24 HOURS IN TOURISM
Hotels sound like fun, right? But what’s it like working in one? We spent a day with the team in Kildare’s luxurious Carton House to find out what 24 hours in the tourism industry is really like. The Irish rugby team was there too. Lucky us!
The housekeepers are busy cleaning guests’ rooms and preparing for new check-ins. At the front desk, Megan and her colleagues bid farewell to guests who are departing from the hotel. Porter Arkasdius helps guests with their luggage as they head for the car park. Elsewhere Anna lights the fires in the old house, keeping guests warm and toasty during their visit.
The chefs arrive for the day shift and Cathal, the Executive Chef, walks the kitchens to make sure that everything is well organised for lunch. He meets with the IRFU nutritionist to ensure that the players are getting all the nutrients they need to perform well on the pitch.
It’s time for ‘morning prayers’. Every day at 10.30am a member of each department meets with the General Manager, Adrian, in his office to discuss the day ahead. This includes how many guests are booked in for the day, what VIPs are arriving (these could be anyone from the Taoiseach to a rock star!) and what meetings and events are planned.
Monica and the team in the sales and marketing department begin working on a new campaign to promote the resort. They meet with graphic designers to work on brochures and ads for the year ahead, plan sales trips to the US and other destinations, and create exclusive offers to attract guests. Monica liaises with a model agency that is staging a photoshoot in The Morrison Room the next day.
Sarah from accommodation arrives as Carton House begins to stir after a restful night’s sleep. She checks the function sheets for the day, then walks through the public areas of the hotel to tidy up before cleaning starts. In the kitchen, breakfast chef David fires up the grill to get ready for the first meal of the day.
The greenkeepers begin setting up for theday’s golf outing. Carton House is home to two championship courses – the Montgomerie and the O’Meara – and it takes 12 greenkeepers to set up for a golf event on each course.
The Linden Tree restaurant opens for breakfast. Restaurant supervisor Magdalena is ready to welcome guests at the door and wish them good morning. Over in the golf shop, Sebastien prepares to open up at 7.30 as the first golfers arrive for their 8am tee time. He checks weather conditions and pin placements and arranges golf buggies and golf clubs for those who need them.
The Irish rugby team is onsite for a training camp. The grounds staff at Carton House began preparing for the visit a week in advance, building video analysis towers around the pitch, installing pitch side screening and access points and ensuring
all pitches are suitable for training. Each morning during camp the grounds staff mow and irrigate the pitches. They repair any divots after each training session to avoid trip hazards. This ensures that Carton House provides a safe surface, which is essential for a winning team.
With three dining outlets – The Linden Tree restaurant, The Kitchen Bar, and The Coach House golf club – as well as the busy conference and banqueting suites and the staff canteen, the kitchen brigade at Carton House has plenty of mouths to feed. In the Carton Suite delegates at the day’s conference are preparing to break for lunch in The Linden Tree, while at the Coach House the morning’s golfers are arriving back after their rounds on the Montgomerie.
In the Gold Salon, the banqueting team is getting ready for a wedding, polishing the crystal, shining the silverware and adding sparkle to this beautifully ornate private dining room in the old house.
Upstairs in the luxurious Lady Emily Suite, Carton House’s Wedding Planner, Fionnuala, is helpingthe bride into her dress. Outside in the gardens the groom is nervously pacing the aisle as he waits for her to arrive for their civil ceremony. Their guests are enjoying the last of the summer sunshine, and looking forward to celebrating at the champagne reception after the couple says ‘I do’.
In the spa, Carton House’s talented therapists are helping guests relax as they escape from their daily routine. A hen party has booked in to be pampered and the
girls have treated themselves to purifying facials and harmonising massages. Downstairs in the leisure centre, Personal Trainer Ildi, is putting gym members through their paces on the Precor Cardiovascular Equipment.
This evening’s guests check-in at reception and head off to explore the beautiful grounds at Carton House, including the Shell Cottage which was built for Queen Victoria.
Back at the hotel, the evening shift begins inthe kitchens. Chef Cathal checks in with the brigade to make sure they’re prepped for a busy night ahead before meeting with Keith, the Food & Beverage Manager, to discuss new menu ideas. Front of house, afternoon tea is being served in The Kitchen Bar.
Back of house, Margaret, the Finance Director, is crunching the numbers. She meets with Ann-Marie, the Rooms Division Manager,and Fiona, the Revenue Manager, to discuss room rates. With 165 bedrooms, three dining outlets, a busy conference and banqueting operation, golf club and spa and leisure centre, Carton House is a huge business and there is a clever team of managers working behind the scenes to make sure it all runs smoothly and profitably.
As the food outlets close, The Kitchen Bar hots up. The wedding is in full swing after dinner, and the band is getting ready to play at the gala dinner in the Carton Suite.
The chefs clock off for the evening and the kitchen stewards commence the ‘deep clean’, scrubbing floors and ovens to keep everything pristine.
It’s lights out in the kitchen, though the night team can provide a reduced food offering if any guests wake up with the munchies. The night porters collect the breakfast orders and prepare to hand over to Reda and Katarina when they arrive at 5am for another busy day at Carton House.
Peter, the Events Manager, meets with the conference organisers to check that the day has been a success. The banqueting team has a quick turnaround in the Carton Suite. The conference closes at 5pm and they have 300 arriving for dinner at 7pm.
The wedding banquet is being served in The Gold Salon and Fionnuala is in the background, ready to assist the bridal party when needed. In The Kitchen Bar, bartender David is mixing cocktails for guests who have popped in for a pre-dinner aperitif.
The Linden Tree opens for dinner and Restaurant Manager, Hayley, welcomes and seats diners, including hotel guests and Maynooth locals. The Coach House is buzzing with hungry golfers and Carton House residents who live onsite at the 1,000-acre estate.