a different experience”During the day, I’m on call to help guests. I can serve you a Martini, select something for you to read, and even help you with an IT problem.
I get many requests for our John Lobb shoeshine service. I really enjoy using all the John Lobb brushes and polishes, which are the best in the world. We went to the John Lobb shop on St James’s Street to be trained, and it was really fascinating – almost magic – how they changed an old pair of shoes to look just like new.
We also have a John Lobb chair on the landing, where you can have your shoes given the full treatment.
“Maybe we make people feel at home”When a friend who works at Claridge’s suggested I apply for the job of butler at the Connaught, I thought she was joking. But I did the interview, got the job, and am so happy I did.Growing up in Madeira, I always knew I wanted to work with people. When I moved to the UK to live with my sister, I joined her in the hotel industry. I started in Housekeeping, before moving to Room Service. So, it seemed natural to become a butler. Sometimes a guest is surprised to see a female butler. But quite a few guests request us specifically. Some say we are much better at packing and unpacking than the men. But I think, maybe we make people feel at home a little easier!
“When a guest is pleased to see me, it makes my day!”My favourite part of the day is welcoming arriving guests to the hotel. I love meeting new people. I explain the room to them, and then most guests like to chat about what they’re doing on their trip. We also have regular returning guests, of course. I always make careful notes about how they like their room and I’ll add a few personal touches before they arrive – maybe special flowers or tea, or simply having a hot coffee ready and waiting for them in their room.It’s so lovely when I can tell that guests are pleased to see me – it makes my day!
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The Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL +44 (0)20 7499 7070
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