An Interview with Sjoerd van der Veen

Maintenance

What do you do at The Dylan and how long have you been here?

I work in the maintenance department at The Dylan. My background and skills are in carpentry and that’s primarily what I do. Many people are surprised that a hotel has a full time carpenter. But in 5-star-hotel like The Dylan, there are always projects for improvement in order to uphold the standard and luxury experience for our guests. A project that I might work on is a new closet for a room or structures for the foyer, for example.

All together I’ve worked at The Dylan for six years, however I left for a while in between in order to gain new experiences and sharpen my skills.

What’s the best part of your job?
Realizing projects in my own workshop. I love when a design or planned change to the hotel is suggested and I can think about the best approach. Watching as it all comes together is such a fantastic experience.

So there is a lot of creativity involved?
Definitely, from both sides, so from management and from my end. Mixing it together and seeing the result is very rewarding.

On an average day, do you collaborate a lot or do you tend to work alone?
It’s a bit of both. The technical service manager could approach me at any time with a project that needs to be handled right away. Then of course we have longer term projects that require constant communication between teams. Next week, for instance, we will be renovating a few showers and after that some rooms are getting new floors. We are never sitting still.

What does a typical day on the maintenance team look like?
On the maintenance team we have altogether five people and we all start our shifts together, which is very nice. We start the day with a coffee and twice a week one of us goes to the bakery to get some gevulde koeken, then we share what we did the evening before, check our emails. Most of the time we know what the day ahead will look like. If there is work in the kitchen, we have to start early because at 11 am the cooks are preparing lunch.

On a normal day, housekeeping might call and report something that needs to be checked out in a room. In a hotel there is always something. But if there is nothing urgent, we focus on our longer term projects. And even then no day is the same.

How do you contribute to the mission of giving guests an unforgettable stay?
We are always upgrading the hotel, in and outside of the rooms. Together the maintenance team ensures that The Dylan looks perfect at all times. I love the building so it’s a real pleasure to uphold it.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
The most challenging thing is getting a job done in time. Many unexpected things can happen that might delay a project, but we always try to turn it around in time. It’s also important to ensure that everyone is happy with a result, especially keeping the guests in mind.

That’s always challenging with hospitality.
Indeed! I actually never thought I would work in hospitality when I’m older. And The Dylan is the perfect hotel to work at.

What’s your favorite place in Amsterdam to recommend to guests?
That always depends on what they are looking for, but I genuinely enjoy every part of Amsterdam. Just cycling through the city and discovering hidden streets. In Amsterdam there is so much behind every building, every door has a story behind it. You can always find something interesting to discover. I really like this and encourage guests to just explore. The Amsterdam forest is also an enchanting place to visit, so I would certainly recommend going there this Spring.