Translated from German, Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the moment", and is the key principle underpinning AYANA's service philosophy. Here, we share our inside tips and favorite haunts to help you experience the AYANA Zeitgeist.
“When you say the word ‘Butler’, most people think of an old English man from a movie. And that’s the way it used to be. Now it’s more modern – they don’t carry around a silver tray, they help you book flights instead.” This was the opening to the Well-Placed Insider’s interview with Mr. Robert Watson from The Guild of Professional English Butlers.
It all started back in the 1960′s; hospitality was a growing and highly-demanding market. Manual keys were still in use, and the guests had to give it to the receptionist to prevent losing the key when they were out of the hotel. Back then, the role of a receptionist was very important in the hotel business. They’re the ones making that special connection with the guests… not just to hold on the guest’s keys, but they were also responsible for arranging dining reservations, reporting problems, and even for basic housekeeping matters.
Then came the mid 80′s, technology was booming and the electronic key was invented. As a result, the guests no longer had a reason to go to reception to communicate as much anymore. Inevitably, the relationship between the guests and the receptionists decreased. Then the era of pagers came, and the system where the guests could directly page the manager was implemented, and that is when the birth of the Butler service took place.
“We started to train small group of people to take care of guests at the biggest suite. They don’t pay a fortune just to get the suite just to get the same services as other guests in smaller room categories,” said Mr. Watson. This concept is applied to AYANA Resort and Spa Bali, where the guests at The Villas at AYANA Resort can enjoy they very own personalized Butler service 24-hour on-call, as “Personalized service is what makes people feel like they’re home,” he reminded.
Mr. Watson has been in the hotel industry for 52 years, has been setting the benchmark for the Butler service. “I started in London in 1990, we were the first hotel who had Butler service. I was a Butler Manager for seven years. There, I looked after three American presidents, Michael Jackson, Madonna Mariah Carey, Bruce Willis… oh, Lady Diana and Price Charles as well.”
While I was still in a state of awe, he continued his story, “If I don’t come to Bali once a year, I feel like there’s something missing in my heart. This island has something that other’s don’t, it is the Balinese people who are naturally caring, warm and smiling all the time – that, you don’t find anywhere. It’s not just about serving and saying thank you, your heart has to be in it. In Bali, you can feel that their service is from the heart. And I believe, the Butlers at The Villas at AYANA Resort don’t just care for you, they care about you.” From then I knew that Bali lingers in his heart.
He then sips his coffee and tried to find something in his phone. He showed me some pictures of smiling faces from our Butler at The Villas at AYANA Resort. I was so surprised knowing that the training could be that fun! As Mr. Watson said, “I think when people are laughing, then they are learning.”
And that is when I knew that I learned some valuable lessons today.