FOLLOWING a public outcry after reports in The Bali Times that the lavish St. Regis in Nusa Dua was employing a team of butlers who used Western names to better serve their wealthy guests, the hotel announced this week that it had cancelled the controversial programme.
“In response to the article that appeared on 29 January 2010 on St. Regis Bali Slammed over Butlers’ Western Names, the St. Regis Bali Resort has decided that the butlers will no longer use Western names in operation,” marketing and communications director Geetha Warrier told The Bali Times.
She said the dozens-strong butler team’s “business cards, which currently carry both their Indonesian and Western names, in quotation marks, will only reflect their Indonesian names in the reprint.”
Indonesian spiritual leader Anand Krishna had harshly criticised the strategy of the American-based hotel in giving its butlers such working names as Edgar, brandishing the management “ignorant of the very purpose of tourism.”
Earlier this week a team including general manager Frank Beck and Ms Warrier met with Krishna and told him that the scheme was being dissolved.
Krishna later told The Bali Times he was pleased with the outcome.
“This is a wise decision, and also elegant and benefiting to a hotel of their repute,” he said.
He cautioned, however, that other hotels in Bali should be mindful of the cultural environment they were operating in.
“Let this be a lesson to all of those in the tourism industry. May this incident enlighten their minds and hearts, and open them to the real beauty of Bali – that is, her culture and wisdom. By helping Bali keep her culture, they will be helping themselves.”
Ms Warrier said that owing to a large number of critical remarks from the public, mostly posted on The Bali Times website, the St. Regis would never again instigate such a programme.
“Reviewing the comments, The St. Regis Bali Resort will not adopt this practice further,” she said, adding: “This incident is unique to St. Regis Bali and is not a standard practice among all St. Regis Hotels around the world.”