17 Mar A day in the life of a safari lodge housekeeper
Being a housekeeper can be challenging. But would you believe that Time Management is the biggest factor? For a Lodge Housekeeper, the main lodge needs to be cleaned before you can get to all the occupied suites which are to be tidied and made-up before guests return from their morning game drive and breakfast.
The day customarily starts at 6am and finishes around 10pm (due to a smaller staff compliment because of Covid-19) and the most challenging aspect is making sure that all the details are seen to in making sure all the rooms are beautiful when the guests return from their morning game drive. This will include a variety of tasks, such as:
- Making up the beds, cleaning windows, dusting the furniture.
- Refilling all amenities and water jugs, minibars, etc.
- Doing turn downs – making the rooms look beautiful at night, as well as closing mosquito nets, etc.
- Putting out cushions on the deck chairs.
- Doing laundry – washing and ironing.
- Close up washed blankets, package homemade biscuits and filter coffee – all part of our Covid-19 policies.
- Sanitizing all the areas in the room and wiping off the decks.
When a new Housekeeping member joins the team, they will shadow the Head of Housekeeping for about 2 weeks until they are familiar with all the different routines.
The training includes how to use a variety of cleaning appliances for various applications, all the different cleaning products, the different amenities that need to be added to the guests’ suites, special towel folding, romantic turndowns, and of course sanitising the main lodge and suites.
We also take part in Fitness training, gaining knowledge with regards to room setup, cleaning skills, communication skills, using of equipment and how laundry works, attention to detail, maintenance (changing light bulbs, fixing plug seals, fixing WIFI) and health and safety.
Working in a Safari Lodge differs from working in a hotel in that we are in the middle of the bush, which is a lot quieter than in a town or city. In a hotel, you are dealing with small rooms whereas in a lodge the rooms are much bigger and a lot more attention to detail is required. Some of the challenges that a housekeeper faces are:
- Dealing with windows full of handprints, broken lights or glasses.
- Clothes left all over the room (and even in the bathroom).
- Rubbish under the bed.
- Having to change the bed from a single to a double and vice versa when it is already made up.
- Changing towels or bedding a couple of times in one day.
- Having to replace all amenities in the room if guests packed it all before check out.
Due to the lodges being smaller than hotels, we are able to offer more personalised service.
A typical day will include the allocation of duties to team members, including cleaning and stock takes at month ends. And when the lodge is really busy, we also assist with Food and Beverage service.
The best part of being a housekeeper is getting to see happy, relaxed guests enjoying their stay with us. Some of the best tasks to carry out are doing the different special turn-downs for occasions such as anniversaries, honeymoons, engagements or Birthdays.
It is wonderful to receive notes of appreciation from the guests and seeing how much they have enjoyed their room and their stay.