MS. BEHAVING wishes she could have a butler always at her beck and call, but understands that this delight can be confusing. To wit:
A READER WRITES: On our next Atlantic crossing, we’ll be upgraded to a penthouse suite, complete with private butler. We don't exactly know what to do with him. Help!
MS. BEHAVING REPLIES: Lucky you! On the sea – and in elegant hotels worldwide – a butler is a fine perk, indeed. Ms. Behaving knows that a butler is more than a steward/bellhop with white gloves, but someone who has been trained in service to make your trip enjoyable. What to do? Let him serve: use your butler to make dining and spa reservations, get those extra pillows, make sure your clothes are pressed/mended, shoes shined, bandaids found if you have a boo-boo. If you desire your favorite cocktail at the same time every day, ask and it shall be delivered. And if you wish to throw a small drinks/canapes party in your penthouse for new shipboard friends, leave all arrangements to him. You get the idea.
A READER WRITES: We often stay in top hotels – the Ritz in Madrid, Le Meurice in Paris, Park Hyatt in Tokyo, etc. Upon arrival, someone opens the door to our car, another takes the bags, another brings us to our room, another delivers the bags … and we still don’t know who to tip!
MS. BEHAVING REPLIES: First off, Ms. Behaving salutes you for letting all these dedicated people do their jobs! Let her take you off the hook. When you arrive, say “thank you” to everyone who does things for you and don’t fumble for change. During your stay, tip the gentleman at the curb whenever he gets you a taxi and when you check out. Tip the luggage people when they deliver packages to your room. At check-out, give the concierge a note (with some cash) saying “Thank you to your team.” Yes, the concierge is the one who oversees all these people, and will pass on your gratitude to them in the tip pool. Enjoy the luxe!
WHAT’S YOUR QUANDARY?
Have questions about etiquette, local or global travel customs or awkward moments on the road? Fear not! Ms. Behaving is ready to answer. Send your queries (putting "Ms. Behaving" in the subject line) .
Photo above: Ms. Behaving at Royal Ascot.