“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.”
I guess I don’t like sleeping! I chose to do my internship in the US because I love new experiences, I wanted to work somewhere far from Europe to compare cultures, learn what is different, discover American-style hospitality and more.
I decided to do my internship at the Sofitel Miami, as it is a worldwide-recognized hotel chain and Miami because it reminds me of Marbella, but on a much bigger scale!
One of the things I love is that you have both the city side and the beach side. My hometown is Marbella, however I grew up in London so I always missed the beach and the relaxing ambience of palm trees and sun. Surprisingly, when I returned to Spain from London to start at Les Roches, I missed the high buildings and crowded atmosphere. Here in Miami I can have the best of both places!
Furthermore, it is always hot and sunny! And I mean always. It is Tropical weather so it rains every now and then but it is hot rain, you can walk in shorts under the rain! The best thing is that high season here is wintertime for us, (November – February). Talk about a good deal for New Years Eve, right?
There is also lot of things to visit and do in Miami, white sand beaches, crystal clear water, tropical weather, and numerous parks and museums allow you to indulge yourself in a wide range of activities. You can also do interesting things outside of Miami, for example visit Walt Disney World in Orlando in a 3-4 hour drive! I went for the weekend and I have to say, it is worth visiting and very fun.
Now, one very important thing that you need to know is that everyone speaks Spanish in Miami. I was very surprised but as Spanish is my first language, it really wasn’t a problem. The city is known for its cultural diversity and the impact Spanish-speakers have had on Miami is not surprising when you consider that 70% of the city’s population is identified as Latino/Hispanic.
In the beginning I found it quite funny at work when guests came up to reception speaking in Spanish straight away, some of my colleagues don’t speak Spanish, but Miami residents assume you to do, so haha, I had an immediate advantage!
Working for Sofitel is my first real experience in a hotel, however, I believe that it will always stay with me and I will remember it like no other. Not just because it is my first internship, but because it has proven to me that I have really chosen the right career.
Sofitel Miami is located near the airport, the city, and is only fifteen minutes from the beach, which makes it more of a business hotel but convenient for any type of guest. We mostly receive groups such as L’Oreal, VISA, Volkswagen, and Burger King that have conferences at our hotel. Additionally, we have many guests that are in Miami for business or that are travelling andstop in Miami to relax and have a good sleep before continuing their journey. We also receive a lot of families and couples that are here to visit Miami. Miami is known for its amazing sunsets and our guests are always treated to a delight in the afternoons as the sun sets over the hotel’s unique lagoon view.
My internship is in the Rooms Division department where I often work as a front desk agent, but also explore other sections in different occasions. So far I have worked in Guest Services, reservations, night audit, sales, and as an operator. By the end of the internship I will have explored a lot more, including becoming a supervisor if I successfully pass all stages. I love what I do and everything that I am learning so far. I love the Rooms Division department as it is the one that has the most contact with the guest and at the same time the one that handles all the complaints, no matter what department the complaint is directed at.
This allows me to understand what guests are expecting from Luxury hotels and what they want. It is also helps me see in practice what I learnt at Les Roches Marbella in the Rooms Division classes. Needless to say, I understand everything Ms. Montero taught us much better now! In my opinion Rooms Division is different and interesting in a very good way for me because although we have practical lessons in Rooms Division as a first year LRM student, we don’t have as much practice as we have in F&B or Stewarding. I believe that now I have deep understanding of each department.
One of the unique things of the Sofitel brand, is that we provide “tailor-made services” called “Cousu Main”, which in other words means we make something special for our guests that comes from our heart. It is one of my favorite things at work as I am always interacting with the guest at the check in/check out, trying to find out stories and see if I can make a “Cousu Main” for them to make their stay exceptionally memorable.
So far guests have responded to my “Cousu Mains” with very touching notes, little gifts, and lots of hugs! There is nothing better than putting a few small details together to make something special for someone and then to see that it makes them happy. That is why I love hospitality, you can really make someone’s trip, day, or stay special and indeed change their moods. After all, “there is no hospitality like understanding” and of course the recognition through guests reviews on the Accor survey or travel websites such as Expedia and Trip Advisor always makes you smile and somehow makes up for when you have a hard day at work.
My first internship has really opened my eyes towards what is expected from the industry and what I want to do in the future. I want to gain experience on each continent and learn about every culture, as well as the different styles of hotels around the world. The more you know, the better you will be!
I definitely miss Les Roches Marbella, I constantly apply what I learned in my first year and always think how well we got taught to be prepared for the outside world. The experience we gain at this school is really invaluable. Although I will miss Miami as I have made friends for life here and Sofitel has made me feel like I am in a big family, I can’t wait to finish my 1st year internship and come back to Marbella to start second year!