PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Tuesday April 24, 2018 – Following a two-week training immersion in Barbados, the Caribbean spirit of collaboration has helped a hospitality professional from Haiti learn new skills to excel on the job.
Melicienne Drouillard, a long-serving member of the housekeeping team at Le Plaza Hotel in Haiti, benefited from a free internship at the highly rated Sandpiper boutique resort on the west coast of Barbados.
Drouillard, like many Caribbean professionals, did not have a visa to transit through the United States, which made her inter-regional trip complicated. It was clouded by canceled flights requiring 11th hour arrangements to transit via the French island of Guadeloupe to reach Barbados.
Thanks to the tenacity of Le Plaza’s management team coupled with the assistance of Louise John and Suzanne Shillingford-Brooks of Talkabout & Earth Solutions (who were both instrumental in developing the internship opportunity), she eventually landed in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The exceptional professional training and welcome extended by The Sandpiper’s Rooms Division Manager Henderson Wallace, and Yvette Clarke, Head Housekeeper, made up for her travails.
“They treated me as if I was a princess from the moment I arrived to the time I left,” said Drouillard, who believes the experience will help her to manage Le Plaza Hotel’s housekeeping department better.
As part of the training she learned about product safety, and how chemicals can affect guests’ well-being. She was very impressed with The Sandpiper’s personal touch from each housekeeper to ensure visitors feel warmly welcome. “Madame Yvette was so kind to show me around the island – in fact, everyone in Barbados was so welcoming,” she commented.
Drouillard was surprised and delighted to be hosted on in-depth tours of Southern Palms, Courtyard by Marriott and Ocean Two hotels, by their general managers and head housekeepers, and said “this really was an eye-opener to see different styles of housekeeping in action.”
Always a keen learner, Drouillard put herself through several Haitian housekeeping courses, gained a diploma from the Hotel School of Haiti, and has always gone above and beyond what is expected of her at Le Plaza.
Marc Pierre-Louis, General Manager of Le Plaza, warmly acknowledged the spirit and generosity of his Caribbean neighbor. “The care and openness of The Sandpiper to invest in our staff member demonstrates how Caribbean hotels can collaborate together to elevate regional hospitality,” he said. He is hopeful that this experience will result in many more cross-training opportunities and cross-cultural exchanges across the region.
Russell Croney, General Manager of The Sandpiper, said it was their pleasure to assist with the professional development of a Caribbean colleague. “Melicienne was a joy to work with and we are pleased that she has benefited from her brief stay with us in Barbados and that she enjoyed it, too. We believe in standards and genuine hospitality and are pleased that Melicienne learnt from our best practices and will be taking those principles back to Le Plaza Hotel with her.”
The Sandpiper provides stylish comfort, excellent cuisine and top-notch customer service. Staff training is paramount to the hotel and is reflected in their guests returning year after year to enjoy an atmosphere that is friendly, relaxed and professional.
Back at Le Plaza, Melicienne Drouillard has already made a presentation to the management team about her training, had a meeting with her peers to describe her experience, and is drawing up a list of suggestions for improving the Le Plaza Hotel guest experience.