Day in the life: Neatness matters to Dubai hotel executive housekeeper
Amartya Chakraborty is just one month into his new position as the executive housekeeper at Ramada Downtown Dubai. He started his career 13 years ago as a room attendant at a five-star hotel in Mumbai, and moved up the career ladder. Here, the 35-year-old from India reveals more about his typical day.
I believe an early start is good for the day. I have a breakfast of milk, cornflakes and eggs and get ready for work. I also try to get a quick glimpse of the TV channels to see what’s going on in Dubai and the Middle East. I also listen to music as it makes me feel good.
I live in Al Nahda in Dubai at the company accommodation and reach the hotel in Downtown Dubai around this time. I like to arrive at the office before the team comes in at 9am. Planning is vital in this job, so I check rooms, staff allocation for the day, emails and guest arrivals to ensure changes are made where it is necessary and rooms are ready before the guests arrive. Housekeeping is the backbone of any hotel but it doesn’t ever get into the limelight. The hotel industry is changing fast; it has now moved into shopping malls. We have a lot of good products, but these have to be maintained properly. It’s not only technique, it’s also about scheduling staff, motivating the team, making sure they have the tools for their job, and that they are happy.
After a briefing with the team, where we discuss financials, guest requests and concerns, I do my regular rounds of the property. We have 181 suites and I pick rooms for random checks as well as the public areas. We also check flight timings of guests to see if we have a few more minutes to make up the rooms. During the briefing we also train the team of 42 on the job. They are from all over — including Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Nigeria. Even in India, I had people from different states speaking different languages, but at the end of the day they are all individuals. I chat with them, and try to understand what problems they are facing.
I meet clients such as suppliers of linens, hotel amenities or uniforms. I generally get time to grab a quick lunch after these meetings, and usually it is salad and fruit or something healthy from the hotel restaurant. I sometimes sit in the cafeteria with the team.
I do another round of the public areas and floors and check if the things I wanted done in the morning were implemented. I am a neatness freak. If I go into a hotel and see a tilted frame, I set it right. Later, I get busy with paperwork and the regular follow-up of meetings. I also plan for the next day’s staffing. One of the challenges is that housekeeping is a physical job and the staff always have to be motivated. We keep training and appreciating them in front of the team. We also go out once a month as a team, such as for bowling or to the movies. Sometimes we face guests who are rude but then we empathise with them, try to understand them, and sort out the problem. But that’s also the reason why we constantly talk to the guests.
My working day is over and I head home, arriving around 8:15pm. I go for a jog and play badminton for an hour. I also watch television and catch up on social media. I call home regularly and am in touch with them through social media as well.
I try to have dinner by this time and go to sleep by 11:30pm. I have learnt a lot from past jobs, having started my career in Mumbai. I have worked on a cruise liner and at hotels in New Delhi, Bangalore and Doha. I had a short stint of 11 months in Doha and want to increase my Middle East experience. I also want to keep learning, [especially in this region], and create a brand for myself. Some day I want to become a general manager.
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Published: May 17, 2014 04:00 AM