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A Hotel Head Butler's Day

Lanesborough Hotel head butler job duties.

Photo: Philip Hollis

9 A.M.

“I’m craving another coffee,” he says, “but I’ve downed two in the last three hours.” Jordaan texts all butlers on their BlackBerrys—it’s time for the morning’s briefing and a crash course in international greetings. “I’m obsessive about making guests feel welcome in their native tongue,” he says, noting that all butlers are taught to say “hello” and “thank you” in most languages, and they tend to speak three. They can also hand-sew missing buttons, troubleshoot iPhones, and cater to your mood—good or bad.

9:30 A.M.

“I have to send a porter out,” Jordaan says. “A pop star has asked for some black Egyptian-cotton towels and 15 fig-scented candles from Jo Malone.” Another request? To arrange an impromptu en suite birthday party that afternoon with cupcakes, decorations, and gifts for the six-year-old daughter of another guest. “Thank goodness for Harrods.”

10:30 A.M.

A woman calls the hotel very concerned, because her boss isn’t answering his phone. Jordaan checks on him and finds he’s merely sleeping off a very eventful night. To rouse him, he sprinkles some water on his face and ensures the CEO is off to the airport.

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