A luxury hotel in the tourist enclave of Nusa Dua urging its Balinese butlers to adopt Western names so that their well-heeled guests will feel more at home has enraged one of the country’s top spiritual leaders.
The St. Regis Resort and Spa, which opened to fanfare in March 2009, requests that its team of butlers uses names that are plucked from British literature, such as Edgar, in an apparent strategy to confer on the service staff an inference of the traditional British servant.
Anand Krishna, who runs spiritual centres and workshops in Bali and writes a weekly column in this newspaper, said he was outraged that the butlers were told to use Western names.
“I think the management of St. Regis is totally ignorant of the very purpose of tourism,” he told The Bali Times on Thursday.
“It is not only saddening but disheartening that a hotel of their repute could make such a blunder. A totally wrong understanding of the concept of tourism,” he said.
The marketing and communications director at the St. Regis, Geetha Warrier, confirmed that the resort, located along the white-sand Geger Beach, employed butlers among its 30-strong, mostly Balinese team who used Western names.
“They are given a stage name derived from the most famous butlers in the world. It is a gimmick, a talking point, which is received very positively by the team and guests alike,” she told The Bali Times.
“These English names are chosen by the butlers themselves and are not forced upon them. We have butlers who use their own names.”
However, some of the butlers at the St. Regis, who cater to guests who shell out up to US$5,500 per night, according to rates on the hotel’s website, have reportedly said they are uncomfortable using an adopted Western name and would rather use their own.