Who: Niels Bonnes
What: Chief engineer
What does your function entail?
I am responsible for the maintenance of the hotel in the most general sense of the word. Right now, we are in the middle of a big renovation, so we are really busy. I worked in a different hotel before, four times the size of The Dylan Amsterdam and we did all the work with exactly the same team of four. Even though The Dylan has just 40 rooms, being in a monumental building like this means we have enough work on our hands to keep us busy from morning until evening.
How long have you been working here?
It has been 14 months now. Before I was in charge of the technical service at the Andaz, but there was no place there for me to make a next step in my career. So, a colleague mentioned they were looking for someone at The Dylan Amsterdam. I had one talk and I was hired the same day.
We enjoy a lot of freedom and are forced to use our brains and think out of the box. That also means you need to get a certain feel for the hotel, and either that feeling grows on you real fast, or it doesn’t come at all. My colleagues are very committed, and if they encounter a problem, they genuinely care. Our guests can feel that; you cannot fake that kind of commitment. That is how we manage to stand out amidst all the big hotels.
How do you start your day?
I arrive at eight in the morning. First, I check my computer to prepare the day ahead. I catch up on what happened the night before and if something happened, I make the necessary calls to get it fixed. Then I have a morning meeting with other shifts, and I go downstairs to talk to my team. Of course, I could also send an email, but I prefer a face to face approach. After all, we are in this together – that team spirit is pretty strong here. And then the day really begins, and it can go anywhere from there. What I like best is when an incident occurs, and we manage to not only solve it, but turn it in into something positive. Moments like that make me happy.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to travel – I have been all over the world. What I love most is South America. No Benidorm Boulevards for me; but backpacking through Brazil. I do not plan too much ahead, and just wait to see what comes on my path. A month of roughing it in the Amazon and you’re in love. Coming back is tricky; the first week I walk around thinking: we really are a sad bunch of people here with our stress and our ridiculous pace of living and our complaints about Wi-Fi. But that feeling passes, luckily. Because you need to be just as fast if you want to make it here.
Imagine; you don’t live here anymore, and you are just passing through. You have one day in Amsterdam. What do you do?
I go see my parents in Oostzaan. Sit down with them and have a nice cup of coffee.