Awards countdown: Laundry Person of the Year

Hotelier reveals 10 finalists in Laundry Person of the Year category

Reports, Hospitality trends, Hotel, Winners, News
Nittyanand Nadar.
Nittyanand Nadar.
Teddy Matthews.
Teddy Matthews.
Jay Chhetri.
Jay Chhetri.
Manoj Rai.
Manoj Rai.
Salah Noaman.
Salah Noaman.
Balaiah Thiyagarajah.
Balaiah Thiyagarajah.
Harry Bhatia.
Harry Bhatia.
Anura Priyashantha.
Anura Priyashantha.
Abbas Abdul Gani Atta.
Abbas Abdul Gani Atta.

In the eight instalment of the Hotelier Middle East Awards long-list announcements, we reveal the 10 finalists for the Laundry Person of the Year category, sponsored by Johnson Diversey.

They're responsible for the clean and crisp presentation for hotel staff, guests, bedroom and table linen, but our laundry managers have also reduced chemical consumption and made their department profitable among other achievements.

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The winner will be annouced at the Hotelier Middle East Awards 2009 ceremony at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai on October 14.

In the meantime, you can find out who made it into the running by clicking through to the next page.

Nittyanand Nadar
Laundry manager
Emirates Palace Hotel

Having spent 27 years in the industry, Nittyanand Nadar’s enthusiasm has led him to pursue laundry management studies and he now heads two laundries, serving heads of state dignitaries, diplomats and famous celebrities.
Nadar led his team of 42 by example, according to nominator assistant director of sales and marketing Hazem Harfoush.

Based on his proposal, hotel management agreed to start a catering laundry service by serving other hotels in the city; an initiative that has generated extra revenue.

An active member of the Environment Management Committee, Nadar was involved in setting up the laundry water recycling system.

“Nadar had the chance to work previously in an eco-friendly laundry, an experience that he has shared with his team at the Emirates Palace and he has implemented the use of cloth and paper wrappers and non-woven (biodegradable) covers for all guests making sure to eliminate the use of plastic,” says Harfoush.

Teddy Matthews
Laundry manager
Park Hyatt Dubai

Teddy joined Park Hyatt Dubai in May 2005 as a member of the hotel’s pre-opening team and the laundry department was one of the first in the hotel to score 100% for its service standards, as tested by hotel auditors, according to marketing communications manager Maria Baszista, who nominated Teddy.

“Teddy achieves his goals through constant training, internal promotions, motivation and recognition. He is actively involved in Hyatt Earth, our green-awareness programme,” says Baszista.

“Through his work and organisation, steam hours in the laundry have been reduced by eight hours a day, leading to a massive energy saving for the hotel and, more importantly, the environment.

“Teddy is not only a businessman, whose revenue and expenses are always under his control, but he is also skilled in the HR side of operations.

“He always displays his loyalty to Hyatt and its people; in Teddy’s eyes, they are his family here in Dubai,” adds Baszista.

In fact the department has one of the lowest turnover rates in the hotel and Teddy manages the uniform-issue room to ensure all 400 plus of Park Hyatt Dubai employees are always immaculately groomed.

Jay Chhetri
Laundry manager
Al Manzil Hotel and Qamardeen Hotels


Running a hotel laundry is a fulltime job, but Jay Chhetri successfully manages the laundry operations of two busy laundries.

“Chhetri’s hard work and dedication to his job over the past two-and-a-half years has been exemplary. He currently runs and manages both laundries; nothing is too much or too challenging for Jay,” says complex executive housekeeper Ulricke Hocke.

In spite of his heavy workload, Chhetri still makes time to streamline operations and help the hotel cut costs without compromising on quality, says nominator marketing and public relations manager Tracey Meskin.

“Chhetri also oversees the in-house laundry operations, including staff uniforms, hotel- and F&B linen, as well as helping with maintenance of the floors and public areas such as removal of stains on carpets and upholstery,” she says.

Hocke adds: “He is always ready to help; has a very cheerful nature and is a real go-getter. He manages to motivate and rally his team around him, ensuring that all are treated fairly, and most importantly, they are all happy”.

Manoj Rai
Laundry manager
Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai

The Shagri-La Hotel Dubai’s profit and guest satisfaction figures speak volumes for laundry manager Manoj Rai.

Manoj and his team were able to maintain a year-to-date laundry departmental profit of 63.7% and a guest-satisfaction index, which has risen 13% from 2008 to 78%.

“Further to his contributions to the company's performance, Manoj has always worked for the development of his team. He is a certified trainer of the hotel’s internal training courses aimed at the overall performance development of all staff,” says director of communications Neil Rumbaoa, who nominated Rai.

“With his expanse of knowledge and ability to communicate effectively, he did not just achieve the highest number of training hours, but also highest trainer’s evaluation rating as appraised by the participants of the training programme,” adds Rumbaoa.

Furthemore, in coordination with the hotel’s engineering department, Rai has been able to lay initial plans for the commissioning of a laundry waste-water recycling plant.

Salah Noaman
Laundry manager
Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel

Salah Noaman has developed his hotel laundry department to offer a service which also caters to the laundry requirements of surrounding hotels.

“With its proven laundry service, the Sheraton Doha has contracts with several hotels in Doha, catering to the laundry requirements of W Hotel, Merweb Al-Sadd Hotel, Mövenpick Doha, Mövenpick Towers, Sealine Beach and the Royal Hall. Noaman’s department is a substantial contributor to the hotel’s revenue,” says general manager Gerhard Foltin.

“Noaman is a leader who leads by example and is an asset to the property. He regularly conducts training for his subordinates for their improvement and development and puts an emphasis on delivering high-quality services.

“A multi-skilled individual, he has contributed to enhancing the hotel’s excellent service and consequently gained guests’ trust and satisfaction,” concludes Foltin.

Balaiah Thiyagarajah
Laundry manager
InterContinental Al Khobar

While he may have a nice smile, it is Balaiah Thiyagarajah — or ‘Rajah’ to friends —achievements in the laundry that have won him a place on our awards long list.
Thiyagarajah has reduced the consumption of chemicals in the department by almost 50% through a cost-effective, chemical-usage control programme, according to general manager Josef Sorger.

He was also partly responsible for the hotel entering into a contract with the Park Inn Hotel Al Khobar to provide laundry services; generating an additional income for the hotel.

“A person of mild demeanor, his greatest asset is his ever-smiling face and can-do attitude which augurs well for working better together,” says Sorger.

“Rajah’s a down-to-earth individual with a passion to make this hotel great. He is friendly and has won the admiration of his own staff and colleagues of other departments.”

Harry Bhatia
Laundry manager
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa

Harry Bhatia has created a working environment in which his team is continuously striving towards excellence while working as a cohesive team and flourishing under his guidance, according to nominator executive assistant manager of rooms Noel D'Couto.

“He is always looking for new ideas and is always on step ahead. He has set property standards in terms of servicing the entire hotel’s linens to ensure a smooth successful operation,” says D’Couto.

D’Couto says Bhatia is a key driver in ensuring financial obligations for his department are met and is consistently exceeding his monthly budgets for revenue brought into the hotel.

“Harry encourages and nurtures his team and provides cross training for their continuous growth. He is passionate and dedicated in providing a working environment where diversity is valued and individual aspirations are fulfilled. He is a mentor and is always approachable to share knowledge and experiences.”

Anura Priyashantha
Laundry manager
Dusit Thani Dubai

Anura Priyashantha ensures all linen that passes through his laundry is clean and crisp, he also actively explores opportunities to turn his operation into a revenue-generating unit, says nominator PR & marcom manager Nattira Anakasiri.

“He has successfully secured laundry business by being proactive in his efforts. Anura is well-respected by other hotels in Dubai; he is the one they turn to when they are faced with a breakdown in their own laundry facilities.

“Anura's commitment to his team members is just as great. He not only leads his team to deliver the best laundry and generate revenue, but he also ensures they progress in their careers,” explains Anakasiri.

As a dedicated departmental trainer, he sees that staff develop and achieve their goals and has promoted four team members to supervisory roles.

“Above everything else, it is Anura's passion and dedication to his work that sets him apart. His dedication and pride in his job is a great motivation for those around him,” concludes Anakasiri.

Abbas Abdul Gani Atta
Laundry manager
Dar Al Iman Inter Continental Madinah

General Manager of Dar Al Iman interContinental Madinah Aly Al Baity

With more than 22 years’ experience, Abbas Abdul Gani Atta has been on the pre-opening teams for eight hotels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“Laundry is an essential department in the hotel industry and guests’ first impression are created by the standard of staff uniforms, the linen in rooms and restaurants,” general manager Aly Al Baity, who nominated Abbas Abdul Gani Atta.

“Abbas Abdul Gani Atta has provided an efficient service; anticipating and taking care of guests’ needs to exceed their expectation and enhance the guest experience.

“In addition, he oversees all of the laundry facilities and controls operating equipment while effectively managing the department’s budget,” adds Al Baity.

Raj Kapoor
Senior laundry supervisor
Renaissance Dubai Hotel

PR&Marketing Communications Manager Yasmine Hidalgo

A low turnover and full-ratings on the laundry department’s associate-opinion survey reflect Raj Kapoor’s role-model management style.

“His quality of work is outstanding. He is an asset to the department and well liked by all associates. Developing people is his priority and he regularly trains staff on the latest trends in laundry to keep them updated,” says PR & marketing communications manager Yasmine Hidalgo, who nominated Kapoor.

Kapoor has also been recognised for maximising laundry revenue through proposed special offers and was instrumental in the reduction of laundry costs by negotiating contracts for outsourced laundry.

“Raj’s leadership focus is to motivate, encourage, support and develop associates, with efficient systems and clear rules that help everyone to deliver a consistent product and service.

“One of his greatest achievements is seeing four people he developed and trained working now in higher positions,” says Hidalgo.

Housekeeping manager Suvarna Bahadarpurka adds: “He also serves as the voice of the housekeeping team and a role model in eco-friendly practices by being an active member of the associate relations committee”.


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