|By Leon Stafford, The Atlanta
Journal-ConstitutionMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 3, 2008 - The Rosewood hotel in Buckhead is giving its guests the white-glove treatment.
When the hotel opened this week, it became the first lodger in Atlanta to offer butlers, and they'll sport tuxedoes and white gloves.
The Rosewood -- more formally known as The Mansion on Peachtree, a Rosewood Hotel & Residence -- hopes to take luxury to a new level in a market that has been dominated by the Four Seasons, the Ritz-Carlton and the InterContinental.
By offering butlers, a complimentary service to all guests, the hotel hopes to position itself to receive a prestigious five-star rating from Mobil Travel Guide or five diamonds from AAA. Getting a five-star or five-diamond designation can translate into higher room rates and entre into the exclusive ranks of the megaluxurious.
Butlers employed by Dallas-based Rosewood went through extensive training in March, including lessons with an instructor flown in from Australia. Josephine Ive, who puts butlers through their paces worldwide, taught the Rosewood staff skills ranging from setting a table to selecting a cigar. She took them to high-end shops like Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co., so they'd know the go-to salespeople -- whether a guest needs a pair of $300 Gucci sneakers or a $275,000, 18-karat gold Schlumberger brooch.
The butlers themselves are top-shelf. They are expected to be courteous, attentive, efficient, polished and impeccably groomed, among other qualities. Ive told them there was nothing wrong with taking a few minutes during their shift to touch up their appearance, including having their garments cleaned or pressed.
According to payscale.com, butlers in the United States, including those who work in private homes, can earn up to $80,000 a year, depending on experience and where they work.
And if you think it's easy money, consider some things they have to remember:
--Don't be "be-trayed": If you have a tray with handles, carry it by its handles. If it doesn't, carry it with your hand placed flat underneath. And the elbow is always at your waistline to avoid hand strain.
--Salt of the Earth: In a place setting, salt goes on the right, pepper on the left. People were once paid in salt, which is considered good; in fact, the word salary is derived from it. Pepper, which can be used as a weapon, is placed on the left, which in many societies is considered bad.
--No, you really are important: Shhhh, I'm not supposed to tell, but the term "starvation alley" refers to the last couple of guests served. Even when you sit at the big table, there is a hierarcy.
--Every inch counts: Get out your measuring stick. When setting a table, the finest butlers will measure to make sure each plate is exactly the same distance from the table's edge, usually an inch.
--Thank you, y'all come back now: A nice note to a guest can almost make spending at least $450 to $3,000 a night and up worthwhile. A kind word for a birthday, anniversary or a good-bye should be brief and have a personal touch. No form-letter writers need apply here.
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