Macau’s priciest boutique casino is sending its staff to Paris for butler training.
The Louis XIII boutique casino hotel isn’t slated to open until July 1, 2016 – or “mid-2016” according to recent filings – but its owners are taking steps to ensure that none of its very-VIP customers run the risk of getting slack service from frontline staff.
This week, Louis XIII Holdings announced that it had arranged a “specialized training session” for the casino’s would-be butlers with MCM Palace Consultants in Paris. A selection of Macau staffers were put through their paces by the MCM team, learning the finer points of service, etiquette and entertaining. The trainees will receive additional instruction from the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
Louis XIII plans to cater to only the ritziest of high-rollers, with a top hotel room rate of $130k per night and jewelry shops where the cheapest trinket will set you back a cool $1m. A year ago, the property ordered $20m worth of pimped out Rolls Royce Phantoms to ensure its guests’ luxury experience starts the minute they get off their private jet.
Stephen Hung, Hong Kong investment banker and chairman of Louis XIII Holdings, said the property was “going to exceptional lengths” to ensure staff have what it takes when the world’s one-percenters check in. Hung said the butler training was “an essential and integral part of creating, from Macau, one of the world’s leading luxury brands.”
WESTERN ETIQUETTE THE NEW CHINESE STATUS SYMBOL
Hung may be on to something. China’s über-rich have reportedly been flocking to modern-day versions of English finishing schools to acquire the latest Chinese status symbol: western etiquette. In February, an operator of one of the etiquette academies told the BBC that owning a big car was no longer sufficient to declare one’s status and China’s rich are “looking for something else to make the difference.”
The growing number of Chinese tourists travelling outside the country has exposed a propensity to engage in what even Beijing publicly referred to as “uncivilized behavior.” China’s Vice-Premier Wang Yang put a finer point on things, saying Chinese tourists talk too loudly and “spit anywhere.”
The country’s upper class is taking pains to avoid being lumped in with these uncouth masses. The etiquette schools are reportedly popular with international travelers, government officials, and high society wives anxious to avoid a scene when hosting important guests. One woman in Shanghai expressed pride that now, when she visits nice restaurants in Milan, her husband no longer holds his dinner knife “like a dagger.”