23rd March 2021
Journal Entry by Raphael Claessens
On Monday I went to Gran Melia. We did a walkthrough of each department in the hotel. I started with engineering. I learned how the generators work when power decides to cut. The other thing we looked at with my instructor was how the water is filtered, how the pool is heated. Basically the water from the pool is taken in a pipe that passes its way through and then brought to a machine. The machine heats up the water and heads its way back through another tube directly to the swimming pool. We also looked at how electricity balances the voltages. The electricity is brought by Tanesco and in a separate room across the generator, there are stabilizers that receive the volts from Tanesco. It will balance the voltages if too high or too low.
As soon as I was complete with the engineering department, I moved on to the front office. I learnt some basics on how they welcome and approach guests. I was also shown how they make their keys for guests to access. We then moved on to how they treat other guests such as business people and even The President. Gran Melia consists of four presidential suites so the concierge showed me one of them. The presidential suite even has a room on the right incase the guest has a bodyguard.
I then went for my next experience, which was in the kitchen. I was first shown how they prepare food. Then we went to the storage areas where they keep their meats, vegetables and drinks. After this, I was shown how the pastries are prepared. I also took part in making a cookie and another dish that was pure sugar. I was shown how they make ice cream and different pastries. I learned about a whisking method, rubbing in method and creaming method. I was then shown the staff cafeteria where they have their lunch and take a break. I was then taken to where they receive their groceries. They showed me a room they use to clean vegetables and fruits. We then went for a lunch break where we ate a variety of foods.
After the lunch break, I moved to house keeping. In this department there was a lot to see. There are some machines that fold things like bed sheets and duvets. For starters they have many washing machines and dryers. They separate them by using some for the staff and the rest for the guests. They also included a suit ironer and suit stretcher. They use this machine for the employees and bosses who wear suits. This is how it works: you have to put it on the hooks as if you are hanging your clothes normally. Then the hooks have built in steamers which go through the whole suit to make sure it has minimal to no creases. I found this to be a very interesting machine.
I then moved on to food and beverage. In this department (FNB), they carry a lot of responsibility. They help organise special meals, make a list for the day where they are assisting the chef, give feeding information about what foods to prepare, what occasion, and what theme.
My instructor also said that you have to be outgoing and put your heart out there when you work in hospitality. Even if you are not happy, you have to be willing and give it your best. Another thing he touched on is that all the employees know what tables to serve when they are serving a guest. You need to memorise the location of up to 30 tables.
My favorite department was the front office. My instructor was very calm, engaging, funny and I learnt a lot from both her and her colleague.