Royal Roads Tourism

Victoria, BC


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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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A Day in the life of an intern at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa by Frank Shin

There are many reasons as to why we are all drawn into the hospitality industry, whether to work in luxurious destinations or to explore different countries and cultures.  However, my personal internship journey hasn’t taken me far away from home or to another country as my employment is at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa here in the beautiful city of Victoria.  This boutique full-service hotel is a four diamond upscale property that boasts conference rooms, an Aveda concept spa called Spa Magnolia, and the Prime Steakhouse while featuring 64 magnificently detailed rooms.

Magnolia hotel, four star luxury

After gaining valuable experience working at a large four diamond hotel with more than 300 rooms and at a small motel with 40 rooms, my aim was to explore the middle ground between these past two properties and experience the challenges that a small sized boutique hotel goes through that defines itself.   This is where my internship begins as a bell man and as a breakfast server.  These two positions have allowed me the presence to experience first-hand the challenges that I’ve yearned to explore.  To sum up my learning working here thus far, it boils down to a simple sentence: The secret to running a small boutique hotel is challenging the impossible to making it possible.

Romantic settings with gorgeous details

The Routine

5:45am

The sun isn’t out yet and there is frost covering my car.  I am having my morning smoke while gathering my fleece jacket tighter for warmth.  The street sounds are mute and the birds are chirping as if to say, “good morning”.  After heading back in and getting physically and mentally prepared for work, I say goodbye to my kittens and go to work.

7:00 am

The morning staff has already set up the buffet tables and food.  I stand and await our hotel guests to walk through and help with their seating.

8:00am

Most of the guests are awake now and are streaming in to satisfy their hunger.  The job is now about juggling restocking the buffet line with food and drinks as well as cleaning the dining areas as guests leave.

9:00am

Today is a busy day, there are 120 guests in-house who are expected for the day and most of them have decided to come at once near the end.  The breakfast hours are 6:30am to 10:00am.  With only three breakfast servers on staff, one of us is in the back washing dishes as the second is clearing tables and the third is restocking food and drinks.  I am amazed at how busy it can get so quickly as there is about 13 people at all times grabbing breakfast.

10:00am

It is time to close the doors and start cleaning.  The Prime Steakhouse does not belong to the Magnolia Hotel and Spa.  Through a contract, the hotel is allowed to use the space during 5:00am to 11:30am.  That means from 10:00am till 11:30am, we have to convert the breakfast buffet area back into its original position as well as removing all our food, drinks, tables, and equipments.  Some days it is finished early at 11:00am, and then there are some days where it is finished right at 11:30am.

11:00am

Today the other two breakfast servers can handle the rest of the duties as I am needed on the floor as a bellman.  I quickly put on my uniform and radio to assist the front office team.  Check out time is at 12:00pm here and people are already asking for their cars to be brought up.  There is room for about 16 or so cars downstairs.  By being a hotel with 64 rooms, this does become an issue when most of our guests bring a car.  Our overflow lot is about five minutes away.  This means I’ll be running around and driving back the car.  When there is nothing else to do, it will take about 5 minutes to bring back someone’s car.  On busy days, this can increase to 10-15 minutes.

12:00pm

Everyone is now checked out and the lobby is quiet.  It is time to eat some lunch and I head over across the street to the Corner Sandwich And Soup.  My favorite is the Phillysteak Panini.

12:30pm

This is known as the “quiet time”, which is the time after check outs and before check ins.  During this time we spend our efforts in preparing for the evening.  All brass carts and door handles in the lobby are polished.  The coffee stand is cleaned and restocked.  Maps and other guides are folded and stocked.  The most important thing we do at this time is to complete our daily to-do list.  This entails chocolate and wine deliveries as well as putting in or removing rollaway beds.

2:00pm

Guests are starting to arrive and are assisted with valet parking as well as luggage assistance to their rooms.  This is an opportune time to introducing yourself, the hotel, as well as the area.  This is the magical time between the bellman and the guest in creating that magical moment.  I escort the guests after they’ve checked in at the front desk to the elevators, then to their rooms.  Their luggage and other belongings are properly set or stored for their convenience.

3:30pm

My day is done at work.  This is where I sign off!