The land of a thousand smiles – A once in a lifetime opportunity

A career in the hospitality industry gives you the opportunity to work at some amazing destinations throughout the world. For my second Industry Placement (IP), I decided to return to South-East Asia. Aloft Bangkok – Sukhumvit 11 in Thailand boasted numerous elements which I felt would enhance my repertoire of skills and knowledge – benefitting me in the future with the hopes of becoming a successful hospitality professional. I was really looking forward to working with the Front Office Team.

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Commencing my six-month journey in Bangkok, I was sceptical about the decision I had made because I was out of my comfort zone. Being the only foreigner, I felt anxious about adapting to the local culture, and the diverse style of management; but at the end of the day, nothing ever comes easy! Living close to work was a perk, so being late was never an option. I would always beat the Bangkok traffic. It is considered one of the most congested cities in the world! Eating street food (Pad Thai, Green Curry and Tom Yum) was a daily routine, with fresh juices to quench the thirst!

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Working for Starwood was an incredible experience, and one that was quite different to my first IP with IHG. Aloft Bangkok – Sukhumvit 11 is a small 297-room property situated directly in the nightlife area of Bangkok. A typical day for me began either early in the morning, or in the afternoon. After briefing I would learn basic Thai conversational skills followed by the usual front office procedures.

With Thailand’s tourism increasing rapidly during 2015 and as a location for youngsters to enjoy themselves under the luminous lights, every month was considered peak period. Daily occupancy always sat between 85-100%. I was fortunate enough to be able to assist with concierge and housekeeping duties. This enabled me to have a better understanding of Rooms Division and overall hotel operations.

Life in Bangkok was different and exciting at the same time. When not working hard, I had the chance to explore Bangkok visiting numerous tourist attractions, shopping districts and sky bars. My brother was working in Hua Hin, located three hours (200km) South-Southwest of Bangkok (click here to read about his IP experience), so on days of much needed R&R, it was the perfect getaway, sipping coconuts and reminiscing about how beautiful the country is was bliss.

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To end a magnificent six-month journey, I participated in the yearly Thai New Year water festival known as “Songkran”. The day was crowded with water fights throughout the city, and on every corner someone was prepared for a water gun battle!

The knowledge and skills obtained during my time at Aloft Bangkok-Sukhumvit 11 are invaluable. I not only grew as an adult, but the lessons learnt have given me a real understanding of what hospitality is about. The passion I have for the hospitality industry will continue to grow with each new experience. I am forever grateful for the management and human resource team at Aloft Bangkok-Sukhumvit 11 for a once in a lifetime opportunity. These memories will be cherished forever.

Until next time, (จนกว่าจะถึงครั้งต่อไป!)

Brandon