MEET THE TEAM: NIMFA
So you’ve worked at the Royal Garden Hotel for more than 20 years – what makes it such a good place to work?
I enjoy working with my colleagues because they are from so many different cultures. I also enjoy meeting new guests. And the most special thing to me is when we have regular guests who know me and ask for me, even if I am not here. They always want me to serve them but sometimes I can’t if I am busy, although I always greet them. It’s very enjoyable.
What do you enjoy about the staff diversity?
All the different nationalities, working with people from Hungary, Italy, Moldova, the Ukraine… everyone is different! Sometimes I learn phrases, such as “good morning” and “how are you?” in other languages.
You seem very popular with the guests, are there any that you look forward to coming to the hotel?
That is difficult to answer. There are a lot of new guests, and some long-term guests who I am very happy to see every time they visit. But I act the same with everybody. I can see which faces are new. If I have seen them before I always recognise their face and I like to greet them, so the guest will be happy. I never forget a face, even after 10 years.
Does that mean you know individual guests’ preferences, such as food and wine?
Yes, I know what some of the guests want, particularly breakfast. Once I see them, I order straight away. It is nice for the guests to have someone remember what they had, for example their breakfast preferences, or which wine they want at lunch. They don’t need to ask which wine is best with fish or meat because I help them with that.
Do you get to influence the menu?
When we have a new menu, Chef will explain it to me first and then I ask if there are nuts or any ingredients that guests might be allergic to, as some of the guests ask me for advice on that. Once they tell me about their allergy, I ensure they are looked after and that the kitchen staff know the person has an allergy.
What do you like most about working at the hotel?
From when I start in the morning, I just like to make people laugh because I want them to be happy. If I think their face is not happy, I want to say something to change that. I have started at 5:30 in the morning every day, since I started working here, waking up at 4 o’clock. Of course, I have a day off sometimes… but I enjoy getting up early!
How would you sum up the atmosphere at the hotel?
The atmosphere is perfect! Everybody is very welcoming. That’s why the guests keep coming back here.
Has it always been like that for 20 years?
Yes, to be honest, it has always been the same.
What do you get up to away from the hotel?
I’m always busy at home. Sometimes I go out with my children and my family. During my day off I am usually cleaning, all the time. Even though my daughter lives with me, I like to look after her on my day off. All my children are like babies to me. I love looking after people, that is why I always check if they need something, even when I am tired. If I’m tired, I try not to show it, I don’t bring my problems to work.
What do you think are the key attributes of your role here?
A good memory – for example if a guest is lactose intolerant I make sure I tell the chef.
Any other specific skills?
Excellent customer service. To look after my guests and check that everything is perfect all the time. If one of the guests calls you, you must go straight away. You have to make sure the guests at the hotel enjoy their stay; and then also to be able to work under pressure and to work quickly when the hotel is busy.
Do you still enjoy working at the hotel when it’s busy?
I do, yes. Especially Christmas when we can have large bookings as I enjoy it when there are lots of people. Some of them are our regular guests and some of them are new, but everyone is happy at Christmas.
Do you have a role model at the hotel?
My role models are the managers. They are confident, friendly, and helpful to the guests. The department manager has an outstanding knowledge of the business. He ensures guests receive the best possible service by accommodating their needs .
Lastly, if you were recommending the hotel – why would you recommend it?
I would say because we are friendly and approachable, and the food and facilities are excellent. The hotel is one of the best London has to offer. There are a lot of local attractions. The hotel is located near Harrods and overlooks Kensington Gardens. It is a short walk from London's most famous Museums. There are lots of places to eat, parks and local pubs. The tube is very close too.