Saturday, July 23, 2011


Hi it's Meadhbh here just giving an update on my week in the housekeeping department at the Hampton Inn.

The housekeepers start work bright and early every morning to ensure that guests have a comfortable and pleasant stay.  On my first day I was introduced to the executive housekeeper, Toma, who explained the various roles in the housekeeping department which consisted of laundry attendant, room attendant and room inspector. I was assigned to work with a room attendant to show me how to turn over a room after a guest has checked out. I quickly learned how much work and effort goes into cleaning and preparing rooms for incoming guests.

For the next two days I was assigned to the laundry room where I was responsible for preparing the towels and linen for the room attendants. The Hampton Inn has 170 rooms so you can only imagine the amount of towels and sheets that had to be washed, dried and folded each day.

My last two days were spent inspecting the rooms that had been cleaned by the room attendants that morning. I was responsible for ensuring a bottle of water and a snack were placed in the room for the Hilton Diamond member guests, checking each room had adequate linen and towels as well as making sure the amenities of the room were in working order. It was great to have the opportunity to see the various room types within the hotel while working as a room inspector. This really helped me when I was asked questions about room features while I was working at the front desk.

Overall I really enjoyed my week working in the housekeeping department. It was interesting to see how the backend departments of the hotel work and how they support and greatly impact the guests experience at the hotel.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Charleston Itself

So we thought we would give you a little idea of what Charleston life is like. There is a lot of young people here mainly to do with the College of Charleston and a few smaller colleges in the area. Everyone is really friendly, especially when they find out we are Irish. Our colleagues have been great. They've help us out many times, from driving us places to just giving us advice. We can't thank them enough for making the move so easy. For all the next interns, you will be lucky to meet such a great group of people.

So life down here is very relaxed. Going out isn't a big deal. Shorts and flip flops will do, even for the ladies. It is mainly a bar scene with a few dance bars but is so fun. It's a great feeling leaving a bar and walking out to heat and not having to worry about your jacket.

Food is a big part of Charleston life. As we said in a previous post, McDonalds doesn't even exist around here. They are proud of their food and so they should be, it's excellent. You will not get a bad meal down here. The service is always great, and food comes in large portions, which the lads aren't complaining about. Charleston is known for its Southern food, like Grits and fried food and seafood. We've tried them all and have enjoyed them all.

The place is full of history. It is known as the Holy City and for good reason. There are so many churches and the skyline is dotted with steeples. Our apartment complex is in a great location just at the top of the historic district. We can walk down town in just 15 minutes and there is even a lot of activity and things to do around are area. Down by The Battery there are some magnificent houses and all the side streets produce more and more unique buildings. Every corner is different down here and you can sense the history. The houses are well maintained and mostly have large verandas where people rock on their rocking chairs.

Life down here is simple, relaxed and full of the good things in life. Anyone who has the pleasure of visiting Charleston will become in love with the city immediately, we know we have.


Hi it's Caleb here reporting on my week in maintenance. Myself and Meadhbh took a break from the front desk and have moved to the backstage part of the hospitality world. I worked in maintenance while Meadhbh worked in housekeeping.

My week started early on a Friday. I've always enjoyed fixing things with my hands so I was excited to start the week. Our property, The Hampton Inn, has a pool so that was our first task of every day. We needed to clean it, test the chemicals and make sure all the safety equipment was in good working order. It was a tough job, even at 8am it was about 27 degrees out so water was a must for this job.

The daily task of the maintenance staff in The Hampton inn is called "PMing". It is basically taking out some unoccupied rooms and doing work on them. So we would paint the room, check the furniture, fill holes, check the A/C units and fix anything in the bathroom. Each room took at least an hour and a half to complete depending on the condition. The hotel was recently renovated so most of the room were in good working order.

These were the daily tasks. We were always getting calls from the front desk with guests needing help with something, or housekeeping telling us there was a problem in a room which we needed to fix. During this week the maintenance shop needed to be re-fitted also. This room is HOT, let me tell you. I spent almost a day in it, moving things in and setting up the work place. It was like being in the hull of a ship with all the machinery whizzing and boilers making noise and fan and sprinkler systems all humming. I must have lost a lot of weight working there but I really enjoyed it.

Maintenance is a tough yet enjoyable job. I went home tired, but it was a good feeling. I had the feeling I accomplished something and I made peoples stay better.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Quick update

So here goes the latest update... The days have been flying by here as there is so much to do.
We have all settled into work and are working 5 days a week, on different shifts and on different days. We ususally have weekdays off as the hotels have been completely booked out every weekend since we got here. The morning shift from 7 till 3 pm is much busier with guests checking in and out . Work mostly involves answering guests questions about the area and tours, checking them in and out and dealing with any complaints they may have about rooms etc. Answering the phone and making reservations for future guests is a daily task. We have all become pros at giving directions around the city and advising people where is good to eat. I dont think we have eaten out in the same place twice. Charleston is full of local restaurants serving local food at quite a reasonable price. We can't even find a McDonalds down town which shows the kind of place Charleston is. The city is steeped in culture and they are very proud of their history, cuisine and architecture.

People here are so friendly. We've made many friends from coworkers to people living in our apartment block. There is a really casual atmosphere in Charleston and no one is judgmental. We usually go out on a night out in flip-flops and shorts, something a world apart from Ireland. Our bikes have paid for themselves. Some evenings Meabhdh and Bev go for a cycle around the city when its a little cooler to The Battery where there is a walkway along by the beach and some swings and water fountains. Don and Caleb usually use the bikes to go to the supermarket or the gym.

For 4th of july Caleb and Bev were lucky enough to be working on the early shift so we headed out to the beach with a gang from work. At the beach we played some beach games and swam in some very warm water. We were told to keep an eye out for sharks, which was a little off putting but we still had a great time. It was the 4th of July so when the sun went down, the night sky lit up with all the fireworks. There were flashes and bangs from every direction and the atmosphere was electric. The American's really know how to celebrate Independence Day. By this time Meadhbh and Don had finished work so we all regrouped and headed out for the night to celebrate the 4th of July and America's Independence!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So work begins

We survived our breakfast with head people from Hilton including Rick Schultz Senior Vice President for the Focused Service Division of Hilton Worldwide and Mike Bennett himself, as well as our respective GM's, Donna Forde and Kevin Eichman. Everyone was really nice and excited to have us join the team, which put us at ease straight away. Rick and Mike explained how big of an opportunity we had in front of us and encouraged us to take full advantage of it, as well as to make sure we see as much of Charleston as possible. The breakfast took place in Virgina's on King Street, which is one of the many restaurants owned by Bennett Hofford, and is named after Mike's mother. The breakfast was delicious and we had our first encounter with traditional Southern food. "Grits" were served, which is made from corn and resembles both egg and porridge.

From there we went to our hotels with our GM's, where they gave us a tour and a brief rundown of the hotels' history. After signing some paper work and getting our schedules for the week we were given the afternoon off to sort out some loose ends. We used this time to set up bank accounts and aquire some transport. The bike shop in town proved to be way too expensive, so we decided to go to Walmart. However, the closest Walmart is in Mt. Pleasant, which is a fair bit away without a car, and involves crossing a huge bridge. Having taken a cab to Walmart we faced the daunting task of cycling home over the bridge. The girls managed to secure a lift home in a pickup truck while Don and Caleb decided to brave the bridge. 2 hours later the guys appeared in the apartment complex drained and exhausted, but proud of conquering the intimidating structure.
For the next few days the gang completed the online training package that is compulsory for all employees before they can be trained in at the front desk. Once we were familiarised with the system we were trained in on the front desk, dealing with customers and taking calls. While Meadhbh and Caleb went into the Hamptons weekly schedule immediately, Don and Bev are spending the week in the Sales Department and start at the front desk next week. The shifts available are 7am-3pm and 3pm-11pm, both having their perks depending on whether you want to sunbathe or head out for drinks.
Our workmates are all very friendly and embraced us from the first day. We've had a week filled of social events, getting to know our new friends and it has been a blast!

We were also really lucky to get tickets to the Spoletto Festival, an annual two week event in Charleston where artists and musicians come from far and wide to perform. We went to see a Gospel Choir which was really good fun.

Charleston is a beautiful city that is filled with fun things to do. We're all really excited to see what the rest of the summer holds for us.

Last night the immpossible happened, IT RAINED IN CHARLESTON! After two months without rain, we witnessed a torrential downpour with thunder, lightening and all the cinematic special effects. And this morning the sun is shining and it's like the storm never happened. Never a dull moment in Charleston.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Finally here

Hey, Meadhbh, Beverley, Caleb and Don here. This is our first of many blog entries. We hope you enjoy them all and we are truly looking forward to our adventure here in Charleston South Carolina and working with the Mike Bennett Internship.

After interviews and a lot of anxious waiting around we've touched down in Charleston... seems like so long ago when we actually applied for the internship. One phone call we all wont forget for a long time was from Patrick saying we had got the place. We quickly started the procedure of applying for Visas and booking our flight. The exams out of the way and everything in place we all met up in Terminal 2 in Dublin airport, which is actually pretty cool. We flew Dublin to Atlanta and Atlanta to Charleston where we were met by Pete and Brandon the general mangers from the 2 hotels. They were standing waiting with 2 signs with our names, they made us choose which was better. Pete won that round. The guys were great. Helpful, funny and great to talk to. From there we got a taxi with to our apartments to quickly drop off our luggage. The apartments are pretty cool and right beside the pool. Fully furnished, A/C, which is a dream in this temperature and spotless. From there we all got shown around the two hotels briefly and then we moved on to get food and a few drinks with Brandon and Pete which was a good laugh and a great chance to get to know them. After being up for over 24 hours we could no longer stay awake so we headed back to our apartments and fell into bed.

Saturday morning we called into the hotels to get maps and meet other staff. We then spent the day wandering around the city trying to figure out where everything was and see some of the sights. Kevin, the manager of the Hampton Inn gave us vouchers to go on a horse and carriage tour, which was pretty cool as it gave us a chance to see all the main sights without having to walk for miles. We walked around some more after and grabbed a bite to eat. Saturday night was brilliant too. One of our new colleagues from the Hampton Inn met us and showed us around a few of the more popular bars. Everyone is polite and very welcoming. We are slowly getting used to the heat but its so tiring. I guess we will get used to after a while...

Our first meeting is tomorrow morning with Mike and the general managers. We will be updating this blog quite frequently so stay logged on to check our progress!