Tuesday, 14 January 2014

International Experience

Our accommodations have varied thoughout our six months on the road and I feel we have become quite adept at critiquing the standards and expectations of the various options, available to travellers.  After our last week in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, I will never look at accommodation the same again.  Our dear friends have recently purchased a Bed and Breakfast, on a beautiful property in sunny South Africa.  Although South Africa may not rate number one on many Canadian’s destination lists, it should, and a stop at Mongoose Manor, Port Elizabeth, is a must.
The view of the garden from the breakfast table!
During the last few days I have had the privilege of working along side my friend, the warm and friendly owner of Mongoose Manor, Rhoda.  She manages and maintains the property with occasional help from her CEO husband - turned short hand cook, Kerry. Kerry gave me a tip on my first day on the job.  “Rhoda maintains a high level of service and has specific expectations – don’t make suggestions or argue, just do as she tells you!”  Good advice coming from Rhoda’s husband. Perhaps that is why we were able to celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary during our visit!  As I was standing in as support staff, I figured it best that I follow suit. 

Helping out Lidia in the kitchen.
Even Mark helped out with the evening entertainment.
Boy, did I have a lot to learn.  Fruit salad must be cut up finely, onions are to be cut away from you, plates must be warmed, juice must be covered with a doily, French toast must be dipped not soaked, and the clear bottle of liquid is bleach not stain remover, plating of food is left solely up to Rhoda and never, ever, must you forget the parsley sprig, no guests in the kitchen, the green button is for the security gate, and keep to the concrete after dark, all cotton must be ironed, Miele corn is not sweet corn and clientele from around the world have different expectations as far as meals are concerned. I was exhausted and I had only just begun.
Work, work, work and fun, fun, fun!
I'm getting the hang of this B and B thing!
Amongst all of the hustle and bustle of helping out at Mongoose, there was time to take a walk down to the river, have a snooze in the hammock or sit and enjoy a book in the garden.  We met guests from around the world, and appreciated that the facilities, although beautiful, are only a small part of the success at Mongoose.  The relationships and service are what people return for.  Breakfast was a feast and all guests were satiated and merrily headed out on their way with full tummies.  After a day of sightseeing, guests returned to spotlessly clean suites.  The cleaning service was maintained each day, another expectation Rhoda saw to meticulously.  I did not try my hand at this, and was just as well, as I’m fairly confident I would not pass the white glove test! 
Can I offer you a drink from the bar?
 I only experienced a brief glimpse of what is required of a Bed and Breakfast owner/manager, but I am inspired to learn more.  Perhaps in the future, one will find a Bed and Breakfast on the shores of Lake Erie.  I will be hard pressed to run a B and B that compares to Mongoose; however, Rhoda has said that I can now add international hospitality experience to my CV.  Perhaps the future is not that far off!  Thank you so much Rhoda and Kerry for a beautiful stay at Mongoose Manor, what a treat and inspiration.

A long stay guest in the courtyard of Mongoose.

The best part of helping out at the B and B was the moments spent with dear friends.

1 comment:

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