Hotel Management.....Why Do I Do This?

31 January 2008

Pigs in Shit.

I have always had issues with staff/managers/anyone without a reservation/ who havent paid a deposit, using the Hotel accommodation, (I fucking hate it) especially on a long term basis.

In a previous Hotel, where I was Accommodation Manager, the room attendants would stand in the doorway of our 'live-in' chefs' room and say 'where do we start?' It was a typical, 'lad away from home' scenario, drink, guitars, girls, more drink, dirty clothes strewn around the room, enough aftershave lotion to sink a battleship, usually spilled all over the dresser, lad mags, used tissues (!!) To add insult to injury, he always left his payslips open on the desk, and the girls would give out for the rest of the day about how much money he was getting, when it was them who had to clean up his shit!! His chefs whites were always in a crumpled heap on the bathroom floor, (his bathroom had no lights for a whole week once, and he didn't report it, so how the hell he washed himself properly I don't know, what am I saying, he's a lad!...but also a chef...eww!)

This was a 4* establishment. But he was a lovely guy, so he kinda got away with it!

Today I was literaly pounced on, on the drive up to the Hotel, I was flagged down in the car by the housekeeping supervisor and one of our cleaners. They were bouncing, mad, boiling with rage, which isn't a pretty sight to arrive at work to...!

'You have to go and have a look at that lodge the guys have used, it's unbelievable!!'

'The guys' being members of staff who have been living in for a couple of months.

Young, unattached males, with Mammys who do everything for them, on a good salary and a very short walk to work, are going to erm, enjoy themselves, use their leisure time to the full.

Unfortunately, their accommodation usually suffers.

The suffering then goes down the line to the cleaners, who, although justified in their complaints, make it their duty to inform anyone and everyone who will listen, that they have just had to clean dried vomit off the bath,(?!!FFS!) dried poo off every toilet, pick used condoms out of the bathroom bins, that have no liners in, scrub caked on grease from pots and pans that were left in the kitchen sink, sand blast the oven, wade their way through bedding that has been stained with 'God knows what' clean every cup, saucer, tea pot, and plate with bleach before putting them in the dishwasher, again. 'Deep cleaning' has taken on a whole new meaning today!

The suffering is then passed onto the Manager, who, has to inspect the damage and make a report, arrange for specialist collection of the soiled duvets, pillows, and bedding, has to arrange for the carpets, mattresses and soft furnishing to be steam cleaned, and calculate the cost. She also has to try to smooth the waters between the lads and the cleaning staff, who are now spitting fire at each other, and field questions from the GM who wants to know 'how bad' the damage is, 'did you take photographs?' and will 'deal with it' himself..

Down the line it goes, around and around, pointless, timewasting exercises which could have been avoided if they had had a tiny bit of potty training from Mammy, if only she had taught them to put their used toilet paper in the toilet, not on the floor. If only she had taught them to USE the toilet. If only she had taught them to cook real food, and made them eat their meals at the table, maybe, just maybe they wouldn't have eaten so many takeaways and wiped their sticky fingers on the wall beside the bed....!

If only we had been allowed to do housekeeping once a week for them, but no, they wouldn't pay, so the crap built up, the cigarette smoke became more and more embedded in the walls, the curtains, the carpets.....if only they had washed their feet more often then the acrid smell of cheese would have been lessened.

To the end of the line...the dirty little bastards themselves. They actually thought that the cleaning would take an hour as 'it's not too bad' in reality it took three ladies four hours to clean it out, without dressing the beds, as they are going to be cleaned later today, and all this will put the lodge 'out of order' until at least Tuesday next.

All this has to be accounted and paid for, the extra man hours, the cleaning materials, the contractors, the loss of revenue from the lodge being OOO, not to mention the now, very bad feeling between the girls and the dirty bastards, as the girls have told everyone how bad it was, and the lads have been blaming each other!

I love my job, I know how lucky I am to be here, and I enjoy looking after such good quality accommodation and facilities, but it never fails to amaze me how anyone can abuse their rooms/lodging, what sort of parents raise these pigs?

I 'lived in' for at least three or four years all told, and I never, ever let my accommodation get in that state, in fact, in some of the staff digs I stayed in I made vast improvements!! I painted, I cleaned, I fixed plumbing, I made curtains....Jesus I sound like the perfect tenant!

Where's me calculator?

26 January 2008

Very Very Very Ingracious Punters

Hmm, I thought my pizza tasted funny!

God knows what the good people of Ireland have been drinking in our lovely, creamy, packed full of calcium..(carbonate and yummy dioxins)milk...all these years, from what I have seen there has been enough plastic burned on the old fire to knit a new ozone layer.

Not guilty of course, I go to the tip, well, hubby goes to the tip, but he uses my car so that's the same.

Today we have some VIP guests...Prime Minister? No that was yesterday, Nelson Mandela? one day, no, we have, lets see, journalists, sales managers' brother and his lover, someone from the property pages of the local rag, who else, oh yeah, the manager of a local firm who 'may' or 'may not' want to have a training course here in the summer but he can't decide yet so we are to butter him up anyway 'just in case'......fuck me, I am not worthy to be in such company.

Question to the floor..what constitutes a VIP?? or, as I am told these specimens are VVVIPS?? Someone who 'might (if they can get their act together and decide to) make a booking', or someone who actually matters?

My supervisor rang me to check if these were to get any 'special' treatment, my answer is NO NO NO... we should provide the same level of accommodation and service to all our guests.

I don't care if they write a few lines in some obscure golfing rag that no-one reads, or they might just tell Ireland that the barman forgot to put ice/olive/salt/martini, in his martini....I'm just too feckin' cynical for this industry sometimes.

Example of how these liggers and langers should be made to pay for every square of toilet roll;

Just to be nice, because we didn't have to, we gave one of our journalist 'friends' a welcome breakfast hamper on arrival.

This included, home made soda bread, bacon, eggs milk, clonakilty black pudding, sausages, orange juice, honey, etc etc....I could hardly carry it it was so heavy and laden with goodies.

The next morning, one of my colleagues took a call from them, her face, I am told, went from Irish pasty to red to crimson to blue because she was holding her breath to stop herself exploding.

Consummate professional that she is, she kept her reputation intact by not losing her temper and dealt with their request.

The wife of the journo had called to complain about, not to ask for, or comment on, but to complain, loudly, bitterly, and with free use of expletives the lack of butter in her hamper!! She yelled as my colleague raised the handset to her ear, blasted her....can you believe the bare faced cheek of some people?

I wish I had been the one to take it down to her, I could have slashed their tyres into the bargain, given them something real to complain about, tut tut Queenie, get back in yer box.

I should soon be the proud owner of these fantastic badges made by Manuel, in the comfort of his utility room.

I was convinced I was getting a badger, that's how I read it, 'badger sets for the first ten to email', but now he tells me I'm only going to get a couple of little bits of metal with a very dangerous pin on the back that you could have someone's eye out with. Can't wait, now of course he knows where to send the hate mail as well...oh well in for a penny...!!

21 January 2008

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes...

My son, 7, is a dote, a beautiful child, (stop sticking your fingers down yer throat)!

Ok, I'm biased, but he is, his teachers have always complimented me on his good manners, the fact that he loves school, and always works hard. The friends he chooses are nearly always a mirror image of himself, like attracting like.

So why is he such a little devil at home??

He's highly intelligent, but also highly emotional, and a tiny bit volatile, so I suppose he needs to vent some steam when he gets out of school, and, if I were given the choice between him being a pain at school or at home, there's no contest.

He can't even blame his hormones like I can, bless him.

Sometimes though, usually when he has conveniently 'not heard' me ask him to tidy up his room for the twentieth time in an hour, and we are at the point of coming to blows, he comes out with a little gem of observation.

"Mum, do you like your job?"

"I do, why?"

"Why do people come to stay at your hotel?"

"Lots of reasons, work, weddings, holidays, why?"

"And they get all their food cooked for them right?"


"And their washing done, their room cleaned, they don't have to anything, it's all done for them, they don't even have to wash dishes?"

"I suppose so, why?"

"Why don't they stay at home then?" (Serious, honest question,... he, for once,was not being smart)!!

Can't argue with that, I love the way children think......little children, not grown up kids who should just, well, grow up.

Why do you go to work? Money? Job satisfaction? To get away from the kids for a few hours because they are turning your once sharp, inquisitive brain into custard?

Most people would be honest and say 'money' which is why today was a bit of a arse.

I had an office full of housekeeping staff this morning, looking for the 'lost week'... the week they were convinced that they hadn't been paid for.

I went in on my day off to sort it out, under the impression that if it wasn't, then they would walk off site.

I refuse to be held to ransom by anyone, especially staff that are very generously paid, reimbursed for breaks, and most days are finished by 3pm.

I went through all the timesheets, payslips, ran off a spreadsheet of when payments went into their accounts...... I did everything I could do to show that they had indeed been paid for every hour, every minute that they had worked. I would never see anyone work for nothing, it goes against the grain, so it upset me to think that my staff might be thinking that.

The confusion arose out of the fact they were paid early for Christmas, which threw the fortnightly pay out of kilter.

Round and round we went in circles, until, I gave up and asked our Accountant to explain it to them again....I really didn't have any new words left, and I was so bored with the sound of my own voice.

After approximately thirty seconds of him entering the room, the girls were ready to sprint back to work!!

He told them exactly the same as I had been saying for the last half hour!! I know where I went wrong, I should have put on a nice suit, splash of Paco Raban, flashed my super bleached teeth at them, and had a sex change......!

This was all stirred up beautifully by one lady, stirred up, and put on to simmer all weekend, by someone who should know better, and stop behaving like a child, you can forgive a child, but not a forty-something mother.

I now have to spend precious time, time I should be using more effectively, on repairing the bridges, rebuilding the confidence and trust that I have built with my team.

I won't be working on the bridge that the lady in question has burned behind her.

12 January 2008

"Vanity, vanity, all is vanity"

They say you see your age in others.

I meet old school friends occasionally, and think they look old, not imagining for a minute that they are thinking the same about me!

I don't really consider myself to be vain, but I suppose we're all guilty of a little vanity from time to time.

This morning though, something happened which prompted me out of my nonblogging habit!

I got a call to my office to go and speak to a new long term resident, so grabbing my phone and trusty screwdriver, (don't ask) I hot footed it to their front door.

looking a bit flustered and dishevelled, Mrs. N answered the door,

"Oh good, look, I need you to help me sort something out before my husband comes back from his business trip, I have a bit of a surprise for him"

Being a good little employee I obliged. I might not have if I had had prior warning.

Walking through to the living room I noticed at once some very large boxes wrapped in brown paper, next to these were more wrapped parcels, about five feet square, flat this time, mirrors maybe, or pictures?

"Your lovely maintenance man came over yesterday and put some hooks on the wall for me, I didn't want to ask him to help me, I thought I would wait for you, because, well, he's a man, and anyway I want a womans' opinion"

During the course of the conversation, it transpired that her husband would be celebrating his 50th birthday this weekend, and, as a special treat, she had organised a bit of 'art work' for him.

"Now, I thought I would put this one here"...

...she said as she lifted one of the flat parcels and proceeded to lift it up to the hook on the living room wall. She gave me that look my mother gives me when she is pretending to be a weak little woman, ('and well, you're much younger than me, your arms are stronger......'blah blah), so I held the picture in place, and she stepped back, making sure it was straight, then, she started to rip off the paper, which was fine until she pulled the whole thing off the hook, so it was now down to the same level as my face.

I had wondered why she hadn't taken the paper off until now, but one glance at the subject matter, now unfortunately, giving me an 'up close and personal' view of her nether regions answered that question.

I don't know how I managed to keep a straight face.

Maybe it was because she was so anxious that her husband would like his gift, and I didn't want to make her think that actually you know, maybe it's not such a hot idea to have a five foot square nude photograph of yourself beaming down onto your seating area, how ever 'arty' you might think it is. Besides, black and white photography does nothing for your wrinkles!

It got worse. In the other boxes were small sculptures, that she had obviously posed for, I felt a little uncomfortable handling them as they were a bit, er, graphic.

..."for the bedroom, I thought" she said,

"Duh, no, put them on the dining table...." Nearly saying it out loud...!

Some were quite sweet, of his favourite hobby, golfers with old fashioned plus fours and wooden clubs, that sort of thing. She must have raided Argos.

In all, we put up three very large black and white nude studies of herself. They leave nothing to the imagination. We wrapped a further five sculptures, rather beautifully with stunning paper, that must have cost more than the contents.

She asked me for my opinion, but what could I say...?

..."Oh I think it's a fabulous idea to have your fifty year old, pale, skinny, wrinkly, body dominating each and every conversation you will ever have in this house...your husband, hopefully, will absolutely adore his gift, and be very proud to have his friends and colleagues round for drinks so they can admire the love of his life in all her splendour..... I am so happy for you that you are so proud of your body, and want us all to look at it.

Once the word is out, you will have every security guy, green keeper, window cleaner, painter, builder, porter and waiter sticking their dirty little noses on your patio doors to have a Polish cleaners will throw a hissy fit and refuse to be in the same room as the things...their supervisor will have a coronary as she a bit 'churchy'...they look fucking awful you stupid, vain, pompous, old imbecile!!

You are an attractive, mature woman, they do not do you justice, whatever the photographer charged you it was too much...why the hell didn't you have some decent head and shoulder shots?"

Amazingly enough, I didn't go that far, I did what most of us in the Service Industry do...I lied.

I lied so convincingly that she was beaming when I left, smiling for Ireland!

If I have ever wanted to be a fly on the wall it's now, his car was there when I drove past earlier....I wonder what that big square thing next to the bin is?

Note to self; If I ever become that vain, hit self on head with FBH!