Melinda Williams: Tell us the topline description of your role here at The Hotel Britomart?
Moneeta Nadan: My role here is Executive Housekeeper. I oversee the overall housekeeping operations, training and mentoring the team and giving them feedback. I ensure that all areas of the hotel are meeting the highest standard of cleanliness.
Which it always does, it must be said.
Oh thank you. Our team consists of myself, an assistant, two supervisors, a team leader and eight floor team. So it’s quite a big team at the moment. I’m so happy we have a full team and they are very settled. Everything we do here illustrates how much we care about our guests and their entire experience.
How did you come to join the team at The Hotel Britomart?
So, I’m a pre-opening team member. Prior to my role here. I was working at Adina Apartments, which is a TFE hotel. Before that I was at Sofitel, so this is my third hotel. I had my eye on The Hotel Britomart from when I heard it was being constructed as a 5 Green Star hotel, and I was delighted to know that it was a part of Collection by TFE hotels. I reached out with my interest in taking up a new role – a new venture and new challenges.
One of the most appealing characteristics of The Hotel Britomart is its sense of serenity and calm. It must be quite a task making sure the hotel is kept clean and orderly to high standards in a very unobtrusive way.
Yes, of course, everything we do here focuses on guests and their entire experience. We really have to give a personal level of service to the guests. The way we interact with and look after the team here is also quite different, so both the team are happy and the guests are happy to a very high standard. It’s one of our goals to make the hotel feel like a home for a guest.
Yes, the rooms do have a sense of being like a lovely small apartment rather than a hotel.
That sense of belonging – we want our guests to feel that they belong here. So, the culture, the way we approach the guests and do things in the rooms, is quite different. For me, wherever I work, I have one thing in mind; you must feel like you are the owner of the product. The way you do the job, it’s not just a job. The hotel feels like it is my baby.
When the hotel first opened, we had already entered the Covid era, with cleaning protocols that were quite different than before, right?
With the Covid-19 pandemic, we follow a programme developed for the highest level of cleanliness, called Clean Touch. It involves checking that routine cleaning is done right throughout every 24 hours, that specific cleaning products must be used on all the touchpoints, with regular sanitisation. Because I was already familiar with the programme from my previous role, from Day One here we were doing that. It ensures the health and wellbeing of our guests and team are top priority.
What are, for you, the little aspects of housekeeping that always catch your eye if they’re not done, that a guest might walk right past and not see? When we came in, I saw you swoop on a cloth on the luggage trolley – which I hadn’t even noticed – and whip that away.
My first focus is always the lobby as I believe it is the first impression of a hotel, so it sets the tone for the entire experience. If I see cushions out of place, I will always tidy them. My eyes go to all the corners – behind the sofa, behind the pot plants, the track of the sliding doors. For the Landing Suite rooms, I do a VIP check before the guests arrive to make sure everything is right.
I’m going to guess that you are the sort of person who sits down at a restaurant table and has to straighten all the cutlery if it’s even a little bit out of place?
Absolutely. I am passionate about my job and I always find satisfaction in the outcome of things that are done meticulously. When I am a guest at a hotel, the first thing I notice is the bed, so when I enter a room and the bed is presented nicely, with the corners tucked right and the pillows placed nicely, that gives me a satisfied feeling. After I have checked that the bed is neat and tidy, I make sure nothing is missing from the drawers or wardrobes. Before I leave, my eyes go around again, to make sure I have not missed anything. Is the TV remote sitting with the right alignment? It must be consistent between all the rooms. If a guest stays in Room 608, and the next week they stay in Room 708, everything must be exactly the same, with the same or even better service, every day they are here. It cannot be that they arrive at the hotel and on the first day they have the best service, and the day after it is not quite the same. The arrival rooms, the checkout rooms, and the stay-over rooms must be treated with the same high standard. That’s the main thing, consistency.
It must be time-consuming work maintaining that level of perfection.
The rooms have a lot of things in them, a lot of corners, and it takes time to check them all. Vases, where the telephone sits, books, all those things. And the ceilings are high as well, so where we put the blankets in the wardrobe, we have to climb up to check on top to make sure nobody has thrown anything up there.
At The Hotel Britomart, the Sans bathroom products are presented in full-size refillable bottles rather than miniatures, in order to reduce waste. So instead of sweeping used containers into the bin, your team refills them. Was that a new way of doing things for the housekeeping team?
That was something very new for me but I was excited to take up the challenge. Being a sustainable hotel, refilling the hair and body products is quite challenging, but I am proud to be part of a hotel that cares for the environment.
With so much to do right here in the precinct, do you find that guests pop in and out of their rooms a lot more frequently than they might at other hotels?
Yes! The location is so handy for our guests to experience what the city of Auckland has to offer, though it does give us a smaller window of time to clean in. Guests like to shop here – the number of shopping bags we remove from the rooms after check-out is very high! We get a lot of feedback that our guests really like that they don’t have to go far from the hotel to do everything they want to do.
How about for yourself? Do you like to spend time in the precinct outside of work?
My absolute favourite is The Store for coffee and lunch. I also like Amano, The Brit, and Tiffany & Co is right there.