The transition into the Four Seasons Hampshire was everything I thought it would be. It started out with a trip down to Human Resources to meet all of the support staff, Lauren Stillwell and Joanna Herbert. These ladies have been the incredibly helpful throughout the entire transition, from letting me stay in the hotel, to helping me find a bed, as well as simply being there to talk if needed. After a few training days with HR, I met my coworkers, supervisors, and manager, as well as my trainer. This was nerve-wracking because my team is such a close knit group, and I had that moment of panic where I was not sure if I would fit in. That anxiety left me completely when a man came up to me, knew my name, shook my hand, and said he was excited to have me on the team. This person turned out to be one of my supervisors, that warm welcome was all the acceptance that I needed to be comfortable in my new role.
The first few days of training felt fairly relaxed, mainly focusing on the details of fine dining, focusing on the Four Seasons standards and guest interactions. I found that Four seasons is different from other companies I have worked for because they really strive to know who every single guest is, and make them feel part of the family during their stay. There is so much information on each guest; from what they like to be called, to their favorite side dish that it is incredible. My first day of work was one of the scariest days I’ve ever had, I walk into work and am told that I am in banquets for the night, a banquet for 180 people and the host in one of the richest men in the world and very demanding, so I was slightly scared about this, especially because it was my first day. Thankfully it all went without a single problem, and I all of the staff we’re extremely helpful in answering any questions.
A few weeks into my job, my managers, Manish Bodetta and Paul Ionanu, had a sit down with me and asked what I wanted out of my internship and what could they do to help me achieve those goals. My goals included expanding my wine knowledge, learning about management duties, and understanding how the Four Seasons trains and develops there staff. Manish and Paul then handed over one of their projects to me to complete and then present to the general manager Charlie Parker, and director of food and beverage David Monson. This project is determining the feasibility of a themed night in the restaurant to boost restaurant covers midweek, this project includes market research, an external analysis, and then justifying my decision to the hotel’s planning committee.
Everyone in the food and beverage departments work long hours, averaging around 10 hours a day, so to relax after these shifts the staff has weekly get togethers, where we have drinks at someone’s house, or all gather at a pub in town for a few drinks. Since I am still living in the hotel, I have been finding ways to entertain myself; thankfully there is a dog that lives in the hotel and he needs walking, there are also horses that always appreciate attention. Staff is also welcome to use the bicycles on property and play on the tennis courts whenever they are not in use.
In the local area there is a lot to see as well, the Stone Hedge is only a 40-minute drive away, London is an hour train ride, and there is Winchester is about half an hour away. The hotel also encourages staff to visit different areas of Europe, with staff frequently going on overnight trips to France, Italy, Spain, and other areas. Fleet, which is the closest town to the hotel, does not have much, but it does have quite a few restaurants, pubs, some shopping, and the cinema. The hotel provides a shuttle bus for employees to get into town if they do not drive and it drops them at a few different locations in town, including the train station, which provides easy access to the other areas.