You will be surprised to know what Dubai's hotel staff does in a day's work.
Cleaning Dh100,000 designers bags, sweeping balconies in the middle of a blinding sandstorm and even delivering children are all in a day’s work for Dubai’s housekeeping staff, according to research conducted by the upcoming Hotel Show Dubai.
On Wednesday, the show – with help from the UAE Professional Housekeepers Group – unearthed the results of a study into the day-to-day work by the city’s back-of-house hotel staff to keep things spic and span for guests of the emirate.
“The results go to prove exactly why Dubai’s vast international housekeeping teams are the backbone of the region’s world-leading holiday destination,” commented Gary Williams, Event Director of The Hotel Show Dubai.
In addition to their normal duties, many housekeepers revealed that they are often asked to perform a wide variety of bizarre tasks, such as polishing priceless jewelry and removing stains from expensive high-end luggage and handbags. One housekeeper even reported being tasked with making a pair of velvet loafers “shine”.
Others reported being asked to recover or return lost items, with one team reporting having spent hours looking for a guest who left Dh10,000 underneath his bed.
Several housekeepers also said they’ve had to come to the rescue as makeshift midwives for pregnant guests who found themselves about to give birth unexpectedly early.
“I was inspecting our rooms when I heard an unusual sound – a lady crying loudly, seeking help. I called a female colleague, and together we entered the room and found that the guest was about to give birth,” one housekeeper noted. “I called for more assistance – from duty managers to security – and she eventually had a baby girl there in the room.”
Once the baby was born and the mother taken to hospital, the housekeepers immediately got back to work.
“We immediately shampooed the carpet, changed the entire bed linens, and had the room perfect again in no time,” she added.
In true Dubai fashion, some guests have also made extravagant requests.
“One guest wanted to have the entire floor covered with linen, including the bathroom, due to being allergic to walking on floor. Since the bathroom is a bit of sensitive area we covered the floor with bath rugs and anti-slip mats,” another housekeeper recalled. “The entire room was carpeted to ensure the guest had a good stay.”
Dubai’s housekeepers to compete for championship
The research was carried out ahead of the Hotel Show’s hosting of the first-of-its kind ‘Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions’ competition, which would be held during the three-day show in September.
As part of the competition, two ransacked hotel rooms will be set-up back to back, and two teams of housekeepers will go head-to-head against the clock to put the room back in pristine condition. The overall winner will take home a trophy.
“The competition will be a great experience for all of the teams involved and for everyone watching. We’ll be sure to throw in some curveballs – whether this is a guest asking for something unusual, or adding a unique item to be cleaned – to keep the teams on their toes,” Gary Williams added.
A member of the competitions’ judging panel, Address Boulevard Dubai Executive Housekeeper Lakmall Mawella, noted that the “hotel industry keeps changing but many people think housekeeping is stagnant – it’s not.”
“It has moved a lot in the last decade in terms of technology and efficiency. A few years back it took one hour to clean one room – now it takes about 20 minutes,” she said. “This is the first time in Dubai that we have encountered a competition like this. Although housekeeping is everywhere – and is one of the key ingredients in keeping guests clean, safe, happy and coming back to a hotel – it is often forgotten.”
“We are the unsung heroes of the hospitality industry, and this is a great platform for people to see what housekeeping is all about,” she said.