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ITC Grand Chola, Chennai: Clean Maintenance of a Green Hotel

Maintaining hotels, always and at all times in the same standards, is a challenge in itself; maintaining Green hotels within the specified parameters is all the more challenging. Right from retaining the polish on the floor to the spotless transparency on the glass façade, cleaning and maintenance in hotels is an on-going daily activity which is given high priority.

Spread over a wide built up area of over 16,00,000sqft, more than 63 varieties of imported marble cover 10 lakh sqft of the surface area. The latest in cleaning technology has been applied to maintain these floors itself. “Depicting the architectural splendour of the Chola Dynasty, every aspect has been meticulously measured and cleaning schedules framed to ensure perfect housekeeping standards,” says Executive Housekeeper Pran Raina, who is backed with a wide experience of servicing the ITC hotels and the Best Housekeeper’s award.

Cleaning and maintenance are a rigorous process carried out round the clock in all three shifts with about 100 staff trained over the last two years in various services. “Cleaning of the massive structure is done with the latest cleaning equipment, eco-friendly chemicals and a professional team to meet high customer expectations and ensure a well-maintained premises at all times,” says Pran Raina.

Most of the cleaning happens at night when customer traffic is limited. On the different cleaning methods happening at different levels in the facility Raina says, “Cleaning needs application of pure common sense and proper attitude. Customer feedback too serves as a tool to achieving better results. Our customers have a long vested trust in our hotels. When they are at the ITC hotel they know they are in safe hands. We try our best to live up to these expectations.”

“The design of the structure is able to connect with the public. Nearly 1000 people visit this hotel on a daily basis. It is similar to the Taj Mahal in Agra. Each pillar and cornerstone at ITC Grand Chola, Chennai has a story to tell.” – Pran Raina

The basic flooring being marble, the floors are dry mopped every hour through the day with the major maintenance done during the night. Two dedicated teams work on marble polishing on a weekly schedule. The gloss level of the marble is maintained above 90%. Three Taski Swingo machines have been deployed for maintaining the floors. “Much R&D has gone into the training of our staff and today they take pride in running the machines through the hotel. As such, cleaning is a tiring job and is taken up when the area is vacant but with these state-of-the-art machines, cleaning is effortless and can be performed with ease even with people around. It is more a spectacle to watch.”

With a wide landscape area, glass façade, 600 guest rooms, suites & service apartment with eco-friendly fixtures and facilities, the SOPs and schedules of maintenance and housekeeping have been evolved over the last two years right from the stage of construction. The SOPs and various other schedules vary from a normal structure. It has to be ensured that we use everything that is top of the line. All the products are green and the equipment used are Green-certified. “We have deployed machines from Taski and chemicals from Diversey certified by Green Building Council.”

“Since ITC Chola has a different façade that has to be treated separately, it requires hi tech cleaning performed by skilled people who have the requisite experience. A lot of R&D has also been done on this front.”

Though ITC has its own benchmarks Raina, who is also the recipient of Best Housekeeper award and integrates his own travelling experience to global destinations to achieve best results, a regular audit system and continuous tracking by the ITC headquarters ensures perfection. Every day managers draw a thorough check-list, assign duties and monitor. “ITC has invested nearly 2 crores on six cleaning machines alone. We also source products from local vendors according to specific requirement. This helps us connect to the local people and contribute to the community too. And, we cannot fail since we have a firm rein over functioning and systems,” asserts Raina.

Besides hard floor surface, other surfaces like escalators, façade and accessories are included in the routine cleaning. “To avoid inconvenience to people, around 10 escalators in the hotel are cleaned during the night. While the daily cleaning is taken up during the night, spot cleaning is done during the day.

“All the 19 staircases are scrubbed and polished as per schedule. Right from cleaning of windows or accessories situated at a higher level to every corner from top to bottom are done under supervision.”

Cleaning at Grand Chola is not just in-house cleaning, public areas have been outsourced to a private contractor. Carpet, marble, window glass cleaning and pest control too are managed by contractual workers. “These workers are unskilled and they are given on the job training for three months by our training department. Within a week of their induction they become a part of the ITC staff. We motivate them constantly, and have received good results,” says Raina.

Care is taken to ensure that three swimming pools and the Kaya Kalp Spa where guests relax are maintained spotlessly clean. “The pools are cleaned daily and the quality of water in the pool and public showerheads are checked regularly.

“Mechanised cleaning of the pools is taken up through suction and sweeping methods designed for pool cleaning. Any particle floated in the open pool is sucked out intermittently. The water washed and drained out of the pools are recycled by using the latest technology available in the market.”

“We have outsourced pest control to a local company to help the local people grow by working in one of the iconic properties of Chennai. We ensure 100% herbal pest control products are used at the premises.”

Speaking of maintaining the façade of the hotel, Raina says a lot of water goes in glass window cleaning itself. “Recycled water which is as good as potable water is used for window washing. The water is treated in such a way that it does not leave behind any residue or streaks.”

Another of ITC’s green initiatives at Grand Chola is to go ‘paperless’. “While the rooms itself have hi-tech automated systems, from opening the door to drawing curtains, which is controlled through an iPad in every room, washrooms have bidets equipped with washing facility, giving the guest an option other than using toilet papers.”

Similar to the systems adopted at ITC hotels, Grand Chola too is looking at systems to recycle food waste to produce compost. “Garbage is treated at source by segregating into dry and wet waste. We are planning to install advanced machines from Excel for recycling food waste at the premises itself.”

These and many other initiatives and systems are being taken to enhance sustainability in keeping with the LEED Platinum certification received by ITC Grand Chola.

Inputs from Vijayalakshmi Sridhar


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