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Mona Seth, head housekeeper, Malmaison hotel, Belfast

13 October 2005

Aged 10, Mona Seth watched the construction of the Hyatt Regency hotel in New Delhi and decided that this was the hotel she wanted to work in when she grew up.

After moving to the UK with her diplomat father and studying hotel management at the Birmingham College of Food (1988-91), she returned to India and realised her childhood ambition 10 years on as an employee. "My first job as guest relations executive at the Hyatt Regency hotel was like a dream come true," she says.

A year later Seth got married and moved with her husband to south India, where the couple took on the management of Planters Court Resort, set on a coffee plantation.

"My husband was the manager, and traditionally the wife would take care of the housekeeping, which I did. It's a job that has grown on me and that I have grown into," Seth says.

After four years at the resort, she had a daughter and took a two-and-a-half-year break from work, which she says was very important to her.

Then came two years as executive housekeeper at an ITC hotel in Vapi, west India, after which the family relocated to Northern Ireland, where her husband was offered a job as assistant manager at Belfast's Ramada hotel just over a year ago.

Seth herself didn't struggle to find work and became executive housekeeper at Clandeboye Lodge hotel in Bangor, near Belfast. But the two-hour commute involving train, bus and taxi quickly proved too much, and after three months she started looking for something closer to home.

Belfast's Malmaison hotel needed a new head housekeeper and Seth was exactly what they were looking for. "Malmaison's image appealed to me, and as head housekeeper I have been given the opportunity to be really creative. There since spring, every day poses a new and interesting challenge, and I do love that about my job," she says. "My team of nine work brilliantly together and that, to me, is what it's all about."

Seth sees her biggest challenge in the UK as keeping good staff. "You spend so much time training people that it's a real blow when they leave after a few months and you have to start again," she says.

She aims to make her team's working day as interesting as possible and to encourage them to aim for internal promotions.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

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