A cozy two-bedroom home on the waterfront of Ocean Gardens, with views to die for!
Ocean Gardens has been home for Liz Lycette for the past five years. “When I arrived I wanted to look at everything. I considered One Oasis,” she says, but as soon as a 2-bedroom apartment came up in a building where a circle of long-time friends were living, it was an easy choice. “I love having some of my oldest and dearest friends in Macau in the same building, it’s very special. I don’t have family (I’m still interviewing!) so it’s important to be close to friends.”
A New Zealand-born Australian, Liz grew up in Hong Kong in the early 70’s. At 17 she went to hotel school in Switzerland. Having won a place at Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne, she had to very quickly learn French.
“The whole 2-year course was in French, it was very hard!” she laughs.
After graduating, she returned home to Hong Kong and started working at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong as a receptionist. As is common in the hotel industry, Liz worked her way around several different departments, and it was housekeeping that she found most to her liking. In the early 80’s, she was transferred to the post of Executive Housekeeper for the Mandarin Oriental Macau, now the Grand Lapa. She was part of the hotel opening team in 1983 – she was only 23.
So, Liz has lived in Macau before. What brought her back?
“After the Mandarin Oriental Macau, I then went to England and was Executive Housekeeper for Le Meridien in London for four years. I love London, but I got sick of the weather!”
She then held Executive Housekeeper positions at the Four Seasons in Sydney, the Conrad in Hong Kong and the Mandarin Oriental Jakarta. Liz then ran her own company, Lycette and Associates for 14 years, offering training and consulting in housekeeping management.
“I lectured in the States, I ran courses in the UK, workshops in India for the Taj group, and also trained in China. I happened to be in Sydney lunching with a friend from hotel school, Tim Millett, who said he was moving to Macau.”
Having thoroughly enjoyed her experience here in the early 80s, Liz thought “I’d like to go to Macau too!”
After that, things moved quickly. With Liz’s much sought after experience and qualifications, a senior role in housekeeping management soon came up in Macau. She currently holds the position of Director of Services for two 5-star hotels.
When it came to furnishing her home, good friend Michael Jackson (jokingly referred to as her ‘consultant designer’) who also lives in the building, helped Liz measure the rooms and then buy everything online from IKEA.
“My place is like an IKEA showroom!” she jokes. From the elegant pine wood dining table (that pulls out to seat up to 14) and chairs, living room furnishing, beds, wardrobes and rugs, the functional and attractive modern, clean lines of IKEA designs that we are all so familiar with, give Liz’s place a cozy, homely feel. White is the predominant colour, with shades of red from several rugs being matched with the red and white floral sofa cover.
From her travels, Liz has collected a number of treasures – three framed Balinese masks, Chinese plaques, mounted and framed, and her favourite: two gold geckos from Bali, framed. The glass-topped coffee table contains a collection of little souvenirs and mementos. Over the dining room are pictures of The Four Seasons. And in the bedrooms, Liz has had some beautiful silk scarves stretched over frames and made into wall hangings.
Being very sociable, Liz enjoys entertaining her friends. When it comes to cooking, her antipodean heritage comes to the fore and thus the BBQ is put to good use! A small Weber – “the Rolls Royce of barbeques” – was hand carried from Australia and sits out on the balcony. The generously sized half-circle balcony is lined with plants, and on sunny days and fine evenings there’s nothing finer than sitting outside, sipping a glass of something chilled, admiring the magnificent view of the park below and beyond, Macau’s harbor and skyline to the north, and Hengqin’s ever-growing skyline to the west.
With a zest for life, Liz considers herself fortunate. “I have a lovely life. I’m very happy and content,” she smiles. “I’ve got a passion for what I do. I love housekeeping: I have a young team, so I’m surrounded by young people that keep me feeling young! I think it’s relevant for everyone, that if you can find your passion and be able to have that as your job, then it’s the best thing ever. Every day is different and always exciting.”
Like most jobs, “the actual nature of housekeeping can be monotonous, but what energizes me is developing people, helping them grow. My senior management team is all local. I like to keep them self-motivated, excited, and feeling that they have a job that’s challenging. It’s wonderful watching people grow through promotions. All my old team from the Mandarin Oriental Macau for example, about eight managers, each one progressed in their careers and became Executive Housekeepers.”
“Macau impresses me. Recently the government handling of the coronavirus situation, from an outsider’s point of view, it’s admirable how they’ve stepped up and handled things. As an observer it’s been really interesting to see.”
And what don’t you enjoy about Macau? “My pet hate about Macau is the taxis!” Choosing not to have a car, Liz relies on taxis to get around town and to and from work. Sometimes the driving is so erratic that “I’m in fear of my life! There are no seat belts in the back – sometimes there’s the belt, but no attachment, even in the brand new taxis. My friends and I greatly miss UBER!”