By Darryl Wilson, GM, Days Inn Victoria Uptown
Nobody knows a clean room better than our executive housekeeper, Leea
Hartley. When it comes to loyalty and dedication, Leea is in a league of her
own. She raises the bar in all aspects, having served the guests of our hotel
for the last 38 years. Leea began working at our hotel, when she was
16 years old. Back then, it was known as the Coachman Inn, Victoria’s
first full-service motor inn.
The hotel opened in 1973 as The Coachman Inn, rebranded as Travelodge
Victoria in 1994, and became Days Inn Victoria Uptown in 2016.
Leea began her career in the housekeeping department. But little did she
realize at the time that working in housekeeping would become her first and
most likely her last and only career.
As Leea recalls, her best friend’s mom
used to be the executive housekeeper at the Coachman Inn. On one New Year’s eve,
the hotel was short workers. Her best friend’s mother phoned Leea and her
friend and told them to “get their butts out of bed and get to work!”
is simply history. Leea never left the hotel after that and after a brief stint
as the assistant housekeeper, she went on to replace her best friend’s mom as
the executive housekeeper. Over the years, Leea’s strong attention to detail
and high standards has earned our hotel a reputation as one of the best kept
older hotels in the province amongst hospitality inspectors.
In spite of our
building’s age, having been constructed in 1971, Leea played a leading role in
earning Travelodge Canada’s Best Housekeeping Award in September 2012. In 2015,
Leea was awarded Travelodge Canada's Employee of the Year Award.
Although Leea’s dedication and commitment to our hotel has been nothing
less than impressive, her dedication extends far beyond her hotel family and
into her personal life as well. After marrying her high-school sweetheart, Leea
gave birth to a daughter named Alysha. Sadly, her daughter was born with
Sturge-Weber syndrome, a rare congenital neurological and skin disorder. It is
often associated with stains on the face, glaucoma, seizures, intellectual disability, and cerebral malformations and tumours.
The devastating disease
left Alysha wheelchair bound and requiring full-time care as she suffered from
constant seizures. Although it is a progressive disease, Leea’s unfailing love
and care has enabled her daughter to well exceed her life expectancy. In
addition, the number of seizures that her daughter endures on a daily basis has
reduced to just two and most recently, Alysha was able to gain new movement in
her hand for the very first time.
In addition to caring for countless guests, her own staff, and even her
disabled daughter and family, Leea has managed to hold it all together with a
smile. She rarely gets much time to herself, spending nearly an hour commuting
on the bus to work in each direction, only to be met with either the challenging
demands of the hotel or the demands of family life when she gets home.
of these challenges, she has always come to work with a positive and energetic
attitude that inspires both staff and guests with her unfailing enthusiasm. She
is well liked and respected by all those who know her and is often referred to
as the Best Executive Housekeeper in Victoria. We are proud to have her as part
of our Days Inn family and in our humble opinion, Leea is a hero not only to
her family, but to our staff and guests as well.