The Modern Butler
A chat with the head butler at Utah’s St. Regis Deer Valley Resort
Things we knew about Alexander Mattinson before meeting him: Born in England, he worked at Buckingham Palace for more than a decade before moving to his wife’s hometown, Park City, Utah. He’s now the head butler for the St. Regis Deer Valley, as well as the hotel brand’s lead butler for the Americas. Things we didn’t know: This 21st-century butler can not only pack a perfect suitcase and secure last-minute dinner reservations at the hottest tables in town, he can also crack a good joke and charm even the toughest customer, all with one hand tucked neatly behind his back.
ML: What services do St. Regis butlers offer?
Alexander Mattinson: Our services are based on what a butler would have originally done for a house. He wouldn’t actually do all the work, but he would organize all the tasks. Guests give me their requests and I find the right people to do the job. There are five standard signature services provided for suite guests at all St. Regis properties: packing and unpacking; tea and coffee service; and a pressing of two garments per person. There’s also an e-butler system, so you can just shoot a quick email off saying, “I’m skiing back in now, can I get some hot chocolate in my room?” All guests also have access to the butler service desk.
ML: Do you provide personalized services too?
AM: We have a system within the hotel that allows us to build a profile on every guest. We can then surprise them more easily with, for example, a special birthday cake on their birthday. It allows us to craft different experiences for each guest.
ML: Is today’s butler still starched and stiff?
AM: TV and movies have portrayed butlers in such a specific way, and history has shown that a butler should be withdrawn. So we try to put guests at ease. We greet each guest at the front desk and walk them through the hotel to their suite, so we get to build a conversation and show that we’re not stuffy. I like to crack a joke once in a while, to break the ice and find something in common with them. Before you know it, conversation is flowing and you’ve become a part of the family.
WE WERE WONDERING...
IS IT BUTLERING OR BUTLING?
“I am a butler. I butle for a guest. Butling is what I do. And as far as I know, a guest is not a butlee.” And should we really call a butler by his last name? Alexander, but Alex is just fine.”
MOST UNUSUAL REQUEST
“At our sister property in Aspen, a woman left her shoes at the hotel and didn’t want them FedExed to her; she wanted them personally delivered. So we put them on a plane with somebody and flew them back to her.”
“There’s a lot of tissue paper involved. I put tissue paper in between clothing like I’m layering a lasagna. It absorbs creases and if anything is damp, it won’t bleed onto other items. It looks nice as well. It gives it that je ne sais quoi.”
“Butling is changing with technology. I find that text messaging guests is a great thing. I’ll give them my phone number and tell them they can text me, so it’s just one point person dealing with all of their requests during their stay.”