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In the 80 years since The Dorchester first opened its doors, the hotel has welcomed a constant stream of celebrities and royalty. Its guests expect nothing but the best and the woman responsible for making sure that they are never disappointed is executive housekeeper Eliette Machold.
Having worked in the front office of a hotel in Asia, Machold fell into housekeeping when she discovered it was more than just cleaning bathrooms. ‘What surprises people is how versatile my day-to-day job is,’ she says. ‘There is a whole spectrum that goes way beyond the bedroom and nobody sees it.’
Aside from making sure the Dorchester’s 250 bedrooms are all set for guests, Machold works closely with event organisers, preparing the 10 function rooms for anything from press junkets to weddings. On top of that she is heavily involved in the hotel’s frequent refurbishments, preventing the designers from getting carried away with far-out ideas and concepts.
'They often go for look and “wow” effect,’ Machold explains, ‘but I have to remind them that the rooms must be as good in two years’ time as they are new. So, for example, having leather on the bathroom floor isn’t going to work as I can’t clean it properly.’
With over four years under her belt at The Dorchester, you’d expect that Machold would have seen some interesting sights: ‘There is one man who has what I suppose could be called
a tie fetish. He has over 300 ties and they all have to be laid out but he only ever uses one.’
Despite her fulfilling a number of different roles in the hotel, it is the housekeeping team’s happiness that is a priority for Machold, who devotes much of her time to making their jobs easier. ‘When we switched from sheets to duvets my team weren’t happy as they said they would take too long to change,’ she says. ‘So I put holes in the corner of the covers to speed it up for them, and we had races to see who could make up a bed the quickest. Some can do it in three minutes now.’
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events, summer 2011