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True confessions of a happy housekeeper

Jessica Klinkenberg
Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 24, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - Even though she's only been cleaning rooms at the Coast Fraser Towers for less than three months, Tammy Travis has already seen a lot on the job.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Tammy Travis pauses while making a bed at the Coast Fraser Towers. She said she has "learned how to really clean," from her two and a half months with the hotel. - Jessica Klinkenberg/NNSL photo

Her dirtiest room?

"(Two guys) had gotten into a huge fight," she recalled. "There was blood all over the floor, all over the walls. I sat washing the phone cord for 20 minutes 'cause it was so covered with blood."

It took four staff members three hours to finally get the room properly cleaned and sanitized. But she said that case was the exception.

Typically, she can clean a room alone in 30 minutes if it's relatively clean or just over an hour if it's dirty.

The Coast Fraser Towers' suites feature kitchens, which also get a thorough going-over.

"I don't think a lot of people expect us to clean the oven (after every visit)," she said.

Her favourite thing to clean is the floor.

"We do it old-fashioned and get on our hands and knees to clean it. I just think it's interesting."

She said that room cleanliness depends on the length of the guest's stay.

"If they're only here for a day then it's easy," she said.

The longer the stay, the more time spent cleaning.

Housekeeping staff also do in-house cleaning, which means tidying up the room on a daily basis during the extended stays. She said those visits are her favourites.

"I like going into a room and make friends," she said. "I go in there and I'm nice and considerate, not because I have to but because that's the kind of person I am."

Housekeeping can also require skills in diplomacy.

"When I clean rooms with kids in them they tend to jump on the bed. There was one time when I had to read a child a book so she'd stop jumping on the bed."

She said some people want to see her make the bed so they know it's been made fresh, and one guest didn't want his room cleaned at all.

Hotel staff accommodated his wishes, and she said he did let them in eventually just to check on the room and help with a bit of cleaning.

She said the most common thing guests forget is clothing, but she has seen expensive cameras and laptop batteries get left behind.