KEEPING THE PLACE RUNNING
The guys in maintenance are required to repair everything from golf carts to room sinks. They fix the lawn and garden equipment and also work on the bigger stuff like the air-conditioning system and water systems. Outside tradesmen are brought in only when necessary, usually for electrical work regarding the transformers and generating system.
The maintenance shop is composed of a section for wood working/furniture repair and a section for mechanical work. They do their own welding and fabricating. All plumbing, heating and air-conditioning and grounds electrical work is done by maintenance.
The Mechanical Engineer who oversees the day to day operations is the single most important person to the operation of the resort. The complexity of the systems running the resort, are greater than those in some US or European towns. The hotel’s Mechanical Engineer is responsible for keeping all the systems operational and all back-up systems ready for use, should they be needed. He is on call 24/7.
Surprisingly the men who work in maintenance are self-taught. There is no school in Mexico for what they do. Many bring years of experience working in related fields and teach each other the tricks of their respected trades.
The top guys would be considered ticketed millwrights outside of Mexico. They are paid good money because guys with their experience, who live in Mexico near a particular resort, do not grow on trees. Each resort needs at least one of these guys with an assistant. They must speak Mexican Spanish in order to relate to their staff. They must be prepared to live with their family, either at the resort or near it.
WHAT ABOUT THE GARBAGE?
A resort the size of the Palladium produces a large amount of garbage as one might imagine. Sea grass and other plant material collected while landscaping is used as fill or left to integrate back into the ground over time by dumping it in the jungle. It’s all organic so it’s okay.
The garbage collected from rooms and general operations is sent to the shipping receiving area in either the Kantenah/Colonial side or the White Sand/Riviera side. There the garbage is sorted into one of three classifications [wet, oil, dry] and stored for regular pick-up.
I’D LIKE TO MAKE A RESERVATION PLEASE
All incoming and outgoing telephone calls go through the main switchboard located in the Kantenah side.
All reservation requests are handled by the Reservations Office. This office handles reservations for the entire resort. The Reservations Office is also located on the Kantenah side.
Every guest room has a television and a telephone. There is a satellite dish and receiver for each channel fed to the television system. If you wonder why they don’t supply every channel it is because the receivers are expensive. There is a system of receivers and a phone system for the Kantenah/Colonial side and one set of systems for the White Sand/Riviera side. Maintenance is responsible for keeping the systems up and running 24/7.
The Palladium is in essence four hotels with the special Royal Suites making it “sort of” five hotels. There is a Managing Director for the whole complex but not an Assistant General Manager. There is a Resident Manager for the Colonial/Kantenah and a Resident Manager for the White Sand/Riviera. Each one of the Resident Managers have two Assistants.
There is a manager for food services for the Kantenah/Colonial side and one for the White Sand/Riviera side. It is the same with the Housekeeping Manager, Maintenance Manager and Bar Manager.
There is one Guest Service Manager for the entire resort as well as one Security Manager. There are 13 employees in Guest Services. Animation staff [entertainment] is composed of 52 employees. There are 51 groundskeepers, 156 bartenders and 289 housekeepers.
There are three shifts at the resort: 7:00am – 3:00 pm, 3:00pm – 11:00pm, 11:00pm – 7:00am, with a six day work weak. Managers also work a six day week with different hours.
The offices are divided between the two hotel complexes. The General Manager is akin to a Mayor in this little city and the main office, City Hall.
As far as Unions go, employees such as Housekeepers, Bell Boys, Bartenders, Waiters and Stewards are in a Syndicate. This Syndicate is Sindicato de la CROC [Confederaciï¿½n Revolucionaria de Obreros y Campesinos – Confederation Revolutionary of Workers and Farmers]. The remaining staff like Receptionists, Guest Services, Maitre D’, Restaurant Managers, Animation Team, and all the management are classified as “Confidence” employees. They do not belong to a Syndicate.
WHAT ABOUT THE FLAMINGOS?
There is no veterinarian at the resort, but they have a Biologist on staff. The Biologist does a visual inspection of the animals [crocodile, alligators, flamingos] during the animals feeding time. In the advent an animal gets sick or looks sick the Biologist transports the sick animal to an ecological park close to the Hotel, usually Crococun or Xcaret. After the animal has recovered it is returned to the resort.
Most hotels use a wrist-band system to identify guests. The Palladium uses five colored wrist-bands:
Gold – VIP
Visiting Fiesta Managers
General Manager Decision
Red – VIP
Kantenah, Colonial, White Sand, Riviera guests
Security guards are posted at specific locations throughout the resort as well as uniformed guards who patrol the grounds.
The day to day operations of the Palladium run like clockwork with an endless array of problems. Procedures are drafted into operational manuals to guide managers through the day to day routines. Hotels are connected together with a labyrinth of hallways. Doors lead from bars to storage to kitchens to dishwashing stations to storage etc… In other words, the doors you see marked staff-only lead back into the maze of Palladium operations.
What surprised us most wandering around the backrooms and operation facilities at the Palladium was the cleanliness of all rooms and areas, inside and out. Even with a staff shortage the place is kept immaculate. We were also quite impressed by the amount of effort that goes into tracking every piece of food that enters the grounds. It really is a labor intensive job, but eliminates contamination.
We hope this article sheds some light on how these mega-resorts operate. It is quite fascinating.
As a footnote, the Palladium management allowed us access to all areas of the resort. No doors were left unopened [except the security office…the Security Manager was not around to open it] and all questions were answered. The staff was quite forthcoming with helpful information.
We would like to thank Paula Montoto [Guest Services Manager] for her assistance in the preparation of this article.
This article has been checked for accuracy by the General Director of The Grand Palladium Resort & Spa.