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25 Nov 2014 | By Sun International

Top Honours at the South African Butler Academy

The word “butler” corresponds to an Old French term meaning “officer in charge of the king’s wine bottles”. Today the word is not usually associated with royal liquor but the luxurious connotations still remain.

Butlers, if expertly trained, can transform a hotel experience from run-of-the-mill to out of this world. As it happens, the Royal Livingstone Hotel on the banks of the Zambezi is obsessed with all things out of this world. So it was only natural that the staff underwent butler training with the highly-coveted South African Butler Academy.

Did you know? The widely popular period drama, Downton Abbey has inspired a sharp increase in the demand for trained butlers.  When you think of a butler, no doubt you think of an elderly man with a Michael Caine accent named Geoffrey who somehow knows exactly what to do and when. The South African Butler Academy takes a more structured approach and offers training in the following competencies:

  • Culinary Training
  • Master Valet
  • High Tech and Chauffeur
  • Au Pair Skills
  • (Our personal favourite) Attention to Detail
  • Wine Service
  • And the intriguingly titled World of Travel to name only a few…

Now anyone who has had the pleasure of interacting with the staff at the Royal Livingstone might be tempted to argue that there’s no point in fixing something that isn’t broken. But here’s the thing: even the best can get better!

Tip: Keen for some insider knowledge? Check out the butler’s tips for getting organised by clicking here.

Not only great for the guests of the Royal Livingstone, importantly, the training also empowers the staff and emboldens them with a fresh sense of confidence. I mean, nothing says “I’m moving up in the world” like a shiny trophy and world-renowned certificate. Click here to see the biggest smile from a recent Academy graduate.

The South African Butler Academy is special in that it focuses on role play combined with theoretical training. This means that by the time the Royal Livingstone butlers have served their first dinner at the hotel, they already have hours of training behind them. So you can finally settle the age-old argument of which fork goes where!

Despite traditionally being behind the scenes, fictional butlers have memorably appeared in several books and films. Check out this list of fictional butlers and test your memory.

Tell us: If you had a personal butler, what is the first thing that you would request?