The first time most families are given the opportunity to vacation with their own butler, most think, “What am I going to do with a butler?” After all, they’re often used to being pretty self-sufficient, running their own households. Some might be uncomfortable being “served” or making requests. Some might feel squeamish about the colonial term itself – which is why some may call them personal assistants and Palladium Hotels & Resorts calls them Family Hosts.
However, these highly personalized service experiences are one of those things that once you’ve tried it, you’ll never want to go back. Many will suggest services they can provide for you as you go along, but the benefits can extend far beyond ad hoc, impromptu small favors if you come in prepared for the amount of support offered by these well trained, often exceptional staff members who have worked their ways up to the premium service level.
As we continue to Ask a Pro, this time, we spoke with the manager of the Family Selection at Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa, Javier P. Ruiz Garcia to get his best tips on how to utilize, enjoy, and get spoiled with a Family Host at your beck and call, resulting in the best vacation of your entire life.
Family Host vs. Butler: What’s the Difference?
“A Family Host acts as a luxury butler for the family, but with a special emphasis on catering to the children,” Ruiz Garcia shares. “This can mean offering extended services and babysitting for $20 an hour per child, upon request, having more in-depth knowledge of family amenities such as the Xbox Room by the Sports Bar, and the teens and kids clubs.”
At most resorts that offer butler services, a private, individualized, sometimes even in-room check-in can be available. Ruiz Garcia shares, “At Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa, we have an exclusive Family Selection lobby for those guests,” which offers a streamlined, personalized welcome and a chance to get acquainted with their Family Host. This person will be the one who will give you the ins and outs of your new home for the next several days, and help you get comfortable in your new digs. A little-known fact is that this can also include unpacking so you can skip right to the good part. Just let them know you’re fine with them handling the contents of your luggage – they do need your permission to provide this service, but just know it’s openly offered upon request.
Don’t leave dinner up to chance. And don’t worry about how many à la carte dinners you’re entitled to, what time the reservation desk opens, or even going down to sign up. Your Family Host can do it all for you. “Our Family Host will consult with the family on their arrival day to make dining reservations per the family’s request,” Ruiz Garcia tells us. By proactively offering these services, it helps get the ball rolling for future asks, getting the family comfortable with their new ally on the ground and breaking the ice with something simple.
For families, just as important as getting meal plans in place is getting your activities schedule set up. Ruiz Garcia strongly recommends talking to your Family Host to get a full scope of what’s available, then taking them up on their offer to get those activities on your family’s calendar “They can make reservations for cooking classes, art activities, and pottery classes with our People of Palladium activities team,” he says. “The Family Host can advise of available hours for kids clubs and help you design a daily activities itinerary.” Plus, they can keep you informed about the daily POP entertainment team performances and games that take place on the beach and in the resort, and help you prioritize which events you want to make time for.
Prefer to keep it loose? Believe it or not, butler service can be clutch for that style of family vacation, too. “We have sunscreen, towels, and pool toys available in the exclusive Family Selection pool and beach areas,” Ruiz Garcia advisees, “But having a Family Host means you’re also eligible for pool and beach service, as they can provide drinks and snacks as you have fun in the sun!” That means instead of relying on roving staff, you can simply pre-request that a spot be made ready for you with any available amenities you ask for, from water to an already scheduled poolside taco break.
You can’t possibly be expected to know about all the added values that a resort is prepared to provide at no extra cost. That’s where a Family Host can come in handy. Ruiz Garcia says, “Not only do we have games and activities in the kids clubs,” part and parcel for most nice family resorts, “we also provide a welcome kit for the little ones, with three to choose from.”
Other perks that are specific to the Palladium Hotel Group properties include bubble bath prep, complete with toys; milk and cookies service before bedtime; on-demand video games in the room; and minibar personalization for the mini ones.
But, he confides, that’s just the start. “We have created special in-room experiences, decorating rooms with themes like dinosaurs, Spiderman, our Raggs characters, and more. We’ve done special breakfasts with Raggs right in the room. And we’ve even put together great birthday celebrations!”
Let Your Family Host Be Your Vacation Guide
The best way to make sure you get the most of your butler-level booking is to simply not be shy. Ask for suggestions and know that they’re eager to share their knowledge of the resort’s special features with you. They want your experience to be memorable and to show off their customer service skills. Your positive feedback, as a guest, helps them stand out at work and helps their career and visibility, so let them wow you!
We all know how important it is to Plan with a Pro when it comes to travel. After all, Travel Advisors Get You There. But equally important is making sure advisor pros are supported and surrounded by pros themselves, particularly when it comes to topics peripheral to travel. That’s where TravelBlogue comes in as we Ask a Pro on your behalf to provide you with tips and advice from fitness, health, nutrition, mental health, beauty, wellness, and travel gear experts from around the world … and put it all at advisor fingertips.