Hotels have long been a home away from home for weary travelers and The Grand Summit Hotel has been at it for more than 140 years. Many guests rank the sight of a familiar face as they enter a hotel among the most important aspects of their reasons to return to a property.
No employee embodies this benchmark of hallowed hospitality better than The Grand Summit Hotel’s Josette Joseph who, like the hotel’s Concierge John Augusta, has been a fixture at the venerable property for over three decades.
Josette came to the hotel from her native Haiti in 1982 where she worked as a teacher in the Haitian school system. Josette joined the then Summit Suburban Hotel in 1984 as a member of the housekeeping team. Her diligent work ethic and attention to detail allowed her to quickly rise to the position of Supervisor, where she has lead a team of housekeepers for 30-plus years.
“We consider ourselves very lucky to have employees like Josette, who come to work every day ready to tackle the toughest part of our business while doing it with a smile and pleasant air about them,” says long-time Director of Housekeeping Manny McCaskill. “The hotel has 149 rooms of all types and sizes, and having someone who serves as an extension of me, is integral to what we do on a daily basis.”
In any hotel setting, the housekeeper is often the employee the guest has the most interaction with, and thereby among the most important to the hotel’s success. One of the true luxuries that the hotel business affords its guests, is the personal attention the room gets while the guest is staying in a property. It is, without question, one of the most critiqued parts of a guest’s stay -- and one of the most appreciated. When housekeeping is done right, it makes all the difference in the world.
“The differentiator for our business to our economy competitors is our ability to provide personal service to the guest during their stay with us,” offers Assistant General Manager Michael Marino. “Josette has been an invaluable part of the fabric of the hotel for so long, that it is impossible to imagine the operation without her.” Having someone enter a room that you are staying in is something very personal, and having long-time staff who understand the sanctity of that is something all hotels strive to provide.
The Grand Summit Hotel employs a team of housekeepers that maintain its 149 guest accommodation and suites and public space. The property management considers the staff its most important, and many of the long-time members take extreme pride in the work they perform. “We realize we are welcoming people into our home, and that is a responsibility we take very seriously,” says Marino.
The hotel's guest-first philosophy and culture is embodied by the staff throughout its properties. “We look for people who will stay with us a long time,” adds McCaskill. “The ramp-up period it takes for us to bring someone up to the level of work we expect takes time, so we seek those who want to be part of our framework.”
Josette resides in Orange, and is the proud mom to six children, five of whom live in the states with one in her home country of Haiti. Josette’s second husband Ovid, whom she met at church, was a bellman at the hotel. She beams when you ask her about her 11 grandchildren. It is a sense of pride only a mom and grandmother knows. It is a similar pride The Grand Summit Hotel staff speaks of when Josette Joseph is the topic of conversation.