THE PIERRE HOTEL: Taj Royal Attache Service


Mumbai Comes to Manhattan

Written by Sherry Amatenstein | Images courtesy of The Pierre Hotel

Global Living Magazine – Issue 6 | April/May 2013

The Pierre’s uber-luxe Taj Royal Attaché Service makes you feel like a legend in more than your own mind.

Feeling a sudden, fierce craving for a pizza at 3 a.m.? Need an insanely quick shoe shine before a black tie event or meeting that could change the course of your life? Want someone to confide in over a breakup, and your therapist isn’t available? Who can you call?

If you’re staying at the Pierre in New York, the answer is the Royal Attaches, currently servicing guests ensconced in one of their 11 Grand Suites. Last July, after a $100 million dollar renovation, this illustrious hotel – now the United States flagship of India’s Taj brand – began offering an experience heretofore solely enjoyed by Maharajas, heads of state, diplomats and other members of the elite.

SmalI wonder this native New Yorker jumped at the opportunity to experience the 110-year-old tradition of palace-inspired, high-end butler service. The credo: my every desire, even those unvoiced, would be seen to with dispatch and warmth by my intuitive Attaché.

The service began two days before my stay, with a phone call asking me for preferences in some of life’s ‘essentials’: newspapers (NY Times), flowers (yellow roses), pillows (soft), and alcohol (champagne, please). …No, I didn’t need an airport pickup.

The Pierre’s three Royal Attaches were hand-picked from thousands of highly trained butlers in India who operate on the principle that ‘the guest is God’. A six-month training program in cultural sensitivity, overseen by the head of Learning and Development for Palace Hotels, further honed the skills of Anupam Guha and Sujoy Choudhury. The training included master classes in body language, designed to help them pick up on the subtle cues of the guests. A guest may say, “No need to fetch my slippers,” but a shoulder slump gives away their true desire.

The clientele taking advantage of this Attaché program during their sojourn at The Pierre are generally Brazilian, Portuguese, Russian, Saudi, French, Spanish – and an import from Long Island City, Queens.

My $5800 a night, two-bedroom, ruby- and gold-toned Rajput Suite, home for a blissful 24 hours, featured a bronze statue depicting Kali, the goddess of eternal energy, coffee-table books recounting the lifestyle of the princely rulers from Rajasthan, and intricate Kalamkari paintings (artwork composed with a pen). My friend and I were greeted by the aroma of my requested roses and a beaming Sujoy, his white-gloved hand proffering chilled towels followed by flutes of champagne. Sujoy’s genuine warmth and eagerness to please left me feeling like royalty. At my offer of a tip, he said it wasn’t money he wanted but to make me happy.

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