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After a 25-year stint with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts that saw him serve the Queen in Winnipeg and Susan Sarandon in Washington, D.C., Jamaican-born Clarence McLeod has settled in Priddis, Alberta. As the general manager of the Azuridge Estate Hotel, he oversees the smooth running of Downton Abbey-themed 90th birthday parties (and keeps tabs on the prosecco and caviar stores). We caught up with him before his trip to London for a Guild of Professional English Butlers meeting.

Clarence McLeod

Scrunch, roll, fold or stuff?
All of the above. For trained butlers, it’s about interweaving. You fold trousers along the seam and place them in your case, with the legs hanging over. Roll everything that you can, and place on the pant leg.Shirts go on top; then the legs are folded over. Everything stays tight, and the seam will be there when you land.

How do you size up another butler?
First I look at the way he or she has shined my shoes. There should be just a hint of sheen at the tips and at the back. Under the light, they should sparkle like a pin. And I can tell by the pocket square if a butler thinks outside the box.

Any favourite memories from the Queen’s 2002 Jubilee visit?
I suggested we give her a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear, but my general manager thought it was too personal. But we did it, and she loved it. Then we had to get one for all her team members, including her hairdresser, who looked exactly like Rod Stewart, and have it on their pillows by the time they landed in Toronto, so that came back to haunt me.

What are some faux pas you notice on the job?
Besides cellphones at dinner, outdated assumptions. If two men are checking in, don’t assume they want two beds. Give them the option. Offering an alternative is the best way to handle scenarios like that.



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