Butler has to ‘act blur’ sometimes
Dealing with unwanted advances and demanding guests comes with providing personalised services
He has been told he can fold lingerie better than most women.
In fact, garment folding is one of the services Mr Danny Wong - a senior butler at The St. Regis Singapore hotel - provides for guests.
He also offers personalised services such as cigar trimming, hotel room decorating and even bedtime storytelling.
But above all, Mr Wong, 29, is a friend to guests.
The 1.9m-tall butler said with a laugh: "I am the big friendly giant in St. Regis."
Over his five years as a butler, Mr Wong has fostered friendships with countless guests.
One was a Chinese tourist who stayed at the hotel four years ago.
The girl had left a note in her room inquiring about the hotel's ambience music.
Assuming an adult had written it, Mr Wong penned a reply, and the pair conversed via notes over the next three days.
He realised his "friend" was a child after the girl talked about sweets and stationery.
He sent confectionery to her room as a surprise but saw the girl, who looked to be about five, only when she was checking out of the hotel with her mother.
With a chuckle, he said: "I never approached her as I wanted to be like a secret pen pal."
When he was a teenager, Mr Wong's interest in the hospitality industry was sparked by the 2005 Hong Kong drama Revolving Doors Of Vengeance, which is about the hotel business.
He pursued a degree in hotel management from Australia's Griffith University, with plans to work for a hotel front desk, but he became a butler after his friend introduced him to the job.
Said Mr Wong: "I decided to give the job a try, and I fell in love with the interesting job scope."
He went through 1½ months of customer service training, where he learnt skills such as tray carrying and garment folding.
Mr Wong's favourite part of the job is interacting with guests, although he has encountered some who have made advances on him by being scantily dressed when he enters their room.
Said Mr Wong: "In those cases, we usually 'act blur' and leave the room."
He has also served demanding guests, such as one who was extremely picky about his room set-up, from the temperature to the number of fruits, doormats and hangers.
As challenging as it gets, Mr Wong always strives to fulfil every request.
He said: "I will do whatever I can, as I get a sense of satisfaction when guests thank me and remember my name."
Misconceptions of butlers among Singaporeans are common - he is often likened to a maid, Mr Wong added.
He is also frequently compared to Alfred Pennyworth, the butler in the Batman series.
Said Mr Wong with a laugh: "I do hope I can become as skilled as Alfred one day, who never gets rejected when he appears with a cup of tea."
Secrets of the trade
- Mouthwash and deodorant are essential in helping you stay fresh after a 12-hour shift. You do not have to look handsome or beautiful, but you should always look smart and approachable.
- Be prepared to get all kinds of questions about Singapore, including queries about the weather, food and even politics. When in doubt, Google is your best friend.
- Being attentive is key to anticipating what guests want. Read their body language to understand what they are feeling and what they need. For example, if they fidget and move around, it means they are busy and do not want to be disturbed.
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