Welcome to The Ritz Carlton Kyoto

The 1stof March, the first day of my internship. I woke up around 7:30, ate breakfast, dressed up in Business attire and made my way to the staff entrance. I am so happy that I can just walk to the hotel instead of taking the subway, bus or bicycle. Especially when I have long working hours and finish late at night it`s a big advantage.

We all met each other at 8:45. I was very surprised when I saw how many interns were already there. In total we are around 20 interns. That’s a lot! But therefore, you are never really alone. You always have someone to talk with, who is in the same situation.

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At the banquet room all the managers from different departments introduced themselves and wished us a good internship. They all said, that it’s is going to be hard and busy for us, but that we should try to make the most out of it.

We needed to introduce ourselves as well. It is always cool to see from which country everyone is coming. We have people from China, Taiwan, Korea, Myanmar, France, Switzerland, Indonesia, Cameroon, Thailand, Egypt and of course Japan. So many different nationalities and therefore so many different personalities. It is just so funny that literally 90% or more are studying in Switzerland. We all come from different countries all over the world, but study in the same area. We are all on hospitality schools either at EHL, Glion, Les Roches, etc.

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For lunch we went to the main restaurant here, la Locanda. We had a 3-course menu with delicious Macarons from Pierre Hérmes at the end. It was the first time to experience a bit of the atmosphere in the hotel.

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At the end of the day we had a tour through the hotel. They showed us the Japanese Restaurant, Mizuki, which means translated Waterfall. The restaurant is separated into 4 different sections: Sushi, Tempura, Kaiseki and Tepanyaki. The Tempura section has 1 Michelin Star.

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We went also to the different room categories. The price to stay here for one night starts at around 1000 US Dollar and can reach over 3000 US Dollar. Per night! That’s a lot of money!

The style of The Ritz Carlton in Kyoto is very unique and special. You can’t compare it to luxury hotels in Dubai, Vienna, New York, Hong Kong or anywhere else in the world. In the past luxury meant to be golden walls, massive chandeliers, bright lights and shiny floors. Everything glamourous! The Ritz Carlton in Kyoto is the opposite. The hotel is focused on the Japanese traditions. When you enter the building, you can feel immediately the calm, secret and relaxed atmosphere. It is hard to describe but it is just like in a Japanese dream. So exclusive! It doesn’t matter if you are at the Front Office, at the Restaurants, in the Lobby Lounge, in the Spa, in a banquet or in a guest room, the atmosphere is always present. It is a totally different luxury experience, which you probably can’t find anywhere else. Even the stuff is traditionally dressed in Kimonos. A fully Japanese experience.

Furthermore, The Ritz Carlton Kyoto has just 134 rooms, which is not a lot for a 5-star hotel. But I guess this is another reason which makes a stay at the hotel even more unique and special. All together makes The Ritz Carlton Kyoto the number one best known hotel in Japan and all over the world. Kind of crazy that we will work here! But scary as well. I mean, when someone is paying minimum 1000$ per night, the expectations are extremely high. Making mistakes is not really acceptable and for us interns, who don’t speak a word Japanese it’s even harder. Because The Ritz Carlton company is in Japan very popular, like a brand as Louis Vuitton or Gucci, the majority of guests are Japanese. Just in the Sakura (Cherry blossom) season the amount of international guest is increasing. But we will see how it works when we actually starting to work.

The first orientation day was long and full of information. We learned about the history of the company, the logo, such as the values and rules.

It was already 6pm when the information session ended. We headed straight to the uniform fitting. If you can call it fitting!

Before we came to Japan, we needed to fill out a formula with all our sizes and measurements. They knew how tall we are, what size we need for the uniform, etc. We were all really annoyed when we got the clothes, we need to wear for the next 6 months. All of the European interns are obviously too tall for the Japanese dress, we supposed to wear. Wearing a too short dress is unacceptable. Therefore, we got the same uniform as the boys. We didn’t know if we should laugh or cry. It was horrible. We looked and felt terrible in these clothes. It is not only what we have to wear, but also the size. Everything is 3 sizes too big. We looked ridiculous. And of course, they didn’t have a smaller size. Thank you!

How are we supposed to serve the guests in that, when we don’t feel comfortable? Even the staff there and the managers laughed at us. Not even the boys fitted in the clothes. They couldn’t even close the trousers. They were just like: “I am not that fat right?”. I was just happy that everyone had the same problem and we all looked the same.

Around 7:30 I finally got home. The first day was actually really nice. I loved the people, the staff, the manager which is by the way Swiss (German part) and all the interns. Just the Uniform staff bothers me a bit. But well, we will see!

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