After a 20-year career travelling the world as a butler, Anthony Seddon-Holland, 49, is now head butler of the newly opened five-star, 107-bedroom Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa in York. He comes from three generations of professional butlers and is heading up a team of five who are providing a 24-hour service to the hotel's 13 suites. He spoke to Janet Harmer
Caterer What will the butler service offer guests at the Cedar Court Grand?
Anthony Seddon-Holland We will provide a one-stop shop for guests, providing them with everything they need while staying at the hotel including check-in, unpacking and packing, laundry, and theatre tickets and transport if required.
Caterer Do many hotels in the UK offer a butler service?
AS-H It is offered by some of the five-star hotels in London, such as the Ritz, the Connaught and the Dorchester, but it is very unusual to find a butler service offered at a provincial hotel.
I think it will be widely used here in York as the city is a very popular destination on the tourist route of international travellers, many of whom are seeking a five-star experience.
Butlering is a quintessentially English tradition and has a huge appeal to foreign visitors. Guests who enjoy the Grand's butler service will talk about it in the same breath as describing their visit to York Minster or the Shambles.
Caterer Why did you become a butler?
AS-H I saw it as a means of moving into a more exclusive world and dealing with a better class of people, as well as travelling extensively.
Caterer Where have you worked as a butler?
AS-H All over the world - in every continent except Australia. I've supervised the day-to-day running of the primary European residence of a senior member of the Omani royal family, administered a London apartment for the CEO of Russia's largest bank and introduced the hotel butler concept to the Las Vegas strip, where I received one of my strangest requests - to ensure every element of the guest's suite was white.
Caterer What are the key attributes of a good butler?
AS-H Flexibility, the ability to communicate effectively, a sense of humour, and common sense. If a person has got these attributes, we can teach them everything else.
Caterer How easy is it to be able to recruit young people as butlers?
AS-H Here at the Grand we have been lucky enough to recruit three very good people from Yorkshire and one from Lancashire, but generally it is very difficult to employ British people as they are not very eager to do the job. In India, China and the Caribbean nations, young people are very keen to become butlers as they see it as an opportunity to earn a good salary and travel the world.