They are the cornerstones of the 5 star hotel in West London. This is certainly the view of the head housekeeper, Marieta Polska, the Director of the housekeeping section of the palace. “Without them, there’s no hotel and even less luxury.”
Start of the day: 7 am. Clients are departing or arriving, others continue their stay in one of the 153 rooms and suites where the rate varies between £300 and £3,500 per night.
The head housekeeper gives the instructions for the day. The golden rule: everything must be perfect. Here, the household are technicians. The furniture is made of precious wood; there are marble floors… “We use specific products for each of these materials,” explains George Brown, the Manager of the hotel.
“On the mirrors or tiles in the bathroom, no smears. On the sheets, no folds! Doing the housework at home is one thing but in a hotel with 5 stars, it is very much another!” said Marieta Polska. “There may also be special instructions, adds the Director. For example: spread rose petals on the bed; place a gift; a bottle of champagne; remove alcohol from the minibar and replace toiletries with other products according to customer’s request.”
Francesca, one of the four nannies of the establishment, on the subject of pillows: “Some do not want pillows, others want more. Once, a client requested 12!
Throughout the day, the head housekeeper controls with precision the tasks that are performed. “In this business, you need the sense of detail”, she insists. Not only this… being a hotel housekeeper in a large hotel is an art. You need to have the flawless look – uniform, tight bun and light makeup – a look and a sense of discretion. “You have to keep composure and smile at any moment; even when the customer gets annoyed or requests the impossible”, adds Marieta. The highest achievement for the housekeeping staff is that clients forget that you are always around but at the same time you are always available for them, and he or she knows this. “Hotel housekeepers are in the front line,” declares Marieta Polska. “Whether a customer has a message or a requirement, it is assigned to us to deliver.
A housekeeper must be versatile, reactive and master several languages. Marieta recalls a situation where “A client, scheduled for an appointment, had a problem with the fastener on her dress. We had to find a solution in minutes.”
At 1 pm, it is the turn of the evening team to take over the service. One of its missions is called ‘The coverage service.’ During dinner, they must prepare rooms for the night. A clean bathroom, carpet slippers at the foot of the bed, a breakfast menu for the next day…
“When recruiting, we hire staff with experience, professionals who have already held positions in major hotels, says the Director.” We also take in young learners; people undergoing special training at ones of the best schools in the UK ”.
“In short, we are looking for rare gems that have a passion for the profession.” concludes the head housekeeper.