Deborah Brown, Cowdray’s Head of Housekeeping

‘From a housekeeping perspective, I manage all the accommodation properties across the Estate ensuring that they are immaculately cleaned, fully equipped, and ready to accept guests. I also lead a skilled housekeeping team, overseeing their training and ensuring that they have enough support.’

Meet the Team with Deborah Brown, Cowdray’s Head of Housekeeping

1. What does your role as Head of Housekeeping involve?

As well as ensuring all the accommodation properties are immaculate and ready to receive guests, I am responsible for ordering stock, managing linen, preparing for each stay across multiple sites and managing a team of housekeepers.

I also deliver all the Cowdray Farm Shop Welcome Packs to the various properties.

2. How many venues do you oversee the housekeeping for?

I am Head of Housekeeping for Cowdray House, The Walled Garden, The Lodge, Benbow Holiday Cottages and the Cowdray Collection Cottages – Challens Yarde, Apsley Cottage and Costers Lodge.

3. Do you liaise closely with the events team?

Yes, we have weekly team meetings to discuss the housekeeping requirements. I also meet with the Events Manager to go through the schedule for Cowdray House to ensure that all the requirements are met.

4. Is it hard to juggle the various properties?

Yes, we certainly have a very busy schedule and its important to stay on top of who leaves which property when. It can be logistically very tricky to make sure we have a rota to cover the changeovers especially as things are liable to change at short notice.

5. Do you have a team working for you, and do you all have allocated tasks?

In addition to myself, I currently have a team of five. All staff are encouraged to share the responsibility, and are all trained across the various sites to ensure consistently high standards are maintained.

6. Once guests leave Cowdray House, can you describe how your team can turnaround a property of this size?

My job requires me to be super organised. Prepping the linen for each room is completed in advance so it’s ready to go. Then each housekeeper is given a task to complete.

We start upstairs and have a ‘strip and prep’ approach which involves stripping the beds and removing rubbish and cleaning the tea/coffee trays. Next step is to make the beds, clean the bathrooms, clean the rooms. I will then double check everything is completed.

We then start downstairs, with the final task being polishing the floors. It’s exhausting but equally very satisfying when its finished and looking immaculate.

The Diamond Suite at Cowdray House

7. As well as the larger housekeeping tasks such as cleaning and changing beds, do you also focus on the smaller details?

Yes, all aspects of cleaning are covered. This includes the art, wall mirrors, ceiling lights and chandeliers. We have a check list that ensures all items including the sliver and brass are cleaned monthly.

8. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Positive feedback from guests and senior management.

9. And what is the greatest challenge?


10. Since starting at Cowdray, do you have a particularly memorable moment?

Listening to Eric Clapton singing ‘Tears in Heaven’ in Buck Hall while I was working upstairs. It was truly amazing. Eric Clapton stayed in the House during Covid recording ‘The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions’ as his concerts were cancelled due to the pandemic.

11. Where is your favourite place on the Estate?

Cowdray House.

Buck Hall at Cowdray House

12. What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don’t have much spare time, but on days off I love being with my granddaughter.

13. What can’t you live without?

Coffee first, and then my phone!

Written by Matilda Reid. 

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