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Students run their own 3-star hotel: La Dolce Vita

From the outside, Hotel La Dolce Vita in Heeg looks like a successful three-star hotel that has been around for years. It is fully booked and boasts a comfortable atmosphere, enthusiastic staff and satisfied guests. What are things like behind the scenes, though? What was this week like for Tio's hotel school students, some of whom have no experience in the catering industry at all?

A look in the kitchen

“As an employee, I have a range of duties, from reception and the kitchen to cleaning,” says Kirsten Loemij excitedly. “I get to experience all aspects of the hotel. I enjoy the F&B department the most, because I get to interact directly with guests. I love tending bar and providing service.”

Kirsten has learned a lot this week, she says. “Especially in the kitchen in the mise-en-place section. It involves a lot more than you might expect. It is basically the most important area in the entire kitchen. Being here is very educational, because you get to experience what it is really like to work in a hotel. The competitive element makes the whole thing even more fun. It is great that Tio organises this event!”

From theory to practice

“That practical experience is very educational, indeed,” front office manager Manon Lochtenberg confirms. “We give each other feedback, which is very helpful. I am responsible for the reception desk this week. I had never done that before, but everything is going well. It is great to form a team, communicate with each other, coordinate with the other front office managers and make sure that everything goes as planned.” Manon laughs. “Now that I think about it, it is quite a lot of responsibility, actually!”

Compliments from the guests

“We have to work hard,” says general manager Bas van Zanten excitedly. It is hard to tell that he has had less than ten hours of sleep over the past three nights. “This project is awesome! The hotel is fully booked, so we have our hands full. The general managers meet every day, which is very important. It is quite a responsibility to manage this many people. I am learning a whole lot here. Everything is going well and according to plan and the guests are complimenting our efforts. After working on the preparations for the project for so long, it is great to have your hard work appreciated.”

“It is fantastic that Tio organises the hotel week,” Bas continues. “The best way to really learn what it takes to run a hotel is in practice. The project ends on Friday, but I would not hesitate to do it all again. I have always dreamt of running my own hotel one day. This week has affirmed that ambition!”