When I checked into The St. Regis, I was skeptical that a butler could make my stay exceptional, but I was wrong.
Our butler, Adalberto Macedo, was waiting to greet Mahir and I as soon as we stepped off the elevator on the 12th floor, where our room was. “Good afternoon,” he said, nodding.
After leading us to our temporary abode and showing us its various features like the touch button lighting, Mr. Macedo asked if he could unpack our bags. The idea of a stranger handling my personal belongings had me more than little uncomfortable, but Ms. McCarthy, the Cornell lecturer, had told me that butlers take pride in the task of unpacking and packing. So I obliged but asked if he could do so when we planned on stepping out later that afternoon.
We could reach Mr. Macedo or another butler on duty by pushing the “Butler” button on our room’s phone, and when we weren’t at the hotel, we could email our requests. Mr. Macedo told us that we would get an almost instant response.
As soon as he left, Mahir and I started with our requests. I called to ask for a standing fan, and Adalberto delivered one within five minutes. Shortly after, Mahir asked for a coffee. It, too, appeared promptly, in a French press and piping hot. The shirt Mahir needed ironed? A professional dry cleaner couldn’t have done a better job, and Mr. Macedo certainly made sure it was finished faster. A shoe shine? But of course. The dental kit I wanted because I had forgotten my toothbrush? He brought me two kits, along with a half-dozen mini bottles of mouthwash.
Now would come the true test for me: when we left the property for an excursion out, I sent an email asking for two gluten-free red velvet cupcakes. Surely, our butler, who at that point was Dafa Lascu (Mr. Macedo’s shift had ended), wouldn’t be able to procure this hard to find treat. She emailed me back within three minutes to say that she was working on my request. A half-hour later, she called and told me that she hadn’t found the cupcakes at any bakeries near the hotel but would be happy to search for them downtown. But she also forewarned me that the courier fee to have them delivered to the property would likely be pricey. I wasn’t that desperate for a sugar fix so I told her not to bother.
Back at the hotel, we found our clothes and shoes immaculately organized in our closet and our toiletries spread out on the bathroom counter. Then it was time for another round of requests. I had a tear in my shirt that I needed sewn, and Mahir wanted a resistance band and exercise mat in our room. Oh, and could we get suggestions for buzzy gluten-free restaurants to dine at that evening? Check, check and check.