Salthouse | Keeping House

Clare Burnett has been with Gough Hotels for 16 years and is now Housekeeping Manager at the Salthouse Harbour.  Here, our editor Richard Stewart quizzes the effervescent team leader on the behind the scenes team that gets the least recognition in most hotels:

salthouse harbour hotel, penthouse, room view

34 year-old Clare (I’m advised that May is birthday month, so perfect timing to light up her name!), joined Gough Hotels at 19 years old, straight from college and has not looked back since.  Starting in the restaurant at the former Marlborough Hotel and moving up to supervisor, Clare then desired a change to her shift patterns and this, along with self-confessed OCD, led to an application to the housekeeping team. Working 7am to 3pm shifts and now with “evenings to herself”, Clare “loved it” and this job satisfaction, along with a solid work ethic, allowed Clare to work her way up the ladder again to her current title of Housekeeping Manager.  

Clare welcomes regular, random inspections of the rooms by management colleagues; as the positive outcome of these, reinforce that Clare and her team of an assistant manager, 2 supervisors and 14 housekeepers are doing a good job.  A ‘normal’ day starts out between 7am & 8.30am with filling in 14 separate housekeepers’ ‘boards’.  Each board lists multiple rooms that require making up, either for new guests or as a further night’s extension to an existing stay.  Between 8.30am & 2pm up to 40 minutes per room is allocated if needed.  “Rooms tend to take longer to clean at weekends” explains Clare.  “Weekday/corporate guests just ‘shower and go’, whereas guests staying for ‘pleasure’ will use the room more” continues Clare.  2pm to 3pm sees paperwork completed and then it’s over to the turn-down team from 6.45pm onwards.  The team boasts a very low turnover of staff, with most members having 5+ years’ experience.  

Lastly, I fire off a couple of quick questions to Clare……..apparently ‘Do Not Disturb’ on your door handle means just that - so don’t forget to remove the sign if you want your room made up!  ….Although highly unusual, if you ‘accidently’ pack a bath robe or hairdryer, expect a polite email from reception.

“There aren’t any downsides to my job” according to Clare.  A corporate answer?  No, I don’t believe so.  Clare openly admits to “loving” her job and despite maternity leave planned from August, you get the impression that a return to the job in some capacity is in Clare’s future.