Taking domestic bliss to new heights at the St. Regis Deer Valley
Photography: Timothy Thimmes
When Alexander Mattinson worked at the Crown Equerry at Buckingham Palace, he says the staff was known to paint the grass green for Her Majesty’s arrival “if need be.” Today, as head butler at the St. Regis Deer Valley, the 36-year-old charmer is at your service.
Where did you grow up, and what did you do before joining St. Regis? I was born in Stourport-on-Severn, a little town in Worcestershire, UK. I left at 17 to join the Household Cavalry [an esteemed regiment of the British Army] and ended up in the senior regiment, where I went to riding school. After that I moved to Knightsbridge in London and became a groom in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. Eventually, I was put in charge of caring for all of the coachmen’s uniforms—beautiful pieces hand-stitched on Saville Row.
And then you ended up in Park City? That’s quite a leap! Well, while I was in London, I met and married a girl from Roy, Utah, and we had two children. We decided to move to Utah to bring them up in a great outdoor environment and to be near her family, so I immigrated. I originally thought I wanted to work as a butler in a private household, but as luck would have it, the St. Regis was just opening in Deer Valley and like all St. Regis properties, they had a butler program.
Butler service seems so posh and, frankly, unfamiliar for most Americans. What, exactly, do you do? The hotel has several butlers, and we are here for suite-level guests. We greet them when they check in, walk them through the property, and escort them to their suite. Along the way we chat. I can usually tell if a guest wants to be friendly and familiar or keep it formal. Buckingham Palace was good training for that; you learn not to cross the boundary of too much familiarity. We offer to unpack bags and press two garments during their stay, and to pack when they leave. We also offer a complimentary beverage, usually brought in on a silver tray. After that, we’re always available to those guests during their stay, whatever the request.
Do many guests take you up on the packing services? Not many. But when they do, they love it. We’re here to give the guest more time, so if we can help with unpacking and packing—and to do it correctly for a family, it takes at least an hour—we are happy to do that. It’s like working on a big jigsaw puzzle, especially with ski gear. We’ve had people tell us their room looked “like a work of art” when we were finished putting everything in its place.
What are your top packing tips? We use a lot of tissue paper. If in doubt, add more paper. Always place heavy items on the bottom of the bag—the bottom when it is standing up, mind you. Don’t let colors rub together and individually wrap each button in tissue so they won’t catch on anything. Toiletries go in at the end, so they are readily available.
About those white gloves you wear. How many pairs do you go through in a week? About 14. We don’t wear them at all times, however.
Are there female butlers? In fact, 50 percent of St. Regis butlers are female.
What are the top three characteristics of a great butler? Punctuality—never be late. Presentation—your tea and coffee service must be perfect. Preparation—like painting the grass green if need be.