We are very fortunate at TerraVina to have a great team of people working with us, many of whom have been with us since before the start of the hotel, such as Suzi, our General Manager, Laura our head sommelier, Lyn our Head Housekeeper, Pearl our Breakfast Supervisor and Charlie our bar man/sometime night porter, just to name but a few- in this business it is rare to not have a high staff turnover and whilst some departments are harder to maintain than others… chefs tend to be higher maintenance, overall we enjoy a low staff turnover.
On the occasions when we do have to re-recruit it is always a challenge to find the right person to join the team and as we are such a small group of people working so closely together it is very important to find the right “fit” of personalities and characters. Rowena, one of our receptionists reminded me this week that she has now been with us a year and she was laughingly recalling her trial day, when she came to see if she liked us and we her and to experience the job at first hand…..I’m actually surprised she decided to take the job as her first telephone enquiry was from a potential guest who wanted to bring a parrot with him! He knew we didn’t take dogs but wondered if a parrot would be acceptable instead and then we had to chase after a checked out guest who was due to return to the States on a cruise liner that morning. He had left his dentures behind and we didn’t want him to suffer on the whole voyage with no teeth, so we put them in a taxi with a note and they got to the docks just in time before the ship set sail.
Rowena says there have been many more days such as that first one…. We call them our “Smile and Wave days” and this week we shared another one. A lovely lady, who had stayed over the night before, was having trouble with her car alarm which was constantly setting itself off and immobilizing the car. We thought it might be dead batteries in the key fob, but it wasn’t, we called the garage, but whilst they were happy to come out to see if they could fix it, she was in a hurry and running late for a meeting. She thought she could see the problem through the window of the door- the button to open the main, drivers side door was being stopped from springing up and open due to the door panel appearing to be out of line… thus there was nothing else for it; we had to climb in via the boot. As the guest was dressed to impress for her meeting, in I hopped, (we could open the boot with the emergency key and with some pushing and shoving we released the back seats, which then allowed a gap for me to and crawl through….. us hoteliers are nothing if not resourceful, agile and fast thinking on our feet! Thankfully I was able to open the door from the inside. We pushed the door panel back into place, double checked that the lock worked (whilst one of us sat inside) and result! Off she drove, one happy and relieved guest…. The cameras should have been rolling though as the funniest sight was me having to crawl back out feet first, as there was not enough head room for me to clamber upright and through to the front (the car was a coupé) and I got stuck half way out with my legs dangling- all I can add is thank goodness I was wearing trousers that day.
We laughed for the rest of the day and were thrilled when a beautiful bowl of orchids arrived to thank us for our help. Rowena tells me her friends and family love to hear all about her days at TerraVina as they find her accounts of life here very entertaining- I can’t imagine why…. But would agree that most days there is plenty to smile about and enjoy.