By Alexis Hobbs
The Savoy, a Fairmont Managed Hotel, recently welcomed the first group of Etihad Airways’ talented in-flight Butler trainees for specialist training alongside Head Butler Sean Davoren and his team.
A group of 13 men and women, all in-flight chefs or food & beverage managers, were carefully chosen to fill the envied role of butler, which combines skills of both a concierge and maitre d’hotel to provide outstanding service to the guests of The Residence by Etihad. The airway company is introducing the 10 Airbus A380, which will feature a living room, private shower-room and double bedroom. The first model is due for delivery in December this year.
The group of trainees spent the first two weeks at the London School of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of West London, a leading provider of luxury hospitality management education. They covered a wide range of theoretical and practical butler related topics such as customer care for VIP guests, advising on formal clothing, international etiquette, wine tasting, floral arrangements, and more.
On the third week, the butlers-in-training shadowed The Savoy’s own world-renowned butlers as they carried out their duties, giving them exposure to real-life experiences.
“Training professionals for the Hospitality Industry is something for which we have many years of experience and relevant expertise at London School of Hospitality and Tourism,” said Patricia Paskins, course leader for Diploma for Butlers at University of West London. “We are delighted to be involved in this butler training which, for the first time, has been for a prestigious airline.”
Head Butler Sean Davoren commented on the program saying, “The Savoy has long had an ethos of ‘personal service naturally’ and is the first hotel to establish its own school to train professionals. Our 24-hour Butler service here at The Savoy is designed to exceed all expectations, whether a guest needs to arrange dinner reservations, in-suite dining, secretarial services, personal shopping, theatre tickets, last-minute travel arrangements, or administrative support.”
After successful completion of the program and graduation in Abu Dhabi, the first Butler will start their service on the airline’s Airbus A380 flight to London Heathrow on December 27, 2014. A second group of Butler trainees will begin their Savoy Butler Academy experience in early 2015.