The high-earning butlers of Dubai


In Britain, butlers may seem like a relic of another era, but in some other countries, particularly emerging economies, they are in huge demand – and their employers can often afford to pay handsomely for the privilege.

If PG Wodehouse’s unflappable valet Jeeves had been called upon to work in the Arabian peninsula, you can be sure he would have been perfectly at home – Mayfair, Abu Dhabi… it’s all the same if you’re a professional with a job to do, a rigid dress code to uphold, and a gentleman to protect from overbearing aunts.

But increasingly British-trained household staff, particularly butlers, are being hired to work not in London but for super-rich clients abroad – and in Dubai, right now, they are all the rage.

They may live downstairs rather than upstairs, but some are on stratospheric salaries.

Sara Vestin Rahmani, director and founder of London’s Bespoke Bureau British Butler and Housekeeper Academy, placed one newly-trained butler in the United Arab Emirates this year on an annual salary of 582,000 Emirati Dirhams – the equivalent of £100,000 or $158,000.

Dillon, aged 37, who swapped the military to train to be a butler three years ago, hasn’t looked back since he took up the residence on the exclusive artificial archipelago Palm Jumeirah to work for an Emirati family business in 2011.

“I went in at entry level at £35,000 ($55,000) plus all expenses paid. I now earn £70,000 but I work very hard,” he says.


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