Royal Roads Tourism

Victoria, BC


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A Day in the Life at the Westin Bear Mountain -By Tristan Bankasingh

Hello and welcome to my Day in the Life blog describing my internship as a Bellman at the Westin Bear Mountain! Like many jobs in the hospitality industry every day can be different, fun and exciting. Therefore, before I describe my day I would like to point out key critical features that are unique to the Bellman position at the resort. One feature is that the Westin Bear Mountain doesn’t have a separate Concierge Department; therefore, all bellmen work for the Front Office Department.

Myself with Amy Hamilton-Front Office Manager, Paul Patterson and Ryan Bartlett. Paul and Ryan are veteran bellmen who've done it all and seen it all.

The other feature is the fact that there are two separate hotel buildings. The main building where everyone check-in/out of the resort is known as the Clubhouse Building, and our second building is known as the Fairways Building. Both buildings offer the same type of hotel rooms; however, the Fairways Building has hotel rooms that are pet friendly. This feature means that during arrivals and departures the bellmen have to be prepared to move at moment’s notice to provide guest assistance in both buildings throughout the shift.

 The Clubhouse Building

   The Fairways Building

So now that I’ve finished describing the critical features of the resort, I’ll now speak about my day as a Bellman. The majority of the shifts that I’ve worked at the Westin Bear Mountain have been the evening/closing shift. On weekdays they start at 3:00pm and they end at 11:30pm. On weekends the closing shift starts at 4:30pm and they end at 1:00am the next day because generally there are weddings and various events over the weekend, which allows the bellman to provide assistance to any guests. My day starts at Metchosin, a suburb of Victoria. Usually two hours before my shift starts I’ll prepare myself for the day, including showering, brushing my teeth, shaving, combing my hair, etc. Appearance is a huge aspect in the hospitality and tourism industry; therefore, I have to ensure that I look professional. I change into my uniform, grab a quick bite to eat and then drive through the small town of Metchosin towards Langford, another suburb of Victoria where the resort is located. It usually takes me 30-45 minutes to get to the resort from my house and it includes a drive up a winding road to the top of Bear Mountain. I usually get there ten minutes before my shift starts so that I can sign in, speak to the Front Office Manager and the bellman on during the opening shift about anything that I need to know about.

Here are the following things that I do when I come on shift:
-Log in to the computer and check the arrivals and departures list;
-Check the Golf Tee Times for any late afternoon/evening golfers; and
-Check the Valet Parking box to see how cars we have in the Valet Parking Lots.

Throughout this time guests could be arriving at any moment. When they arrive I inquire if they’re coming to play golf or to check in at the hotel, and then I proceed with the arrival procedure such as welcoming the guest, assisting with luggage, escorting them to the front desk and escorting them to their room regardless if it’s in the Clubhouse or Fairways Building. Once settled in their room, I describe the features of the room to the guest and then wish them an enjoyable stay.

For guests who are coming to play golf, I ask their last name of the group they are playing under and the tee time, explain where the Pro Shop is so that they can register, take their golf bags and drive them to back of the resort where the golf courses are located.

The storage closet where golf bags and luggage are stored. Don't let the picture fool you, usually there are a lot more bags than this!

A video of myself welcoming a guest who is coming to play golf can be found here:

Myself and Amy Hamilton, Front Office Manager and the BOSS!

That is the main part of my duties. However, other duties that I do are:
-Assisting with room moves;
-Making deliveries of various items to hotel rooms;
-Shuttling guests in our vehicle to various points around the resort;
-Ensure that inside and outside of the lobby is properly maintained so that it’s at a standard expected of a Westin resort;
-Cleaning and maintaining luggage carts; and
-Being available to assist the guests with any recommendations or places to go while they are staying here in Victoria.

So finally after 8 hours, my shift is over. Since I’m usually working the closing shift I have to make sure that everything is secure for the night. The garbage has to be emptied, the bell podium has to be placed inside and any golf bags that are on the Golf Bag Drop rack are stored inside the storage closet to prevent them from being stolen. Finally, I put away my keys and radio, have a chat with night audit, count all of tips collected for the day, sign out and then begin the beautiful drive down Bear Mountain towards my house in rural Metchosin only to do it all over again the next day!

A pic of the Clubhouse Building at night. Sweet Dreams!

Here’s a slideshow of various pictures taken while at work:

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Here are various links that you can look at in order to get more details about the Westin Bear Mountain:
www.bearmountain.ca -Resort’s Personal website
http://bearmountain.ca/Golf/RatesTeeTimes.aspx -Golf Tee Times information website
www.facebook.com/bearmountainresort -Westin Bear Mountain’s Facebook page
www.twitter.com/bearmountain -Westin Bear Mountain’s Twitter page
www.westin.com/bearmountain -Resort’s Westin website

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A day in the life of a boutique hotel intern at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa! By Alana Bianconi

Hello everyone! I’m pleased to share my experiences with you about my current time spent as part of the team at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa. Every day I wake up and am proud and excited to be a part of the staff at the wonderful Magnolia Hotel that had the honour of receiving the 2011 Trip Advisor award for Victoria along with Best of the City as voted by Victoria Residents and numerous other honourable mentions. The hotel is a boutique hotel in the heart of the Victoria Inner Harbour and is a small hotel of 64 that’s big on amenities.

7:00am I wake up and hit the snooze…too hard to get up when I have this cuddly guy..

Little Man the Chihuahua

7:30am- I’m up and at ’em! I hop on the bus and head downtown, which is luckily only a 10 minute bus ride from my humble abode. While I ride the bus I keep my eyes peeled for signs or posters of things going on around town today. It’s important for me to be aware of what’s going on in the city for me to pass along to the guests staying in the hotel and Victoria is plentiful in activities and events in the peak Summer season.

7:50am- I arrive at The Magnolia on its quiet corner home of Gordon and Courtney Street. I can smell the breakfast being served inside and can see our bellman biding farewell to guests for the day. I enter the hotel and put on my freshly cleaned uniform to get changed to serve some breakfast!

8:00am start- I begin my shift as a breakfast attendant. A complimentary deluxe continental breakfast is served to guests every morning at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa. The breakfast offers a wide array of tasty goods to provide nourishment to guests who are on their way out to see the sites of Victoria, or who are visiting to do business in the city.

10:00am- Breakfast service is over and it’s time to clean up. I’ve spent the last two hours replenishing the buffet breakfast, clearing tables and socializing with guests. The Magnolia has all kinds of guests that visit the hotel. We have regular corporate and government business and leisure travellers coming from all over the world. A large part summer clients are American travellers coming off the Clipper from Seattle or the Blackball Ferry from Port Angeles, these two modes of transportation makes it a short trip for American travellers to come for a quick trip to Victoria for the weekend.

11:00am- I’m all done my breakfast shift, I take a quick break to chat with my fellow Magnolians, get changed and head upstairs to finish the rest of my shift on the Front Desk. Due to the fact that The Magnolia Hotel & Spa is a smaller property, there is less stagnancy in roles. A majority of the staff are trained in multiple roles and cross training is highly encouraged.

11:01am- When I arrive I am greeted by the Hotel’s General Manager, Bill Lewis, who has decided that today he would do a spontaneous social media promotion due to the fact that it’s Social Media Day! Bill is enthralled by social media and the hotel has a large social media presence due to his spontaneity and commitment to online marketing as you can see on the Magnolia’s facebook site below.

http://www.facebook.com/MagnoliaHotelVictoria?ref=ts

Today’s promotion includes beautiful Magnolia Water bottles filled with goodies. There will be one lucky taker of a gift certificate for a one nights stay. How exciting!

Pick a water bottle! Win a Prize 🙂

1:00pm- The contest is over and the grand prize has been claimed. Back to work we go. On the Front Desk we witness so many interesting things daily. We see all the comings and goings of the guests, we get to help guests with requests… and complaints, but it truly is the heart of the hotel and I love seeing it all happen before my eyes!

Throughout the day it is common for us to answer phones and emails, make reservations and meet guest requests but we also provide concierge service as Front desk agents. We suggest places to eat, shop, visit and send countless people out the Butchart Gardens and Whale Watching daily.

4:00pm- Almost the end of my shift and we are preparing for our check in guests to arrive. My Front Office Manager notifies me that today the hotel is oversold *Gasp*

Due to Magnolia’s emphasis on service and limited room capacity, we are careful and very conscious of our room sales. We do our best not to oversell the hotel to avoid walking guests, unfortunately today this is not the case. My Manager thinks it would be great for me to do the walk…eek.

Bellmen & Valet on duty!

I agree to do the walk after some briefing and encouraging words from my manager, but I secretly hope the end of my shift quickly approaches before the guest arrives. Luck isn’t on my side today as the guest arrives and I have to let him know that there are no rooms left for him to sleep in tonight and that all the arrangements have been made for him to stay at another hotel. The guest took it surprisingly well and I give him a map to get to his new destination.

4:30pm- That wraps up another day at the fabulous Magnolia Hotel & Spa, I sign out, get changed and head home. I’m looking forward to do it all over again tomorrow.


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Royal Roads University: Stay in a National Historical Site

Lounges in the accommodations residence halls

Lounges in the accommodations residence halls

What an unusual and intriguing place to stay in Victoria, BC if you’re interested in gardens or just something different from the norm!   Rooms are comfortable, and the lounges are newly renovated.  Just steps from the Hatley Castle, Victorian Gardens and with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  For accommodation inquiries, contact Housing@Royalroads.ca