I always said that I would be very happy living in a hotel. A really nice one, that is. I love fancy hotels and especially the beautiful bathrooms and the big fluffy beds. Now, I don’t live in a hotel but I work in one, and spend a lot of time in it. After eight months in a business that was completely new to me, here are some of the perks and some of the not so great things about the life of a hotelier.
- Access to great food. Since I spend so much time here, I often eat here. When I first came, I was the guest hostess and ate lunch and dinner with the guests every day. Now, as the manager, I still do the hostess role regularly. Not all the time, but enough to be able to enjoy some of the delicious food we serve! Asados are of course a staple, but I also love the fish dishes, the quiches, the steaks, and all the different vegetables. (Who am I kidding, trying to not mention the desserts…)
- Meeting amazing and interesting people. I have written about this before, that the vast majority of the people are really wonderful and with great attitudes. We are in the country side and therefore, things don’t always work 100%, so I love guests who are relaxed and easy going (although we always try to fix everything and get better.) One of my favorite guests is a fantastic piano player and while he didn’t know Les Miserables before, he could play each song perfectly from the sheet music and I was in heaven! (The musical Les Miserables is one of my favorite things in life.)
- Making it all work. When things work, and people are happy, and the food is tasty, and the sun is shining, and everything goes off without a hitch, it is an amazing feeling. There is a lot of work that goes into making it all seem effortless, but when things work, it is the best.
- Every day is different. Every day brings different challenges and experiences – one day we host a South African television production, the next day we have a full hotel, then a wedding, then lots of polo, then some quiet bird watching guests. Some days I do lots of finance and admin work, other days I ride with the guests or have a little time to sit in the sun with the dogs.
Not so great stuff:
- Looong hours. Even though we almost always receive people during regular working hours, and rarely have to be here in the middle of the night, the hours are long. We are staffed from 7:00 to 22:30 usually, and there are quite a few days when I am here for 14 hours, which is just too much!
- The feeling of always being on. Since I live on-site, even when I am at home I am always thinking about the hotel and of course people often call, since they can’t know that I am not working at that particular moment. We basically never have weekends off, and on our one day a week off, travel agencies and others will still call, since they of course work a regular week.
- Having to be a jack of all trades. In a small hotel, the manager (that would be me) is in charge of everything, from booking and reception work, to maintenance to housekeeping to the kitchen to human resources to the garden to organizing the horserides to booking transfers. The cool thing is to see how it all works together, but of course the drawback is having to be in a million things at once. I don’t do the maintenance myself, but I have to be on top of it, as with so many other things.
So far, so good – it has been an amazing experience so far and it is definitely an industry I feel at home in. It is basically perfect for a chatty, extroverted traveler with a love for languages!
Here a picture of me working, back in January. I miss summer!