Feeling slightly uneasy during the first few seconds of her interview with Insider Plus, Ms Marica Micallef quickly picked up, talking about her job at the bar of the Orange Grove Brasserie, Corinthia Palace Attard, Malta.
She is proud of the attention she gives to her daily tasks. “I have been at the bar for two years. Before that I was a waitress.” With her typical smile she adds: “I just love making the best coffee in town. I do it with passion.” But has she ever been asked for some complicated drink? “Not really, I can manage.”
Her day’s work starts at 7 am and ends at 7pm but works on a day-on day-off basis, which in fact gives her time to take care of house chores on her days off.
What does she love most in her work? “Undoubtedly, seeing my customers satisfied.” She speaks of her customers, rather the hotel’s and says this with great pride.
She has been working since she was young but joined Corinthia about ten years ago. “ I never regret it for a moment. Every morning, managers pop in for a coffee and exchange a few words. I know exactly what type of coffee each one prefers. It is simply great. Members of other departments also show up for a cup at one time or another for very short spells. It’s like one family.” Family! That is a typical Corinthia value. “We are all integrated, ” she adds. That is a wonderful word especially when said with such conviction.
Any experience in her job which she would never forget? “Yes, it happened a few years ago when I was still a waitress. Guests who have a mid-day buffet often prefer skipping dessert at that time of day, so we offer them coffee instead. An American lady who was on her own preferred to give the dessert a miss and went out to enjoy the front garden of the hotel. I noticed her and after a few minutes I walked up to her and asked if she wanted a cup of coffee. She looked very pleased that I actually followed her to attend to her.” It turned out that she was scouting several hotels in Malta to accommodate a large foreign conference the following January. She actually chose Corinthia Palace and told the Manager that she had chosen this hotel because of that ’short stocky waitress with short cropped hair and an open smile’. Management understood it was me.”
And did she receive any praise from management? “Not only praise. I was simply bowled over when management told me that as a reward I was invited for a week’s holiday with my husband and daughter at Corinthia Budapest.” Ms Marica’s eyes said it all; she is still so pleased management had treated her like a queen.
Did she receive any training? ”Even though I have years of experience we do have quite regular training to remind us of the details and niceties of hospitality.” And what else would she have wanted to do as a job? No second thinking. “Accountancy. I love figures. I did start studying the subject but then I stopped.”
Standing for long hours has taken its toll on her. Her feet ache and by time they are not getting any better. When she arrives home she just relaxes and does absolutely nothing. Her husband, Carmel, a chef by profession, prepares dinner and then she watches TV and shares some time with her nineteen year old daughter, Martina, who is studying to become a nurse.
Saturday means singing
But her great relaxation is choir singing with a choir called Vocal Troupes. She loves and looks forward to her Saturday practice and feels great when she joins the others on stage.
What does Corinthia mean to her? Ms Marica Micallef has no qualms. “Corinthia is my second family.” What a gracious thing to say of one’s employer! In her uncomplicated way, Ms Micallef exudes a sense of dedication, craftsmanship, positivity and family sense, which are all hallmarks of the Spirit of Corinthia.