“Me and “Le Bristol”

“Welcome to Le Bristol Emmanuele, your father has told us so much about you”. That must have been one of the happiest days of my life. I was celebrating my 10th birthday and my father’s present was a week-end at my dream hotel, “Le Bristol” Paris. I used to be mesmerized at my father’s stories of his stays there and could not believe that I was finally living the dream. It was 1991.

Exactly 10 years later, there I was, attending “Glion Hotel School”, full of hope, excitement and pride.

One of the biggest tasks in a first semester Glion student’s life is to find a 6 month internship for the next semester and all my focus and energy was directed to one hotel only: “Le Bristol”.

It must be faith

While improving my rather disappointing skills in the school kitchen, I became friends with a third semester girl whom I shared my plans with, telling her how eager I was to get an internship at “Le Bristol”. She started laughing and at first I was annoyed, “Was that so impossible to believe?”. I soon discovered that her family owned the hotel. Needless to say, I was overjoyed and in just two weeks I got an interview and an offer to work 6 months as an intern in the hotel’s kitchen and restaurant.

The unexpected

My contract finally arrived. I ripped the envelope open and went through the pages with trepidation until I realized something: I was not getting paid or getting housing. I did not expect this and most certainly I did not expect that it would affect me so much. I spent nights thinking about what to do and finally, against my parent’s will, I decided not to take the offer. I was deliberately jeopardizing my dream.

Me and “Le Sophia Country Club, Grand Hotel Mercure”

I ended up accepting an offer at the 4-starred Sophia Country Club on the French Riviera as a cook and restaurant waiter. During those 6 months I was confronted with a poorly managed hotel where employees were mistreated (especially interns) and the level of service was far below what I hoped. I thought I had made the biggest mistake ever.


I am now a 31 year old professional, working for what I firmly consider to be the best hotel chain in the world. I really do not think I would be here had I not gone through what I have during my first internship. What I have learned over those 6 months helped me be a better employee, a better manager and a better person. I could not expect to understand that then, but I do now and most importantly, I realized that while it is important to plan ahead is even more important to be ready for the unexpected, embrace it and learn from it.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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