Efficiently packing, travelling light, Butler as a profession and more – We speak to the head butler of the St. Regis New York

A recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award, The St. Regis New York is located in what can be considered one of the best spots in the city. Smack in the heart of midtown Manhattan overlooking the world famous Fifth Avenue and steps away from Central Park, this premier hotel holds a rich heritage infused with a modern charm. Since its inception more than a century ago, St. Regis continues to deliver personalized service and refined elegance up to the highest standards. Cherished traditions such as fresh flowers, afternoon tea and midnight supper are carried out as flawlessly today as they were over a century ago.

One such signature experience is the St. Regis Butler Service and they remain the only luxury hospitality brand to offer this personalized service at every one of their hotels around the world. No request is too small or unattainable no matter the hour of the day whether it’s finding you tickets to your favorite movie show, preparing your luggage or finding you a last minute gift for your loved one. The St. Regis butler was born out of a mandate to fulfill every guest’s desire with personalized attention.

SR New York Head Butler Veronica Arizabaleta.
We caught up with Veronica Arizabaleta, Head Butler at The St. Regis New York. She has some great tips to share on how and what to pack. Like for example did you know that pants should be laid flat over the edge of the suitcase and packed first? Or if you’re a businessman I’m sure you would love to know how to pack light with only one check in bag. Here are Ms. Arizabaleta’s tips on how to pack efficiently.

Luxurylaunches – Can you give us some tips on how to make the best use of space when packing?

There are various tricks that the butler team uses to pack a guest to make use of all the space possible.

To save space, pants should be packed first. Lay the pants flat without folding them so that the end of the pants extends over the edge of the suitcase. Once you have finished with the pants, shirts can then be laid flat on top before the legs of the pants fold over. Once folded, the suitcase is ready to be closed. The essential part of this technique is to lay everything flat; this will make the best use of all the space. This also prevents the clothes from wrinkling.

Some butlers also use the rolling technique. This consists of rolling all clothes into small rolls. This specially works well for shirts and pants. In the case of jackets and sweaters, the laying technique is a much better use of space.

LL) What are the absolute must haves/essentials when packing for kids at the end of a trip ?

When packing for kids, you will find many miscellaneous items, dirty clothes, small toys… etc. One of the recommendations we have for our butler team is to always have plastic bags on hand to place all the dirty clothes together so they are not packed with the clean clothes. Same applies for toys. When packing for kids, the most important thing is to separate everything by “groups”. Space is usually not a problem with kids packing; it is more the classification and the organization of the suitcase so that parents are able to find everything in an efficient manner without getting frustrated.

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We also encourage butlers to place a teddy bear inside the kids luggage, so when they open the luggage they will be pleasantly surprised and they can remember their St.Regis experience for ever.

LL) Is there a technique to pack or fold my clothes so that they stay wrinkle free?

Laying all clothes flat in the suitcase without folding the arms or the legs works the best for a wrinkle free suitcase. Our butler team also uses tissue paper to prevent clothes from wrinkling. If you place tissue paper in between the creases where the clothes are being folded, the crease will not “take” and it will decrease its chances of wrinkling.

LL) Any suggestions on how to pack eatables, baby food, creams & liquids, etc.?

When it comes to packing eatables, baby food, creams and liquids they should always be packed in a plastic bag. If the cream comes in a glass bottles, this should be wrapped with bubble wrap or with enough layers that it will not touch any other hard object. Another technique for packing liquids and creams is to open the top/lid of the container and place a piece of plastic on the opening of the container and then screw the lid back on. This will prevent the bottle from exploding when flying. Butlers are provided with St.Regis plastic squares so they can do this.

LL) I am a business man. How do I pack light and travel with only one check in bag?

Most people over pack. If you take a look at what you actually use from the clothes you travelled with, most guests will notice that they only use 1/3. The best way to not over pack is to plan your outfits day by day. Also, picking clothes that are easy to match will allow you to have less baggage as well as a more efficient way to get ready; you won’t spend hours looking through your luggage and thinking of what to wear. Most importantly, the shoes you carry are what will take up most of the space. Only allow yourself to carry one shoe of each type. If you are coming for business, you should only be carrying two pairs of shoes with you. One pair of casual shoes, which could be the ones you wear while traveling and one pair of dress shoes. Keeping this is mind, you should be able to carry only a carry on. Also, remember that hotels can provide the guest with most essentials, such as shaving cream, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, shampoo and more. Eliminating these items will save space.

Our concierge team can also assist the guest with the purchasing of clothing or any items required for the trip. Personal shoppers are also something we can arrange.

LL) What was the oddest request you have been asked by a guest?

One of the oddest packing requests that we received from a guest was to pack everything separated by brand and style. For example, all Hermes long sleeves had to be stacked together. All undershirts had to be together and color coordinated. Socks and underwear had to be color coordinated and arranged by size and style as well. The guest wanted for the heavier things (coats, jeans, sweaters) to be on top so that it would weigh everything down. The packing took 3 hours for a total of 2 bags.

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LL) What is the most enjoyable thing about this job and what is the least, if there is any?

The most enjoyable part of this job is the interaction with the guest – the ability that we have as butlers to begin a work relationship with all guests on our floor and the freedom that we have to make our guest feel special and be able to pamper them as much as we want. We have the power of creating life-lasting experiences. There are people that have been longing to stay with us for years, and we have the ability to make this one of their most memorable stays.

The least enjoyable part is when in spite of all our efforts something goes wrong and therefore the guest experience is not up to our standards.

LL) If I were contemplating this profession what advice would you give me?

Genuine and humble servicing of others is what you need to “have” to be able to become a great butler. Take your time and really learn to care for every guest you meet. Get to know them and ask them the reason for their travels. Learn their likes and dislikes. Building a relationship with your guest will allow you to genuinely care for them and will keep you motivated throughout your day. On their next visit you will look forward to seeing them again, as well as they will be looking forward to seeing you.

LL) What has been the most memorable event of your role as a St. Regis butler so far?

Choosing only one event will not do my experience as a butler justice. The pride that the butler team holds is incredible. The image we carry as a team and the elegance we portray is unique. The care for the guest and our work is genuine. Working with a team that prides itself in providing and being the best in the industry is truly and amazing experience to live. The integrity that the butler team holds since it was first introduced to the St. Regis New York in 1904 still exists. The elegance and what it represents has made history.

LL) What do you deem the most important skills of a butler?

The most important skill as a butler is the ability to read/interpret a guest’s mood. As a butler you are placed in situations to where you have to know how to react. Sometimes the guest might be busy, annoyed, sad, in a hurry… etc. The butler has to be able to decipher these feelings and know how to calm the guest or when to leave the room. Inter-personal skills are very important and are a key to how well you do as a butler. Managing your time is also very important for this role. Taking care of a whole floor is not an easy task. Learning how to organize your time and prioritize is essential.

Where : St. Regis Hotel
2 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022, United States
Phone: +1 212-753-4500

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