From taking care of the inspiring Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela, to getting jiggy with Fresh Prince Will Smith, Carlos Constanzo has the right to be very proud of his experience as head butler at The St Regis Bali Resort.
But have a longer conversation with this musician and you’ll soon realize that all the glam hours of his work life have led him to a greater and more noble cause.
Animal sanctuary work and children’s welfare are just a few items on his list to which he keeps adding, while playing the baby grand piano at the St. Regis once in a while.
What do you like most about your profession?
It gives me so many different unscripted versions of a day. Nothing is predictable with what your clients bring to you every day. Never a dull moment, as people say.
How would you describe The St. Regis guest profile?
They are modern connoisseurs, luminaries who are attached to technology advancements who expect nothing less than flawless and intuitive service throughout each and every interaction during their stay. They are well travelled, know what they want, and critical at the same time. They are not easy to impress.
We learned that in 1989, the Chilean Ambassador Mr Celso Moreno first spotted you. And then you began your first butler job as the Embassy Butler and special events coordinator for the Diplomatic family. Was that your eureka moment?
Ambassador Moreno played a role in leading my path towards my profession. He inspired me by seeing beyond my untrained abilities at the time. It was as if he prophesized what is now my brilliant career.
Tell us more about cross training with the Spanish Red Cross while working as an interpreter in 1992?
Working as a volunteer interpreter allowed me to work closely with many disciplines I now use daily for my job.It introduced me to the medical field that has become a part of my life, as a recently diagnosed diabetic.
Has your knowledge of child diabetes, elderly care and pet care you learned at the Red Cross been useful in your life as a butler?
Yes. I remember accompanying diabetic clients to hospital for their monthly controls and blood checks to consolidate their readings to enhance their insulin administration. I will always be a pet lover and a tree hugger. This passion led me to live my life as a vegetarian. You would be surprised at the number of guests we are dealing with from all over the planet that are practicing vegetarians. And it has nothing to do with faith or religion. A mass consciousness has awakened the world, and many are souls experiencing their travels from a vegetarian point of view. My knowledge helps me connect with these guests better.
Use five words to describe your time as one of the Elite butlers of the Crown Casino.
Unimaginable wealth dictated the outcome.
And five words to describe your time today at The St. Regis.
We make the everyday, exquisite.
If you could name one of the best experiences you had working with an “A-list” guest, who would it be?
Nelson “Madiba” Mandela for the human that he was. And Will Smith for being the best boss a human could ever dream of having.
Which personal experience at The St. Regis are you most proud of?
Playing Santa Claus for children during the festive season.
We aim to enliven our rich history of life as a brand, as we aim to evolve in developing our skills and experiences that positively affect each and every one of our guests, including the younger ones.
Have you ever fallen short of fulfilling a guest request?
Life has taught me there are times when there is nothing in your power you can do to make someone fully happy or satisfied. Once you accept this, it is easier to move on.
Who are tougher to handle: politicians or celebrities?
Self-entitled humans will always be tough to handle, regardless of their joy – you know who they are at a glance!This is when you should shower yourself with positivity and good energy, not letting the negativity affect you.
With your experience, skills and resources, you seem like you could build your own hotel.
That may sound like an ideal scenario, as I know colleagues who have opened their own B&B in little towns around the world, and they are doing great. But as my days are unscripted, when I retire, I will waltz a different path.
If you were given a second life, would you choose a music career? And how many instruments can you play?
In my second life, I would love to be an animal care-giver. Working in an animal sanctuary – not a zoo. Where I know humans can truly contribute to sustainability and make the earth a better place.
I used to play all the instruments that fell under the banner of classical percussion found in a symphonic set-up, including the pianoforte.
I am happy with my career in this industry. The Baby Grand in the Penthouse will get a little warm-up every now and then, to make sure it doesn’t get out of tune, which I think is part of the mission given to me by Santa Cecilia, the Patron saint of musicians.
What made you decide to adopt 12 children in Bali. Will any of them follow your career?
I did not adopt them officially. I was introduced to them during my first Easter in Bali and they have become part of my life ever since. Mamma Inne, their caregiver, needs help and I do whatever is possible to make a difference to their lives. When I have family or friends visiting Bali, this is the first stop.
The children are way too young to be considering careers at this stage. What I can say is that they have full support when it comes to their education.
What do you do when you are off the clock?
Sleep and get a haircut. But not at the same time.
True or false: Butlers know all their guests’ habits.
True or false: A butler cannot be an introvert.
We need to have the ability to adjust and know when to appear extrovert, or approachable, and when we should keep a courteous distance.
True or false: A butler’s patience is endless.
True. But let me complete that: patience is our gateway to diplomacy in action.