The Black Butler

Photographs from 1909 prove that Badrutt’s Palace Hotel was one of the first Grand Hotels to employ a black butler. A move which only heightened the curiosity of its highbrow guests.

At the time of the »Belle Epoque« luxury hotel guests already expected extraordinary service. It was considered »chic« to have international staff serving the guests and to make a lasting impression on them with »foreign« cultures. A chef from India or a Maître from Africa were the highlights for many guests. Coming into contact with unknown cultures tended to enthral and fascinate the guests and became a key topic of conversation in illustrious society. Once again Caspar Badrutt was a pioneer in this aspect. He offered an exceptional service with his »black butler«.

At that time the butler’s uniform was black with white gloves, attending to guests in the ›Fumoir‹, the breakfast salon and ›Le Grand Hall‹.

Today we know that the butler’s name was Daniel Henri, he was from Madagascar and a very trusted and beloved employee of the Badrutt family. Henri remained in contact with the family of hoteliers even after his time of employment and sent letters and photographs of his home and garden.