I worked at Inn At Little Washington full-time (More than 5 years)
can be a fun atmosphere; laughter and joy is encouraged. smiling is mandatory.
guests are the best part of working there, guest satisfaction is very high, Guests will love you and will be happy to see you when they come back.
It's a beautiful property, in fact, too beautiful (see cons below)
Most of the people are hard workers and very nice. Not cliquish or mean. Very sweet people. Some employees have been there a long time showing great dedication and an example to follow:
Cameron--a sweet man to work with; he is the cheese guy and tea expert
Landry--a nice guy who has been there a long time
Scott--bartender--nice guy and been there a while. very easy to work with.
Syed--didn't know him well because he works during the day but he's been there a long time
Chris--Ringleader--nice guy and very knowledgeable about the place; fun and funny.
Neil--been there the longest. We called him "Coach" super guy.
Michael--good, younger worker and helpful when in a pinch. the next generation and talented
Patrick--a gifted man, very insightful, can be very fun and funny. He can be inspiring and charming. he is a perfectionist and he will try to help you look better, stand up straight, walk smoothly and learn to smile. He may also tell you what you don't want to hear about yourself but that can be a good thing. He likes to give beauty and fashion tips. (hey, helped me).
You will learn a lot that can help you build your career as long as you don't stay too long. After a year you should move on. If you work hard and are talented you can become their hero. They will flatter you and make you feel great about what you do when they are desperate.
Note: Before you are hired tell them about a vacation time you already have planned. They honor that but after you are there it is not so easy get off.
tell them you plan to move to the area. A friend that I recommended didn't get hired because he didn't want to move there.
You will be required to work all holidays including Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and every other holiday without holiday pay (it's just a regular work day for them). The owner lives on the property and he is there a lot (when he isn't traveling around the world). So he wants you to make it your life too.
You are in the middle of nowhere. You will have to move because commuting from the DC area will take you 1.5-2 hours each way. I tried for a while but had to move closer; just too far to commute. I left my house at 12:30 and got home at 2 am most nights.
There can be some very long hours. If it is not busy you will not make much money that night but you will still work a full day. They don't let you close down until all the guests have left and they tell the guests that they don't close at any specific time. They tell them to just relax and enjoy themselves, so sometimes you just have to sit and wait to do final shut down.
If you make a mistake the chef might yell at you and make you feel stupid. He is getting older and might lose his cool every once in a while. It doesn't happen every day but I have seen it happen.
you pay for your own vacation. they take money out of the tip pool and set it aside for your next vacation year. If you leave before that time they will not give you your money that you put in. Other former employees have told me the same thing happened to them when they left.
they don't show much care about employees unless they are in a crisis. The most important people are the guests and they will always place the customer first.
They usually don't have enough staff because they can't keep them long enough. It gets old trying to train the new kids especially when you can be overwhelmed yourself. they don't have a formal training program so you are expected to learn by asking questions on your own. The more senior employees there are the easier it is to learn, but over the past while most of the senior people are leaving for some reason.
they want to be the best but when it comes to benefits they only want to be average.
January through March is very slow and your wages will drop by 30-50% during those times. My paychecks sometimes decreased by as much as $1,000 in the slow months so you have to save money. I just stopped going out for beers and that helped! Summer time can be slower too.
You can't take vacation days during the Spring or the Fall, from Thanksgiving through the New Year.
You pay for your own vacation--they take 3% out of your wages. If you leave before the end of the year you don't get that back. they give it to the other employees.
They invest in the property, not employees. They spent millions on improvements and renovations and give lots of food away to make guests happy but only gave me a $50 bonus at Christmas time and only care about you when they have a need. i know that sounds ungrateful but they give $50 worth of champagne to strangers each night but little more than a pat on the back. I was there several years and unless you are one of the managers or threatening to quit you are not appreciated very much.
The chef is getting older (I think 73) and when he is suddenly no longer around, the place will crumble. That is why you should just use it as an opportunity to advance your career. they will respect you more for it if you tell them that. "Hey, I am only going to work here for a year or so." Then, they will treat you better because they will not want to lose you, especially if you are really good.
When i celebrated a milestone anniversary (5 years) the top dogs did not congratulate me. But a guy who left after 2 years was honored. They don't appreciate you unless it is beneficial to them. That is why I left. Too much sacrifice and not nearly enough gratitude.
Advice to Management
create a training program like Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons. They do it best.
offer better benefits that are similar to the best work places (like Marriott)
Make it a goal to be voted one of the best places to work in Virginia
Recognize loyal employees. There are not that many so doing so wouldn't be hard.
I applied through other source. I interviewed at Inn At Little Washington (Little Washington, VA) in May 2016.
sent me resume through their website. did not hear back from them. Later went saw them at a job fair and they practically offered me job on the spot.I came back later for an interview because I wasn't prepared. I wondered why I never heard from them the first time. I actually have sent my resume a few years early but they never answered.
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