The Modern Butlers’ Journal, January 2019

Message from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Steven Ferry

What a year 2018 has been on the economic, political and social fronts! Hopefully, 2019 will see some peace and prosperity engineered, as generally speaking, people do better with both! All Institute trainers have been hard at work, creating little miracles (see «In Their Own Words» for a sampling, and we have made progress increating partnerships with educational institutions to train butlers…

Read more »

Butlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

In the last Journal, I referred to a butler in the Bahamas who had apparently misbehaved sexually with a guest. The story was far-fetched, but as it was claimed the butler had confessed to the police, it seemed an open-and-shut case. However, it transpired the butler was coerced to confess and since has come forward with a more plausible account of what…

Read more »

Letters to the Editor

“I wanted to also say your ongoing newsletters are not only most valuable but also that I anticipate their arrival.” SM

“I’m still loving the monthly newsletters.” RH

Ed: Thanks to both of you, and the many others who expressed similar sentiments toward the end of the year. For better or worse, we’ll keep producing the MBJs!

Read more »

Professional Standards of Performance, Applications #12: Commitment, or «Good Help is Hard to Find»

by Prof. Richard Ratliff

Scenario: Imagine a young person interviewing for a position, sitting slouched in a chair, looking down at his hands folded in his lap, appearing almost asleep. The employer asks, “Why do you want this position?” The dull bulb’s response: “I saw the ad and thought it sounded like an easy job, and I need the money. I need the money real bad. I saw a…

Read more »

The Wisdom of Butlers Past, Part 20: Packing Suitcases

by Steven Ferry

For years, the Institute has been training butlers on how to pack a suitcase, and in some cases, we have created our own techniques in order to achieve a specific goal in packing.

These techniques have been at variance with the ways other trainers suggest one pack a suitcase, and our problem…

Read more »

The Butlers Speak: Responsibility for Estate Maintenance

by Steven Ferry

The two responses received on this topic are probably more down to everyone being busy over the holiday season, than their not having anything to do with the maintaining of the estates they manage or work in. So the following is a snapshot, albeit a valuable and thorough one, rather than a survey of the industry, and our thanks go to the two butlers/HMs/EMs who answered the survey…

Read more »

Staff Training: Instructional Design, part II

by Frank Mitchell

There are several popular design models used to develop effective training. I like to recommend a simplification of the Gerlach-Ely design model, since it is suited to designers who have good content knowledge, but less experience in designing training. This certainly described me when I was in private service. This model solves the difficulty of knowing where to start by reversing…

Read more »

Let’s Talk Mixology, Part 40: the Bob Marley

by Amer A. Vargas

We open the new year rendering homage to another country I visited recently, yet another first-time visit for this writer. And on this occasion, we are talking about Jamaica, home to many, including the fastest athlete in the world, Usain Bolt, and to another one, who popularized Jamaica’s modern music, the reggae, across the rest of the world. An important milestone was achieved for this music…

Read more »

Consulting the Silver Expert: Is Your Silver Damaged or Respected? Part I

by Jeff Herman

I will be sharing, in the following several issues of the MBJ, the results of tests I have run in my workshop on products designed to remove tarnish. There are currently no silver polishes on the market that are non-abrasive, even though many proclaim to be. The basic message of this series? It is best to spend more time polishing with a mild polish than less time…

Read more »

In Their Words: How Those Trained by the Institute’s Trainers Feel about Their Experience

The following are just a few of the comments from trainees who participated in the different trainings performed in recent months by the International Institute of Modern Butlers, at the following properties: The Nautilus private island, and Milaidhoo in the Maldives, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo, Azul Sensatori Negril in Jamaica and Sheraton Maldives Full Moon & Spa

Read more »

Recent Hospitality Graduates

On this occasion, we welcome a number of groups of recently graduated butlers from different luxury hospitality venues in the Maldives and Jamaica, performed by different lead trainers: Mr, Steven Ferry, Chairman, Amer A. Vargas, President and Budi Prihardjanto, Vice President for Asia…

Read more »

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world. Contact us for all your training needs via email at or via telephone: USA 1-813- 354-2734. We invite you to also visit our website for more information.

Please email the editor of The Modern Butler’s Journal at with any article ideas, concerns, comments, or suggestions.


Por Amer A. Vargas

Amer A. Vargas graduated with a Tourism Degree specializing in hotel management from CETT (Center for Tourism Studies) in Barcelona and spent the following decade in the service industry. Beginning as a waiter and then supervisor in high-end restaurants, he was next made responsible for raising service standards through staff training programs. After receiving further training as a butler, he worked as a butler and valet in private service as well as hotels in England and Europe.

During this time period, he translated the best-selling industry texts Butlers & Household Managers, 21st Century Professionals and Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators into Spanish and is currently creating butler training materials in the Spanish language.

As the Director of Spanish-speaking Markets, Amer is responsible for making the technology of butling available in private residences and hotels in the Spanish-speaking countries of the world. He provides consultation, placement, and training services in these countries.