Royal Roads Tourism

Victoria, BC


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A day in the Life of Alejandra Lemus at the Fairmont Château Laurier

Hello! Bonjour! Hola!

Fairmont Château Laurier (Photo by Alejandra Lemus)

Fairmont Château Laurier (Photo by Alejandra Lemus)

I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Global Tourism Management program at Royal Roads and I am completing my internship at the magnificent Fairmont Château Laurier!

Fairmont Château Laurier is located in the beautiful city of Ottawa, Ontario. It was built in 1912 and it has 429 guest rooms. This property it is a landmark for the city and Canada. It has held historic events and has become the second home for many famous people that have transformed Canada’s history.  The hotel it is situated in the intersection of Rideau Street and Mackenzie Avenue.  This location gives the hotel a competitive advantage with its unique views to the Rideau River, Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill, and ByWard Market.

 

Source: Fairmont Château Laurier

Source: Fairmont Château Laurier

Did I tell you that I just moved from British Columbia?! Well, I certainly did. I have the amazing opportunity of living with an extraordinary local family in The Glebe neighborhood. This area has wonderful little stores that every time that you come back, you find something to fall in love with.  The close proximity of my living area to the hotel has given me the opportunity to bike to work as much as possible, and that is how I start my day to work.

Rideau Canal (Photo by Alejandra Lemus)

Rideau Canal (Photo by Alejandra Lemus)

 

From the Glebe, I bike to work for 20 minutes on the side of Rideau Canal. At the beginning it was hard. It has been too long since I biked but the wonderful view of the Canal has encouraged me to keep going.  After parking my bike, and changing into my uniform, I head to the front desk office to report to my shift supervisor and ask for a “pass on” of the day.

 

 

War Memorial ( Photo taken by Alejandra Lemus)

War Memorial ( Photo taken by Alejandra Lemus)

As a trainee, the Guest Services Manager on duty reminds me about certain procedures that they would like me to focus on for the day and encourages me to familiarize myself with guest interactions. After my briefing, I go to the front desk to complete my daily tasks such as: check-in and check-out of guests, complete daily checklist, and assist guests with any requests.  I love my team. They always have a sincere smile on their face and they are always willing to help me without hesitating. I have the opportunity of working with colleagues from Ontario and also from Québec in the front desk department but at the hotel, multiculturalism is truly experienced and embraced.

My amazing team (Photo taken by Alejandra Lemus)

My amazing team (Photo taken by Alejandra Lemus)

Working at the front desk means that every day is different. During my first week, I had the opportunity to assist the FIFA Women’s Word Cup players that were competing in Ottawa. Moreover, every day I have the pleasure of communicating in both French and Spanish. Every time that I had the opportunity to assist a guest in my native language, Spanish; it gives me a sense of pride in my culture. A few days ago, a guest from Puerto Rico told me that he felt fortunate to have been assisted in his native language.  Short but meaningful comments like these; remind me why I love this industry and the part I play in it.  In another instance, a Mexican family that I had assisted asked me if I would be available to assist them for the duration of their stay! The next day, they requested to talk to me, even though they only needed assistance with a small request, they kept calling for me to help them. This reaffirmed that I am working in the right industry and the Fairmont Château Laurier is helping me to keep learning and creating “moments into memories” (Fairmont Hotels & Resorts) for our guests.

 

Burrito Shack ( Photo taken by Alejandra Lemus)

Burrito Shack ( Photo taken by Alejandra Lemus)

During my days off, I enjoy spending time getting to know my neighborhood and the city. A couple days ago, I ate at the Burrito Shack, a Mexican restaurant that believes in buying local products, giving back to the community through school lunches and catering to locals. Yes, their food is delicious.  Additionally, some days off I travel to Montreal to visit my amazing husband and family. I still need to make time to go and visit my relatives in Hamilton, it feels good to be so close to family again, perhaps I will plan a visit in the near future on my days off.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I highly encourage you to visit Ottawa and one of its milestones, Fairmont Château Laurier. There is always something new and wonderful to visit and explore here.

 

 

 


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A Day In The Life – The Fairmont Algonquin

I am Angela Lu. Starting from June, 2010, I have worked at Veranda Restaurant as a server at the Fairmont Algonquin Resort and Spa for over 2 months. The Fairmont Algonquin is located in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, a town with strong sense of historical feel and Scottish ambiance. This blog post is to illustrate a normal day working at the hotel.

St. Andrews By-The-Sea

15:30 – Put on my Veranda uniform (white shirt, purple stripe tie, black vast, black pants, black socks, black shoes, and black apron) and getting ready to go to work. It is better to be at work 10 minutes prior to the scheduled work time.

16:00 – Arrived work after a 2-minute walk from the residence. I always go to the chef’s office first and sign out a pager (chef buzzes you when the food is ready) and give the pager number to the chefs. It is time for the preparation for the dinner opening of the Veranda Restaurant. There are quite a lot to be accomplished at this time. Ensuring the side stands with the polished cutleries and clean linens are completely stocked, brewing new regular and decaffeinated coffee, preparing cream and milk in the creamers, restock the condiments (ketchup, butter, tartar sauce, and horseradish sauce), topping up ice with ice buckets ready for the white wine, and filling up silver water jars with ice and water. With loads of preparation to do, time does fly in this particular hour.

17:00 – After a long hour of preparation, the food and beverage supervisors, the sous chef, and all the dinner servers are having a chef briefing at this time. The supervisors gives out the house count, reservation number booked, and number of people roaming who might come in and dine at the Veranda. The chef also discusses what the specials are for the day, what ingredients are out of stock, what the servers should be pushing to sell, and the health and safety question of the day. It allows the servers to get a head up and knows what to expect for the day.

17:30 – Although the Veranda opens at 5:00 pm, but most of the reservations are not for after 5:30 pm. There are around 3 to 4 servers serving at a time with assigned sections. There is a hostess at the host stand to greet the guests and seat them. After the o guests are seated, the hostess provides their information (room number, last name, and number of party) to the servers. If I don’t have a table yet, there are still side jobs to be done such as polishing cutleries and folding napkins.

18:00 – Usually by this time, each server has a table or 2.  Veranda offers 2 types of menu. One is A La Carte, and the other one is the Chowder Bar. Chowder Bar is a new buffet style menu with selections of bread, salad bar, 6 different types of chowders, steamed mussels, and selections of dessert all included for $24.95 plus tax.  A lot of guests find it really worth trying and thought it is a great idea to combine salad bar and chowders together. If the guests are still hungry, they can add additional $15 and enjoy another main course such as prime ribs, stripe loins, or salmon.

19:00 – I enjoy serving my guests not only to serve them food but also to get to know them, build relationship and find out the reasons that brought them here.

20:00 – At this time, if it gets really slow, the supervisor would ask us to close down one section and start flipping it to breakfast settings. On the other hand, if it stays busy, we usually have food runners, chowder bar runners and some times the hostess to help the servers to flip the tables for new guests.

21:00 – The restaurant closes at 9:00 pm. We continue serving the guests arrived prior to the closing time.

22:00 – Closing duties are pretty similar to opening duties. I need to make sure all the side stands are stocked, the entire dining room is flipped to breakfast setting, condiments are filled, coffee station is cleaned, dirty linens are brought down to the housekeeping department, and empty wine and beer bottles are separated and recycled, water glasses are polished, and the dining room is vacuumed.

23:00 – After all the closing duties are completed, it is time for me to cash out. Each server has his/her own Squirrel card for the Squirrel system so everyone’s sales are separated which makes it easier during cash out. I have to print out a cash-out slip and a check-sum slip to make sure I have all the checks right. Some checks need to be signed by the supervisors such as Interact transactions, void checks, food appeasements, and staff discounts, etc. After filling out the cash-out sheet and the cash-out envelop, I bring the envelop to the royal service office and put it into a safe deposit. Then, it will be time to sign out and return the pager.

00:00 – After a long day, it is nice to go back to the residence, take a nice shower, and enjoy some own time. I have a roommate, but sometimes she works overnight shift at the front desk. Sometimes I enjoy a piece of quiet in my room, and sometimes I enjoy going to the common area and watch movies with friends.

02:00 – Definitely bed time.

10: 30 – My friend’s text message wakes me up says: “Do you work today? Wanna go downtown for lunch?” The advantage of working night shifts is being able to sleep-in and wake up after breakfast.

11:30 – My friend and I usually take a 10-15 minute walk to downtown and pick a restaurant to eat.

Harbour Front Restaurant

14:00 – Walk around downtown and spend time going through some nice little shops with local arts and jewelries.

15:00 – Time to walk back to the hotel and take a little rest before getting ready to go to work.