“You rang, sir?”
It’s line from the golden age of cinema, but Red Rock Resort butler Joseph Yalda can use it almost daily.
“In a butler, we look for personality and the ability to connect with the guest and build a relationship in a short span of time, like he does. It’s a unique talent that not many have,” said Shane Hamlett, director of hotel operations at the resort, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd.
Hamlett said that when hiring, he stresses the hours and the effort required to be a successful butler — “so the guest has a positive experience and wants to return.”
Yalda, 28, started with the company at 16 as a busboy and worked his way up to being one of two butlers at the resort; the other is John Ivan. When Red Rock opened in 2006, the company brought in the International Institute of Modern Butlers for an on-site, fast-paced, two-week course.
The No. 1 rule for being a butler: “Discretion,” Yalda said, adding, “We never see anything.”
The second is being invisible and having a knack for disappearing without anyone noticing.
Yalda is at the beck and call of occupants of the property’s 26 suites. Seven of those suites are on the 20th floor and range from 2,800 to 7,500 square feet. That translates to 12-15 guests at any time. Most stay for a weekend. One woman, on a business trip from Australia, stayed 32 days.
Yalda is on call 24/7. That means he often spends the night at the hotel, to see it as a guest.
His job involves part concierge, part domestic duties. Most patrons only use his services for the expected conveniences — unpacking suitcases, arranging for and serving dinner, handling dry-cleaning needs, enlisting maids’ help, securing tickets to a Strip show — but Yalda said he has gone above and beyond his job description. One time a woman forgot her tickets in her room.
“So I drove down there and brought her her tickets so she didn’t have to go through the stress,” he said.
How big was the tip for that?
“They do take care of me,” he said with a smile.
One of his more memorable duties was securing a pair of the newly released Michael Jordan shoes for a 14-year-old boy. He got in line about 3 a.m. at the Fashion Show Mall, waiting for the store to open at 9 .
“But I got them and he was happy,” Yalda said. “His kids, they were ecstatic.”
Yalda said he secured a specific flavor of Cheetos for a 10-year-old guest to make her stay more comfortable.
One couple booked a suite for their 45th anniversary. Learning that, Yalda got on social media and connected with their kids to find out what the couple’s wedding song had been.
“So when they came back, we had that song playing for them, with rose petals and the whole nine yards,” he said.
A butler can be seen as an extension of the family, and some guests invite him to their home when he vacations. Yalda declines.
“My biggest thing is that I never want to cross that line between friend and butler,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m still their butler.”
Perks include meeting celebrities, being handed tickets to major events and, of course, the gratuities. He was not at liberty to say how much he gets paid (only saying that he is salaried) or what his biggest tip has been. Yalda gets one month of vacation time annually, which he spreads throughout the year.
Well after guests check out and are winging their way home, Yalda is still seeing to their needs. That’s because the No. 1 thing people leave behind is …
“Their cellphone charger,” he said. “Happens all the time.”
Contact Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.
In Victorian times
A butler saw to meal settings, served the food and, at breakfast, received orders for the day. He polished the silver daily and was in charge of the linens, counting each piece before it went out to be laundered. Before dinner, he ensured the lamps and/or candles were lit and the fireplace had sufficient logs. At dinner, he carried in the trays, then went to the drawing room to announce dinner was served. Before retiring for the night, the butler saw that the house was secure, lamps and candles were blown out and, in cool weather, the fireplaces were stoked.