Friday, May 6, 2011

Greetings from Mackinac Island!

Hello all! For those of you who don’t know: I have recently switched hotels and am currently situated on the picturesque Mackinac Island that sits just off the connecting bridge between the Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I am a Front Desk Agent at the Orchid Hotel*, which is, needless to say, a tad more strict than my previous Holiday Inn.

The Orchid Hotel is a small deluxe hotel that offers quaint luxurious (slight oxymoron, I know) rooms at prices ranging from $300 (our one room with an “obstructed view”) to $1,000+. The majority of our rooms provide excellent views of the Straits of Mackinac (i.e. Lake Huron), the marina, or our garden (award winning maybe? I’ll have to double check on that fact). We are located in the downtown of Mackinac and right on the water’s edge.

On top of all this, the hotel has been mentioned in Conde ‘Nast’s “Gold List” countless times as well as other receiving other prestigious honours and recognitions. Obviously, my standards as a hotel employee have changed slightly. Unlike the Inn, I do not have a uniform, but instead must dress “business casual,” but was told not to go “too crazy.” As a girl who loves to see just how many patterns and colours she can pull off, I’m not quite sure how to interpret the dress code. I have a strong feeling that this rule in particular will lead to some fun discussions with the office manager, Jenny*.

Speaking is also a big part of this job. I realize that sounds like a silly statement, but stay with me for a second. I come from an area where people butcher the English language. They add syllables that shouldn’t exist in words (i.e. Gloucester = “glauw-ster”, not “gla-chester”), switch out vowels and consonants (Library vs Liberry), and just generally have a habit of creating their own pronunciations. Anyways, I would certainly describe myself as someone with very good grammar and a very professional way of speaking. Apparently I am mistaken. Thus far I have been told to lower my voice (I sound like I’m five on the phone?), stop saying “yep”, “you guys”, “okie”, “not a problem”, and a “thank you” without a “one moment please” after it. My god. Orchid Hotel also takes the use of the words “room” and “area” VERY seriously. Some of our suites have a sitting area, while others have sitting ROOMS meaning that they can be closed off from the bedrooms. Even though I get this distinction, my mind is having the hardest time communicating to my mouth when to say either of these words and each bloody time leads to Jenny having to describe the differentiation to me all over again.

Okay, enough with the technical stuff. I’ll continue to expand on the ins and outs of the hotel as the season progresses, which I am sure will get more entertaining as tomorrow is our first official day of being open! Now for the real stuff...

My roommate. As a few of my readers may know, I do not have the best of luck with roommates. Most of them have to be heavily medicated for one reason or another and just have a tendency of being “different.” My new roommate is no exception. Dahlia* is a very special girl. So far I have learned that she is allergic to dairy, horses, dust, and possibly some type of meat (there’s some other stuff, too, but I stopped keeping track). Any time she comes in contact with these items...well she has a negative reaction that she then feels necessary to broadcast to me. Long story short, yesterday she asked me if I wanted to go to the store with her to get Gas X and then proceeded to go into a detailed bowel movement discussion. Did I mention that we have only spent three nights together?

Having never worked in the hotel business, Dahlia is very overwhelmed by all that goes on at the Orchid. As front desk agents we are required to memorize every room number, their description and their view. This task has Dahlia ESPECIALLY stressed, which she moans and groans to me everyday. EVERYday. And I’m not just talking about while we’re in the room together – oh no. We eat every meal together as well as work together (does anyone else hear the twanging banjoes of my Blue Ridge experience in the background?) and during each of these instances she is complaining. And on top of having a screwed up digestive track and being stressed beyond belief – she has a sinus infection. And did I mention she snores? I believe the phrase is, “like a jack hammer.” She also has a blind boyfriend who she feels the need to reference every few seconds and is oddly blunt at times, such as asking when I might need the room for sex, or inquiring as to my “monthly cycle.” (I would like to repeat that we have known each other for THREE NIGHTS). Dahlia is also weary of walking around at night, drinking, and partying, activities that are very present on this island (I’ve heard Mackinac called the Las Vegas of the Midwest several times). Needless to say, this shall be an interesting summer with Dahlia the Bubble Girl.

Besides all that, I think this season at the Orchid will be very exciting. The hotel is family owned and all the “higher ups” make it a priority to get to know all of their staff. Our housing is located just past the infamous Grand Hotel, which is apparently where the majority of the seasonal island employees will be housed. There are great trails and random historic places at nearly every turn and the all the buildings look like something ripped right out of Pleasantville. As the weather gets nicer I will post pictures!

(Side note: I will try to be more regular with the blog posts from now on and hopefully I will have more entertaining posts as the season continues.)

*Names have been changed for job security.

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