The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, May 2014

  BlueLogo2011web The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012

The Modern Butlers’ Journal volume 10, issue 5

International Institute of Modern Butlers

IIMB Chairman Steven Ferry The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012 Message from the Chairman 

The glass ceiling at the Bellagio reception area in Las Vegas
The glass ceiling at the Bellagio reception area in Las Vegas 

Las Vegas is one of the two hotspots for tourists in the United States this year. Quite a few of their hotels offer butler service, continuing a tradition that has held for three decades now.

By observation, the services being offered by butlers in this colorful city are fairly traditional and limited, which is peculiar for a city that was the first in the US to offer butler service in hotels, and which works so hard to attract the attention of, and entice, their high-end guests.

We spent time there recently, starting to move things in the right direction—though not at the Bellagio—we just happened to visit and were enthralled by their fanciful flower garden, as well as the glass flower sculptures  on the ceiling of their lobby.




Butlers in the Media

Keeping the profession in the public eye, Andrew Lowrey of Precise Home Management has an article written about him, as does Sean Davoren.

More on digital butlers and Beverage Butlers (a new one!).
Another article by the Chairman has been published on new trends at luxury hotels that complements another article with the same theme. And finally, for some humour, an article on the more extreme challenges concierges (and thus butlers) can face in some hotels.

Baron Shortt

Executive Protection & Security

by Baron James Shortt, Executive Director of the IBA

Bodyguard No-No’s

Sometimes bodyguards are arrested because they fail to follow the law. Examples from one single year include:


  • Patrick Burke, bodyguard to Michael Moore, was arrested in New York for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit for New York (while being licensed in Florida and California. This whole episode was particularly ironic, given Michael Moore’s public antigun stance.
  •  The bodyguard of Michaele Salahi and Neal Schon was arrested at La Guardia Airport for having a weapon in a bag—he had a concealed weapon permit, but it did not allow him to carry a concealed weapon at an airport.
  • Kenneth Hamilton was arrested in New York for shoving a paparazzo up against a car to protect Justin Bieber.
  • Pat McCollum, the bodyguard to comedian Ron White, was arrested in Hartford, Connecticut after a police officer entered Ron White’s bus unannounced. The bodyguard and police officer entered into an argument and the bodyguard was arrested for interfering with an officer.
  • 50 Cents’ bodyguard got into a fight with a paparazzo outside 50 Hotel in Copenhagen during which he smashed the man’s cameras and following which he was hauled off to jail.
  • Indian police took three of Oprah Winfrey’s bodyguards into custody after they got into a scrap with local TV journalists. Winfrey had been traveling with both American and Indian bodyguards. Police detained three Indian bodyguards after journalists claimed their equipment had been damaged in the scuffle. The Indian bodyguards were released after apologizing to the journalists.
  • Heidi Klum’s bodyguard was pulled over and cited after a California Highway Patrol officer noticed him texting while driving.

Some bodyguards  in other countries went one step further:

  • Members of the Panamanian Presidential Security Service were arrested for their part in a plot to kidnap the president they were meant to protect.
  • The bodyguard for a Pakistani Governor that he was mean to protect, was arrested for killing him.
  • The bodyguards of Iraq’s Finance Minister were arrested for engaging in terrorist attacks.
  • A bodyguard for the President of Benin was arrested for his alleged role in an attempt to poison the Head of State.
  • On a different note, a former Ukrainian presidential bodyguard was arrested on charges of divulging state secrets and abuse of office—he had moved to New York, where he spoke of his former employer plotting to murder an investigative reporter ten years before—and was arrested when he returned to Ukraine.

Mickey Brett, while acting as bodyguard for a string of celebrities, has variously run into trouble for assaulting a restaurant owner in Namibia, being suspected of murdering a Donald Urquhart, issuing racial slurs at a children’s school in India, choking a photographer around the neck, and most recently, for intending to expose privileged information about two of his former employers in a tell-all book. All these stories are the consequences of the three errors made by greymen taken to extremes:

  • Carrying weapons into places with which they are unfamiliar. The laws on carrying fire arms vary from country to country, state to state, city to city, and even place to place within each city. It may legal in that specific country and in that state and in that city, but just not at the airport. This is why you need local, skilled and licensed talent. Also note that in the above incidents, none of those being protected were booked and hauled off to jail, only their bodyguards.
  • The mere fact of hiring someone does not mean they are loyal to you. The greymen are there to protect the client and the client needs to hire skilled and trained professionals and to pay enough to insure loyalty. There must be a bond of fidelity. If turned against you, greymen have some of the most intimate knowledge that can compromise your reputation and safety.
  • Some people are too stupid and self absorbed to be greymen. One is part of a team to protect one’s charges and that team includes the charges, their family, and staff.

Amer1x1inch The Modern Butlers’ Journal for Service Professionals Worldwide, July, 2012 Let’s Talk about Spirits, Part 3 

by Amer Vargas 

Cognac, Part 2

Brandy is made in many different parts of the world and sometimes the ingredients vary so as to produce particular brands.

Arguably, the most famous brandy in the world is Cognac. So famous is this drink from the French western region with the same name, that brandies from other parts of the world very often are broadly referred to as Cognac. What makes Cognac extra special is not only the land where the best grapes are cultivated for an excellent wine, but also discarding the ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ (meaning the first and last liters of drink of the distillation) and thorough and careful aging.

Armagnac prides itself in being the oldest brandy in France. It is produced by the distillation of dry white wine in the Armagnac region in the Southwest of France.

In Spain, Jerez de la Frontera produces an excellent brandy called Jerez, whilst in the Penedes region in Catalonia, in the north-east of Spain, the drink is simply called “Brandy from Penedés.” These regions differ in the way they distill the wine, but they use the same soleras and criaderas system, wherein brandy is changed from wooden casks to other wooden casks, all of them having previously been used to age wine from Jerez, which imparts a distinctive taste. Torres, Domecq and González Byass are some of the most reputable brandies from Spain.

Although not so famous for its brandy, California also produces really exquisite brandies following the soleras and criaderas systems from Spain. These brandies are made out of young, very fruity wines. Clearer than its European counterparts, this brandy is marketed as a modern drink, as opposed to the old brandies from the old continent.

7 stars Metaxa, photo by Beemwej
7 stars Metaxa, photo by Beemwej


In Greece, Metaxa is an aromatized and quite sweet brandy that was first produced at the end of the 19th century. There are many such varieties of aromatized brandy that generally indicate the length of aging in the form of stars in the label, every star standing for one year.

Mendis Coconut Brandy, photo by Lana Jane Beck
Mendis Coconut Brandy, photo by Lana Jane Beck


Brandy fruits can be made out of practically any fruit, but are generally produced out of apricot, cherry, blackcurrant or apple. These are typically sweeter than other brandies and obtain their alcohol from two possible sources: the distillation of wine (as with other brandies) or  the fermentation of the fruit.

Whichever your choose, dryer or sweeter, sip your glass and enjoy!

Mr. Vargas can be contacted via AmerVargas at

 Of Butlers and Roses

Introduction to the Series, (Part 1 of 20)

by GJ dePillis

Graham Thomas Yellow Roses, photo by David Austin
Graham Thomas Yellow Roses, photo by David Austin

A butler’s primary mission is to manage the skill sets of others to present effectively a delightful home to the owner of the estate. This generally involves employing teams of gardeners for maintenance of the grounds.

Some gardeners are known as “mow and blow” artists, and such types have not been unknown to use a chain saw to trim bushes…even rose bushes.

The upcoming series of articles is designed to arm butlers with the correct methods of tending to roses in particular (this subject alone requires lengthy discussion, so we will not dilute attention by considering the wealth of other flora that grace gardens around the world), so that they may educate the gardeners they employ, with the goal of maximizing the quantity and quality of blooms at the right season so the estate owners and their guests feel the grounds are not only manicured, but also magically lush.

The many different types of roses call for different pruning techniques—a butler does not need to know these all in detail, but would be well equipped knowing enough to analyze if the employer’s rose bushes are being tended to properly. It will not harm him or her, either, to have knowledge of basic ornamental gardening techniques, as it will enhance credibility with gardening staff.

Whether you wish to landscape anew, or have discovered while observing your employer’s property that some of the plants are very woody, not producing lush blooms and so needing to be replaced, then knowledge of how to plant roses would be the first order of the day and a good place to start this series. Tune in next month to learn about that.

Ms. dePillis is a freelance contributor to the Journal who is based on the West Coast of the United States. She can be reached via depillis at

Jeff Herman Consulting the Silver Expert

 by Jeffrey Herman

Q. How should I ship flatware in a chest?

A.  When shipping flatware in a fitted chest, wrap the pieces individually in tissue paper so that they don’t scratch each other during transport.

Take two sheets of tissue paper and place a piece of flatware on the end closest to you. Roll the piece in the tissue paper until it is fully covered, and then place the next piece against the first and roll again until the second piece is covered. Continue in this fashion until you have reached the end of the tissue paper, and then continue with additional paper until all the flatware is wrapped.

If you have any carving knives or forks, use some additional tissue paper to wrap their sharp tips.

After placing the flatware back in the chest, fill any voids with additional paper to prevent movement of the pieces during shipping.

If some pieces won’t fit without straining the hinges of the chest, wrap them with additional padding and place them in a polyethylene bag (such as a Ziploc). If you will be storing the chest and its contents for more than two weeks, use acid-free tissue paper and place half a sheet of a 3M or Intercept Anti-Tarnish Strip in each bag. This should keep your flatware tarnish-free for over a year.

Resources: 3M Anti-Tarnish Strips and Intercept Anti-Tarnish Strips

Mr. Herman continues to offer his services to our readers, for any questions you may have about the care of silver. Either call him at (800) 339-0417 (USA) or email jeff at

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and skills of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resort,  spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts, & cruise ships around the world.