x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Keeping the house in order

The Life: A day in the life of an executive housekeeper at the Kempinski Hotel at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.

Pamini Hemaprabha, left, instructs Cecille Coronel, a room attendant, in a deluxe room at the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. Sarah Dea / The National
Pamini Hemaprabha, left, instructs Cecille Coronel, a room attendant, in a deluxe room at the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. Sarah Dea / The National

Pamini Hemaprabha joined the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates in Dubai seven months ago as executive housekeeper. Here, the graduate from Hyderabad, India explains how her day flies by.

 

6am

I get up. I start with a little slow music as I freshen up.

 

7am

I drive to the hotel. Housekeeping is a 24-hour shift so I catch up with the night shift supervisor over breakfast in the staff cafeteria. At 8.15 we do a full public area round. I walk with him in the lobbies, restaurant, driveway, pool and back area. I check for cleanliness or maintenance requirements. Night shift is vital for us because a lot of the deep cleaning takes place then.

 

9am

The general manager and the department heads have a morning briefing. We discuss occupancy, VIP arrivals, guest feedback. We also run through the events being held in the hotel.

 

10am

I have my morning briefing with all my room attendants, my casual staff and my supervisors and managers. I have 160 staff under me. We do a training session for 10 minutes. We pick a topic such as bed making or towel folding. We wrap up with an exercise - something to enliven the morning briefing.

 

10.30am

Every person takes their task sheet for 15 rooms to clean.

 

11am

I usually have meetings lined up - mostly with suppliers. I enjoy these because it opens your eyes to what is new on the market: sometimes it's wonderful chemicals or machines or a fragrance.

 

12pm

I have public tours scheduled with my day-shift public supervisor. I walk the entire premises with him.

 

1pm

I go to the office and catch up with mail. I get a detailed outlook of how many guests are waiting and how many rooms are still not clean - and if I have to push to make sure the rooms are turned round faster.

 

1.30pm

I am a vegetarian so it's a simple lunch in the canteen.

 

2pm

I do a tour with my hotel manager, chief engineer and my assistant housekeeper. We choose five rooms to do a walkthrough. It gives us a chance to see the team in action. The staff like to see the management in the hotel and be given appreciation or points to work on.

 

3pm

I go back to the office and catch up with the admin assistant who is also my secretary. We talk about pending purchase requirements, items that need to be sourced, invoices with the supplier, the budget.

 

4pm

I check on VIP arrivals for this day and the next day.

 

5pm

I do this special programme called jolly talk. All my staff spends 10 minutes with me over a cup of tea [every two months]. We don't talk about work, we talk about everything else. Housekeeping involves a lot of unskilled labour and they understand the language of care, appreciation and love.

 

6pm

I have a visit scheduled for the laundry and the florist department.

 

7pm

I wrap up. My day is non-stop enjoyment. This is what I studied and have been doing for 11 years. When you have so many people involved you have no idea where time flies.

 

7.30pm

I leave the hotel. My sweet husband comes to pick me up and we often enjoy dinner outside. Sometimes I socialise with friends. I have many in the same industry so it's nice to hear their stories.

 

lgutcher@thenational.ae