Customer ServiceIamA Former Butler in Las Vegas. I Served Prince For Almost A Year in 2006-2007 AMA!
Apr 22nd 2016 by Cheeky_Guy • 58 Questions • 2333 Points
I worked at the Rio All Suite and Casino in Las Vegas as a butler in their private Palazzo Suite villas from 2005-2008. I was one of the 15 butlers who serviced the high rollers and celebrities that stayed in their suites. Prince preformed in the Rio at Club 3121 from November 2006 to April of 2007. He lived in one of the suites and I would service his room as needed along with the other butlers.
Thank you for all of your questions and I had such a fun time answering them. Though I am going off air to get some sleep, please feel free to still ask and I will answer them tomorrow sometime. Rest in peace Prince.
Good Night Yall :)
I have to go to work now but keep asking away and I will get to them tonight if you're interested. Thanks
What is the most popular drug of choice amongst high rollers?
Cocaine of course
How did the high rollers source their cocaine? Was the hotel involved in any way?
I doubt the hotel was involved, especially Harrah's/Caesar's Entertainment. They were very strict on those types of things. People had contacts so they were probably getting it through friend of a friend or a tip from someone they could trust. Stay in Vegas long enough, you will find someone too
Just wondering, apparently Prince and Michael Jordan were basketball buddies and fairly close and friendly rivals. How was their relationship while you were his butler?
Jordan never came to visit but Magic Johnson did. No one was allowed in the room during his visit but I saw them in the elevator as they were leaving for the show
The breakfast story was the craziest for me but I remember after he won his Golden Globe for Happy Feet it was in his room but in an odd place. I was in the room with my manager and I looked at it and said wow, I am actually looking at a Golden Globe, my manager laughed and asked me if I could guess why it was in an odd place on an oak table in the room. I didn't know so he lifted it up and there was a burn mark from a candle which Prince caused one night. He was using the Golden Globe to cover up room damage, which is hilarious.
Would he be charged to replace the table at the end of his stay or was it within the range of wear and tear? Since he was there for an extended stay did you replace the table during his stay since it looked bad?
I am not sure what happened to the table, we probably charged him I would imagine
How would you describe Prince's personality? Who were the people that would hang out with him? Did he seem to be on any drugs? Did he ever make any strange requests? ( besides 4:00 a.m. Breakfast )
Every joke made about Prince's mannerisms are all true, the jokes on SNL to Dave Chappell. He would talk to me directly if it was just him and I alone, but when he had guests over he would have someone ask me questions or requests, never him directly when people were there. He was a night owl, often stay up till 3 or 4am and wake up at 12pm. He loved pizza and Pinot Grigio wine. Never in a baseball hat or tee-shirt, always dressed to impress. He was well mannered and spoke in a deep profound voice. Never once did he yell or curse at any of us. He was shy but he had this glow to his personality and that is why I think so many people loved him. For a guy who is 5 foot tall he would have girlfriends 6 feet tall and more than one. He was very spiritual and always spoke about his love for God, he prayed with every meal. It was an honor for me to know him the little time that I did.
He had other female signers with him and some basketball players like Magic Johnson. At dinners he would often give sermons and preached to them, he was a Jehovah Witness. One of the Spice Girls was always there...the tall one.
Never did I suspect any drugs. He enjoyed nice wines here and there and Patron but no red flags for me.
We had to change things in his room like his All Seeing Eye above the door to his exit/entrance of his villa. We ripped up tile so we can put in new tile that had his logo on it. Removed all furniture and he had a round bed and beautiful curtains around it. He wanted us to re-paint the room but we didn't. Large Piano in the living room and some of his paintings on the wall. He was eccentric.
One of the Spice Girls was always there...the tall one.
Tall Spice was my favourite.
C'mon man. There was Sporty, Ginger, Baby, Posh and Scary. Which one?
The tallest one, I think it was sporty
I have a lot of great memories but the one that made me laugh was there was one night where I got a call at about 3 am in the morning and he wanted breakfast for 14 people. I was the only butler on duty during that graveyard shift. He asked for 14 omelets and 14 orders of pancakes. I called everyone in the casino and had all the cooks running to make this order while I made the table. I had to serve the whole breakfast at now 4am in the morning by myself. I came up with the two carts full of food trying to plate it as fast as I can when Prince stood up from his chair and walked over to my cart. He grabbed a plate of pancakes and started helping me serve. I couldn't help but to laugh from the Charlie Murphy story on the Dave Chappelle show. This was my favorite moment...ever.
Prince stood up from his chair and walked over to my cart. He grabbed a plate of pancakes and started helping me serve.
Prince is my Minneapolis homie, and that is the most Minnesota thing I've heard of him.
I was born and raised in Minnesota so yea, it wasn't a complete shock but it was still funny. SKOL
Really nice guy. He was there to play poker at the WSOP, not the main tournament but the lower ones not televised. He had a backpack with him and no other luggage. I asked if I could take it from him to bring it to his room and he declined, I asked if it was because his spidey suit was in there and he gave a big smile and laugh. I liked him.
Just the piano. One early evening he ordered pizza which he wanted to eat during a movie. I got him pizza from the casino and as I was clearing off the coffee table one of his guitar picks was there. I picked it up and asked him where I should place it, he responded in his deep voice "You can keep it". So I did and I gave it to my dad as a gift, the pick had his logo on it and it was white and purple.
What would the Rio not want me to know about their high rollers?
Some high rollers would come almost every other weekend or stay for months on end, spending a lot of money (personal or company, I don't know). One client bet 500k on the Patriots to win against the Giants in the Super Bowl
There was a guy who would come a lot and he would always invite me into his room or out to the casino. I would be his wing man and we would drink, talk to woman and he would order me food. He loved Marie Callender Pies so we would have to go get it for him which I ate with him while the other butlers were working.
What's the most unforgettable gossip you've heard from your guests?
I overheard about certain celebrities being either gay or bi-sexual from an other celebrity. No names that I am willing to share, sorry. Also I heard a story on a celebrity's first encounter with cocaine, it was actually mickeyed into his food when he went to a dinner party at a Mr. Wilson's house...may or may have not been on a beach ;)
Heard a rap star talk smack about other performers after the MTV music awards at the Palms Casino. He had me cracking up as I was trying to serve him late night dinner.
What does one have to do to become a butler? This may sound silly but it's something I've thought of and think I'd be good at.
Being a Las Vegas butler is a lot different than an ACTUAL butler. The Rio had an official English butler come and train us and it ended with a test to see if we would make it in to their guild, I was one of the only ones that passed.
Pursue your dreams :)
A guest who was in the WSOP wanted a dart board at 1am in the morning. The casino stores didn't have any so I got in a limo and went to the nearby Wal-Mart to buy one. I set it up in his suite, he gave me a $700 tip and didn't even play with the dart board once.
You can't just tell the story and not say who the guest was...
Don't even remember his name. Not a pokerstar but I think he made the cut into the money.
Not him but I hated that guy. He was such a dick and he ran off in the middle of the night on a bus with all the money. He demanded everything left and right and gave us a $50 tip on a 3 thousand dollar check.
Did anyone bring any pets or companion animals? If they did, did you have to do anything for them (go out to buy special snacks, take one for a walk, change cage bedding)?
Sir Elton has two Cocker Spaniels, one name Arthur (named after Arthur Miller) and the other named Marilyn (named after Marilyn Monroe). They went where ever he went, especially Arthur. They were served carrots and filet mignon for dinner. They were treated like they were his kids
His morning routine was odd. We would have all the London newspapers printed out for him and he would eat some dry cracker/biscuits with his favorite jam (marmalade), Fuze juice, and a shot glass full of about 20 vitamins...every morning. I would make about 3-4 espressos for him as well in the morning.
Any cool souvenirs? Besides the pick? Also, any weird naked moments?
I took home bottles of expensive wines and cognacs. Elton John signed an old record my dad had.
Weird naked moments...yes. Weirdest was with Sir Elton. His massage therapist wanted an outlet extension so I ran to go get one. As I entered the room lobby Sir Elton walked out of treatment room naked; he didn't notice me but I saw his bare naked ass. Hope he never finds out about this...He isn't on Reddit, is he?
Call girls would flash us all the time. There was a photo on my old flip phone of me licking whip cream off a girls boob and the guest took the photo.
Craziest things you've seen during your time as a butler? What're you doing now?
Long story short but if there was a guest staying with us who was famous for making a sex tape with a certain celebrity. He went to a magic show where a former hot babe was hosting the show. After the show he invited her and all the cast to his suite. This show was kind of like a freak show so there were midgets in make up, tattooed faced shirtless guys with crazy piercings and stuff like that. They had a massive party and I saw people having sex, doing drugs and just pure fucking insanity. In the aftermath the room was destroyed and the two would be celebrities went and got married, but they were divorced a few days later. Room damages was around 15k
How long does it take to get a room that badly damaged back into service? Are the people who damaged it also held liable for lost wages and gratuities?
It would take about a day to fix it back up depending on the damages. We would charge them for labor and cost, and I am sure it was three times more that what it really was.
Are you still here? What's the most Jeeves moment you've had as a butler?
I've never read any of those stories but Las Vegas butlers are a lot different than professional butlers, we get to do all the fun stuff. I would watch the clients get drunk all night and wake up at 2pm in the afternoon as they stumbled back to the casino floor. As long as we did what they asked they didn't care how we acted. Most of us Las Vegas butlers were no gentlemen.
What are some of the weirdest demands a celebrity or guest has made?
Revealing the name is optional but not necessary ;)
Everyone had a list of amenities we would always have in their room like alcohol/wine to food and treats but one guest was VERY particular about his toilet paper. He would scream if he didn't have his Charmin Ultra Soft
Would it be better to be a casino butler or to be a personal butler?
Personal butler. I never liked Vegas, no culture to it just all the bad stuff. People acted differently in Vegas so I would prefer to be there when they were just themselves and not the playboy or hot shot. I never felt comfortable being in their room around their personal space, felt out of place. I think that is why I changed my job and moved away from LV
Do you recall noticing the perfume/cologne choices of Prince (or other celebrity guests)?
Prince always smelt good but never knew what he was wearing and he was always dressed like he was on stage, never did I see him in normal attire. Sir Elton's room would be filled with his signature candles and it always smelled good.
I got lucky but also I have a natural gift in customer service. I was hired as a butler apprentice, which is where most would begin. Some people would be an apprentice for 12 or more months before even getting a full time butler position. There was an opening for a full time position 3 months after my start date, I interviewed for it and they gave it to me. I was one the fastest and the youngest to get it that quick. The pay as an apprentice was around $11 an hour with half percentage tips and my final hourly before I left was close to $18 an hour with full cut of the tip pool.
How much do butlers make? Do celebrities tend to pay more/less?
I was making around 70k a year if I had to guess. High Rollers tipped more than celebrities. I would get $100 casino chips all the time from high rollers.
Yeah, he was into guys and I fit his MO. He didn't make me an offer but I probably would have refused. I watched that guy do a line of cocaine from a full drinking straw, he was crazy like Leslie Chow
No but I served a Japanese movie star, had no idea what movies but upon departure he asked us to all line up outside his limo and he would give us each a $100 tip. He was really nice but don't remember his name
My understanding is that the concierge/butlers serving the high end suites could get anything available in Vegas 24/7 for their VIP guest, including high-priced escorts, blow, speed, any food imaginable, etc. How true is this in your experience?
No really, I would never get asked for any of that. That is all the casino host or their direct dealer. Concierge would get escort services but they were mostly female concierge so they would hate having to do that. Food requests, yes, had a guy that wanted the prime rib at a Main Station Casino, I went with another butler in a limo to go get it really late at night, also In-and-Out burgers and Taco Bell.
Thanks for doing this. I love Vegas and spend a lot of time there. So this is very interesting for me. Anyway, did anyone ever trash a room? If so how did they? Also is there any advice you would give if one of us ever got to the villas? Things that we should ask for?
We had the one guest with the crazy party I mentioned in another comment trash the place pretty good. There was a weird burlesque magic show he went to and he invited all the cast to this room for a crazy party. Around 6am in the morning I went into the room to pick up the dishes and there was crap everywhere and the damages was around 15k. I remember there were playing cards everywhere, the toilets were overflowing, we found a crack pipe and love stains everywhere.
The villas are for what they consider the big time high rollers, you need a really good casino host and a big pocket. Toby Maguire wanted to stay in our villas and the going rate was $20,000 a night. The largest bedroom was 16 thousand square feet, six bedrooms and two stories with an elevator. If you do get a good host ask for what ever you want, you gamble up to $5,000 a hand and you get what ever you need.
I've read all your comments in the accent of Alfred, Bruce Wayne's Butler. Is that fair?
Only if I can read your question in the voice of Batman
Sir Elton was so laid back, he spent his entire day in a robe and baseball hat, burped and farted but not Prince. If Prince farted it probably would sound like an Angel's laughter.
Sir Elton is silly and often a prankster. On April Fools Day he hired a Queen Elizabeth look a like to do a photo shoot in his room and during his concert he convinced all the people it was real, even though the Queen was in England at the time and no way was she in the USA
Elton was a diva for sure but not eccentric, Prince was very much, but in a good way.
Has anyone ever made a "The Butler did it!" joke to you in real life?
Roommate used to tease me with that one when food went missing from the fridge...spoiler, I did it
I'm assuming you've worn lots of suits in your career. Where do you recommend someone go to purchase themselves a suit?
The Rio gave us our penguin suits to wear. I get my suits at Suitsupply for my personal wear, I love their stuff
Maple, we really didn't have any other kind. There were a lot of leftovers
Do you know of any independent Butler service providers in the Vegas area?
Some some stuff I'm considering it would be helpful to have one on schedule for a few days.
Some butlers build a great rapport with high rollers and they can be requested at other casinos. There was one of the butlers that worked at Caesar's Palace and Sir Elton really liked him so he would come work with us when Elton stayed. Nice guy, I can see why he was favored. I am sure if you had a service where you would be hired independently you could go where ever your employer goes.
Stomach dropped, I was in shock. Prince was so fit and healthy, I didn't want to believe it but it happened. This was about as shocking as Michael Jackson. Prince was a great guy and my only regret was never seeing him live in concert when I had the chances. I will always be a fan of him