Panagiotis Papoulias was at the Four Seasons Astir Palace, Greece
I had the privilege of doing my industry placement last year at the prestigious Four Seasons Astir Palace Athens. This property in Greece was new and the period I joined was the opening. The hotel Astir Palace consists a landmark since 1960s with VIP visitors from around the world staying in the luxury hotels or cabanas including Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, Anthony Quinn, the Beatles, Jane Fonda and Sharon Stone among many other celebrities as well as presidents and prime ministers of countries from all over the world.
Four Seasons LTD is a management company that owns 115 hotels and is a leader in the hospitality market. The brand name is related to ultimate Luxury, high quality, and personalized services. The two hotels Four Seasons manages are located on an amazing peninsula in Vouliagmeni with an infinite sea view, a helipad, access to the marina and special deck for guests arriving from the sea.
Why did I choose to work at the Four Seasons in the year of their opening?
Quite simply, I wanted to learn about the multinational culture of Four Seasons and to be part of the pre-opening team which would give me a chance for career development. I was inspired by Four Seasons long time ago and my goal was to work in Four Seasons George V in Paris which is one of their flagships. The new property in Athens is a great city hotel and an amazing resort for summer vacations. I had the opportunity to work with very skilled managers and a multinational team.
What did I do during my internship
I was in Four Seasons Athens from 1st of March until 14th of October. During this period I was Waiter in Room Service department and I had the opportunity to perform Butler service for VIPs. The tasks that we undertook were more than serving food. In more details we set up from scratch our working areas, we equipped the minibar of 303 rooms and bungalows and we got trained in Four Seasons standards, procedures, policies and in food and beverage principles. During the first month we did many trainings as a team, motivated and driven by our managers.
What was the best part of the internship?
I had multiple memorable experiences however, the best moments that I will always cherish were on the first day when the Management welcomed all the staff with an appreciative and encouraging applaud followed by a handshake and motivating speech by the GM Mr Ioannidis. And of course, later on, the best part was all the applied learning that I received which made me a better professional.
What skills did I acquire?
Although I was equipped with excellent skills through my Swiss Alpine education and previous internship, during the 7-month period at Four Seasons I was able to practice and improve upon some skills such us problem solving and adaptability in difficult times. I am more responsible and confident in providing excellent customer service. The working environment was based on teamwork and the amazing Four Seasons culture in which the golden rule was “treat others as you would like to be treated”. I also enjoyed providing personalized services to important and interesting guests.
How has the internship helped me with the start of my career in hotel management?
My internship at Four Seasons was my second work experience before my last year at Alpine & City Unity Education Group where I am graduating with a Bachelor’s in International Hospitality & Tourism Management. The values and the experience in a multinational company helped me to make decisions for my next choices. I am incredibly happy working in food and beverage but at Four Seasons I was encouraged to experience other departments For the following summer season and after my graduation I am planning to start a Management Training program in London where I will pass through F&B, human resources, finance and general hotel operations and management.
I was delighted to have my first internship at Kempinski Hotels in Malta as a F&B trainee. Starting as a runner at breakfast I was lucky that after a few days my colleague was ill which made my supervisor empower me to take on his position as a waiter and then put me in charge of the Room Service Department on my own in one week. This emphasizes the fact that supervisors should motivate and develop their staff to allow them to grow and be successful hospitality providers.
To summarize, the strength of working for multinational companies is that they provide you with a career path, personal development and a great opportunity to succeed if you are passionate enough and demonstrate your will to grow with them. I was privileged to have these opportunities with Kempinski and Four Seasons, and coupled with the great foundation and professional attitude Swiss Alpine Center instilled in me, I love hospitality and I am ready for my next step. Thank YOU!!!