Cyprus Mail

Xmas toil: Cinderella: watching the party but 16 bathrooms still to clean

By Annette Chrysostomou

PAPHOS hotels are more than 80 per cent booked over Christmas and the New Year, and while this may be good news for the country’s economy, it often has a different meaning for those who work in the industry, as instead of celebrating, employees in hotels get to watch people eating and drinking while they have to work hard to make this a great time for the guests.

My experience as a vocational trainee in a German hotel has left me with the capacity to appreciate those who do this kind of job, though it has also given me another chance to visit Cyprus!

Being a trainee, one gets to work in all sorts of departments, but chances are over the ‘festive season’ you get to serve or prepare food, or clean. And Christmas dinner is not likely to be a buffet, which is easier on the staff, but a nicely decorated four-course meal of good quality, all of course to be served at the right time and with the right drinks as, over the holidays, expectations are high, with hotels full of people wanting that special dinner or New Year’s Eve spread.

Thus, I have memories of tired feet and enviously glancing at glasses filled with champagne. As well, trying to find an empty guest room to clean early the next morning, while the guests  – understandably tired from all the eating and drinking – will likely sleep late. You cannot simply happily wait for guests to wake up when the task is to clean 16 rooms plus 16 bathrooms between 7.30am and 4pm.

Well, this is how it works most of the time. As I said, I got lucky once. Apart from serving and cleaning, at the time – this was before mobile phones – a few people had to work as telephone operators, and it was my turn one year.

A wealthy guest for some reason decided to give a tip to that department around Christmas – €3,000. And our boss – bless her, still! – decided not to keep it all for herself, which she could have done without even telling us – but to divide it up among six of us – which for me meant money for a flight to Cyprus. Because this is the (only) nice part of working over the holidays – you get days off afterwards to make up for it.

On the whole, I’d rather have a normal day job, though….


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