Meet the Team: Brian Chrost
Having been given his first taste of hotel housekeeping by his mother at the tender age of just 10, Brian joined the hotel 20 years ago and has progressed through the ranks to head up the hotel’s Housekeeping department. He spoke to us about why it’s the attention to detail that makes the difference…
So you started out as a 10 year-old in the Charing Cross Hotel with your mum?
Yeah, she was Head Linen Keeper there. Every weekend, I used to help as a 10, 11-year-old, already filling in documents, sorting and distributing deliveries and so forth. I think it’s probably that stint as a child that made me, that was quite an interesting job. I still love it, every aspect of it.
So what are the key skills that you need to do your job in Housekeeping?
Well obviously, you need to be good with guests. You go with the assumption that the guest is always right. Obviously, you need to have respect for everybody. All of the staff play a vital role in the whole hotel, no matter what they do. There also has to be an element of pride attached. To know that when you go home, you’ve given it the best that you can.
That community of staff really makes the RGH what it is, would that be fair?
Yes, very fair. And not only that, but also the focus that we have on guest attention. We try to learn from our guests. We learn something and then the next day, we can surprise the guest and say: “We remembered from yesterday that you asked for this type of tea, and here it is, you didn’t even need to ask for it”. So that’s what we’re trying to achieve.
If I’m looking for a hotel in London, why would I choose the Royal Garden? What’s special about it?
I think because there is such a core of people who have been here for so long, that they are very much like a family and they work together so well. Problems get identified pretty quickly and they get rectified pretty quickly. If we do see a stumbling block, it will get pointed out to various departments. We’ll say: “Look, we’ve got to take care of this, we’ve got to do that”. I think that the quality of our product really is second to none.
In terms of guest interactions, are there any memorable ones you can think of?
Only just last weekend, we had a guest unexpectedly return and bump into one of our floor housekeepers. Because of the language they share, you could tell they had a rapport. You could see the delight in the man, that he was back at the hotel. He was just beaming that he saw a recognisable face and he was obviously told in his language: “Look, your room is all set up and everything is fine, you know we’ve taken care of it”. That sort interaction makes a difference. It was like a reunion of long lost friends, it was heart-warming.