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The Savoy Welcomes First Etihad Airways Butlers For Savoy Academy Training

October 25, 2014 Hotel News No Comments Email Email

The Savoy, a Fairmont Managed Hotel, last week welcomed the first group of Etihad Airways’ unique in-flight Butler trainees for specialist training alongside head butler, Sean Davoren and his team.

The 13 men and women, all In-Flight Chefs or Food & Beverage Managers, were carefully chosen to fulfil the coveted role of Butler, which combines the skills of both Concierge and Maître d’hôtel to provide superior service to the discerning guests of The Residence by Etihad.  This revolutionary three-room cabin featuring a living room, private shower-room and double bedroom is being introduced on Etihad Airways’ fleet of 10 Airbus A380s, the first of which is due for delivery in December this year.

The group 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.  During their time within the school the Etihad trainee butlers covered a wide range of theoretical and practical butler related topics including, customer care for VIP guests, advising on formal clothing, international etiquette, wine tasting, floral arrangements and much more.  Their third week saw the Butler trainees shadow The Savoy’s own world- renowned butlers as they carried out their duties, allowing them unhindered access and exposure to their training.

Patricia Paskins, course leader for Diploma for Butlers at University of West London, said ‘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.  We are delighted to be involved in this butler training which for the first time has been for a prestigious airline.  The standards of excellence in service and the attention to detail required from a butler remain the same wherever it is carried out and this important addition to the ‘butler portfolio’ defines just how versatile this role can be’.

The Savoy has long had an ethos of ‘personal service naturally’, says head butler, Sean Davoren, ‘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.’ 

Kiaran MacDonald, Managing Director of The Savoy, comments, ‘The Savoy has built a 125- year long reputation on exceptional service, and the key to our success is the anticipation of guest needs. With ever-changing expectations, one of the most important skills a butler can have is a keen intuition. All of our Savoy butlers are particularly trained in the art of knowing when it is appropriate to extend the services of a more traditional butler versus acting as personal assistant to our guests.

Following successful completion of the program and graduation in Abu Dhabi, the first Butler will assume duty on the airline’s inaugural Airbus A380 flight to London Heathrow on 27 December.  A second group of Butler trainees will start their Savoy Butler Academy training in early 2015.


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