Shirley Wood, Head Housekeeper Holiday Inn, Kensington Forum, London

A BIT ABOUT Holiday Inn, Kensington Forum, London

Located in one of London’s most iconic borough’s and two minutes’ walk from three Tube lines. The Holiday Inn Kensington offers 11 naturally lit event spaces holding up to 400 delegates.  Great networking and break-out areas are supported by a staffed business centre and excellent WIFI throughout the hotel.

Shirley Wood has a big job!  No, we mean big! Head Housekeeper at the 906 bedroom Holiday Inn, Kensington Forum London.  Managing over 80 staff, no one day is ever the same!  meetingsclub caught up with Shirley as she took a 12minute breather before running off back up to the 27th floor.  The views from the top are amazing by the way. 

Why did you choose to get into the world of hotels?
I started as a waitress at the Rubens Hotel.  I didn’t particularly like that and so decided to have a go at being a Chambermaid as the role was known then – Room Attendant now.  I had planned to go back to college but liked it so much and the money was good.  It was a hard training ground, but I learnt a lot from the Head Housekeeper and worked my way up to Senior Floor Supervisor. Twenty- six years later I left and have been here at the Forum ever since. 

Who inspires you most?
Dorothy, the Executive Housekeeper and my boss.  She’s very smart, supportive, fair and methodical in the way she works.  We have a large team, she gives clear direction and always picks up on peoples’ strengths for the greater good of the department.  

If you could work anywhere in the world where would it be?
I love the job I am doing here in London, but I would like to do a similar job in Dubai.  The shopping is marvellous, the weather great and it’s a really diverse community of people. 

What has been your proudest moment?
Getting married and then having my son who is 15 now.  The first moment I held him it was instant love. 

What piece of advice would you give to your teenage self?
Be courageous.  Find your goals.  Set your sights on what you want to achieve and go for it.  Don’t hold back and go and get what you want. 

What three items would you bring to a desert island?
1.Some matches to get a fire going – to keep warm and to create smoke signals 

2.A hat to keep the sun off 

3.Water – you have to be hydrated! 

What did you do last weekend?
My husband and I stayed at the Savoy Hotel for a night.  He won last year a prize at the Concierge Gala Night to stay at the Savoy.  We were picked up by a Rolls Royce, had a beautiful suite complete with Butler.  Dinner was superb.  Next day we decided to make a weekend of it and headed off to Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire an amazing golf Resort, before returning on Monday morning. 

What is your favourite place to travel to?
Orlando in Florida we go every year and love all the theme parks and rides. 

Is there anything on your bucket list that you haven’t yet done? 

Learn to drive.  I need to get out there and get it done.

What is your favourite APP?
Instagram – I love my photos and also follow the lives of my favourite actors like Neil Brown Jnr and Toni Trucks from SEAL Team.  It’s also a great way to catch up with my family and friends all around the World. 

What is your favourite food?
Chinese – Crispy Duck with pancakes!  

Do you binge watch and if so, what do you watch?
Bones.  I binge watch Bones all the time.