Housekeeping staff at Fairmont Dubai were crowned the region’s finest after taking home the gold medal at the debut Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions.
In what was a first for the region, the competition pitted teams from resorts across the Middle East against one another at The Hotel Show Dubai, tasking them with sprucing-up ransacked hotel rooms against the clock.
In total, 26 hotels took part, with Fairmont Dubai coming out on top after a final battle with neighboring Rose Rayhaan by Rotana, watched by hundreds of spectators.
Pamini Hemaprabha, competition judge, executive housekeeper and master trainer at the Emirates Palace, said: “The Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions has raised the motivational bar much higher for the housekeeping division.
“The turnout of participants was testimony to the success of the event. The passion for housekeeping was oozing out of the performance from Fairmont Dubai. They had pace, perfection and apt coordination. Needless to say, every single winner and participant was fantastic in their own right.’’
Lakmal Mawella, executive housekeeper, Address Boulevard added: “The level of competition underlines the high standards of housekeeping led by the region’s hospitality sector.”
The three-day contest put two teams of housekeepers head-to-head at a time, giving them just seven minutes to put their messy rooms back to their original states.
Each ‘suite’ featured a king-sized bed supplied by mattress supplier Restonic – the competition’s principal sponsor – curtains, flooring and TV units. The teams were challenged with cleaning them to the highest standard.
The teams first had to collect the necessary items required from across The Hotel Show exhibition floor from competition sponsors Diversey (cleaning products), Kazareen (fresh linens), Wanzl (housekeeping trolleys), and uniforms by A. Ronai, before the clock started on the seven minutes dedicated to tidying the rooms.
The final results were determined by a judging panel featuring three members of the UAE Professional Housekeepers Group: Pamini Hemaprabha, Tatjana Ahmed and Lakmal Mawella, who scored every round based on technique, timing, cleanliness and overall impression.
Fairmont Dubai took home the gold, Rose Rayhaan by Rotana took silver, with Fujairah’s Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort winning bronze.
Tatjana Ahmed, housekeeping specialist with Hyatt Hotels, said: “We were able to showcase the technicalities involved in proper guest room cleaning and maintenance, as well as the hard work put in to achieve a perfect overall impression.
“Fairmont Dubai were spot on in all disciplines. It was great to see that they had their entire management supporting which also contributed to the overall great atmosphere during the competition. Every participating team has put in a great effort – I’m sure a lot of training preceded the competition.”
Speaking on behalf of Fairmont Dubai, Lea Ruhimbaccus, executive housekeeper, said: “During the competition our team applied the same techniques used during day-to-day operations.
“We pride ourselves on ensuring the utmost quality and ultimately owe the success to our other colleagues as well, including our executive committee and hotel’s general manager, who were cheering for our housekeepers throughout the three-day championship.”
Mary Germaine, housekeeping room attendant, was the sole female in the four-person team representing Fairmont Dubai.
She commented: “We are very thankful to have had the opportunity to join the competition. For all the participating colleagues from Fairmont Dubai it was the first-time to experience something like this.
“From a personal perspective, I believe that if you love your job with all your heart and are dedicated to the tasks, you can surpass all the challenges. Competing is always fun – ultimately it’s not about who will win and who won’t, but it’s about an attention to detail, boosting the self-confidence of the participants, facing the challenges of time-management and most importantly – about the team work.”
The Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions took place as part of the feature line-up for the 18th annual edition of The Hotel Show Dubai 2017, also including The Middle East Hospitality Leadership Forum and The Runway.
Event organisers have already confirmed that the competition will return to the 19th edition of The Hotel Show Dubai, 16-18 September 2018 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.