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Claudia Couwenbergh

Program Bachelor Degree
Graduation Year
Position Executive Housekeeper
Rocco Forte Hotel
in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Country Netherlands
"I have never regretted having chosen to study with César Ritz Colleges."

I graduated from César Ritz Colleges knowing that I had access to the very best hotel groups and had my initial career already sketched out. I decided to move from Switzerland to the USA and then worked for almost two years as a manager in development within the rooms division at La Casa del Zorro, a magnificent resort not far from Palm Springs. While there, I learnt a great deal about the subject and also took advantage of the opportunity to follow a number of individual courses on offer.

The next step in my career brought me back to the Dutch-speaking environment of Brussels, the capital of Belgium and Europe. There, in the Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo, I worked as a housekeeping supervisor. This brought me into close contact with different heads of state and governmental leaders, especially on frequent occasions when an EU summit was taking place.

Thanks to a headhunter, I received an offer as Assistant Manager Residence from Dubai and the One&Only Royal Mirage Hotel. I decided to accept the offer and was responsible for the housekeeping team as well as for the greeting of guests and other duties at the Front Office. After almost three years, I moved to the Raffles Dubai, a typical business hotel, where I gained a great deal of experience as Assistant Director of Housekeeping.

There was, however, still a gap in my curriculum vitae and that was in terms of working for a hotel opening. So, when the Rocco Forte Group asked me to take up the post of Executive Housekeeper in a hotel that was due to open in Abu Dhabi, I didn't hesitate. Working in a hotel that is still under construction is a whole new experience. I am currently engaged in selecting my staff and the various products and materials needed for my department. It is great to be able to select your own team and to start a department from scratch.

I have trained and have been working in various areas of the hotel business but I decided early on that housekeeping was the area on which I wanted to focus. It is a department with great responsibilities and is important within the hotel. Although it is also one of the most difficult departments in terms of retaining and motivating staff, I enjoy working with so many different cultures and find it a very vibrant department where each day is different.

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