"Cleaning can be fun!"
Dina Di Luigi has been working in the Kurhaus Bergün since 2005. In this interview she tells us of the more unusual things she has experienced in over ten years there as Head of Housekeeping.
Dina Di Luigi, how did you end up in the mountain village of Bergün? And how did you become Head of Housekeeping in the Kurhaus?
I followed my brother from Portugal to Bergün in December 1990 and then worked in various companies in and around Bergün. I started out in Hotel Piz Ela as an all-rounder – in service, at reception, in housekeeping. During this time I met my husband. After the birth of my two sons I wanted to do a few hours again and asked if they needed anyone at Kurhaus Bergün. What started out as a few hours a week in laundry turned into a full-time position in housekeeping.
What does being Head of Housekeeping entail exactly on a daily basis?
Naturally cleaning rooms (for guests arriving, after they have left and of course during their stay), attending to and cleaning the public rooms, in other words looking after the wooden floors, antique lamps etc., as well as laundry work: washing, drying, ironing, and small repairs. When the Kurhaus is closed, we turn the place upside down and scrub and clean it from top to bottom.
What do you particularly like about your work?
I've been in housekeeping for many years now and I still find my work fun. I find working in a team important – and the team at the Kurhaus is always good for a laugh. My motto is: cleaning can be fun!
And what don't you like as much?
Like in many other companies, the Kurhaus is also subject to changes with new standards being defined. It always takes a bit longer until everything is implemented in housekeeping - although I would prefer changes to be implemented as fast as possible.
What do you find particularly important about dealing with guests? What do you particularly watch?
For me it is important that the guests at the Kurhaus Bergün feel at home, that they have a clean room and that they can take issue with us if that should be necessary. A lot of our guests have been coming here for several years. So you recognise them and you talk to each other in the corridor. Sometimes I even swap recipes with the guests or give them tips on hiking. At the Kurhaus Bergün, we have a familiar, uncomplicated relationship with our guests and we want to keep it that way.
You've worked at the Kurhaus for more than ten years. Can you remember any particularly funny, sad or exciting stories about your work here?
We see funny, crazy and sometimes slightly embarrassing things every day. One family, for example, came here with their pet chicken that lived in a cardboard box in the breakfast kitchen. You can imagine how shocked I was when I opened the door…
Then a few years ago we had a guest here who had a virus. Once he had left, we had to clean his room thoroughly wearing surgical masks. Everything had to be washed several times and it was only after a week that we could let the room out again.
Another time I was pretty surprised while I was cleaning the room and had to open the door because someone kept knocking. To my surprise there was a rather attractive, but naked man standing in front of me. We both went red and then laughed and apologised to each other.
Hotel guests often leave some part of their luggage behind in their rooms. Have you found any strange articles while you were cleaning or tidying away?
I am surprised over and over again at just how many things guests leave behind in their rooms. Usually it's everyday things such as socks, books, a toothbrush or a telephone charger. Things really get interesting when guests leave entire suitcases, a child's favourite teddy or even a set of car keys behind! How on earth do guests want to get home if they don't have their car keys with them? And once, somebody left something quite exotic and, well, X-rated behind… – I must admit we did have a laugh about that.