Working for Club Med is anything but boring. As a G.O, you’re placed in all kinds of situations that range from exhilaratingly fun to tiringly hard, and yes, sometimes you’re downright thrown out of your comfort zone. But opportunities to learn and grow are endless, and with every challenge comes experience… or at the very least something to tell the grandkids. 😉
Last Saturday, November 26th, was my fifth day at Club Med Turkoise. I was just settling into my job as eG.O, getting to know the resort and the people, remembering names and schedules and trying to adapt to my new environment.
Just before 7pm, I was in the fitness centre with choreographer Nicole, rehearsing for one of this week’s shows. The fire alarm went off, ringing through the resort. Our initial reaction was to think it was just a drill. Fire drills are so normal after all – I actually have fond memories of them happening at school in the middle of my dreaded math class, or just before that pop quiz I hadn’t studied for… Fire drills are a part of life, and I thought this was just another very normal procedure.
But when another G.O ran into the fitness centre to tell us we were needed, because yes, there actually was a fire, that’s when it all became very real.
The Grace Bay Restaurant, our main buffet restaurant, was on fire. We could see the flames behind the entrance, and the thick smoke through the windows. G.Os were running to get fire extinguishers and guests were watching from a distance. Luckily dinner hadn’t started yet and the restaurant was closed, so no one was near the building when the fire broke out.
Everything after that started happening very quickly. I’m still so impressed by how fast the whole team came together to handle the situation. Reception G.Os started making calls, working together to reach the emergency crews on the island. Other G.Os ran to find and bring back every fire extinguisher they could get their hands on, and some even tried to put the fire out. Others started rounding up the guests, leading them as far away from the fire as possible. Teams were formed and staff members combed through the resort, making sure every room was evacuated. Administration and HR brought out lists of all employees and all guests and organized a head count. Everyone came together and started helping each other out in a way that still leaves me in awe. Even guests were amazing, helping out where they could. I saw one guest comforting one of our kitchen employees, and another came to us saying he was a doctor and was offering to stick around in case we needed him (which, thank goodness, we didn’t). Everyone was calm, everything was organized, and no guest was hurt.
Before we knew it the fire crew was there and the flames were under control, and our guests were able to head back to their rooms. At 9pm guests were eating dinner at our beach lounge, Sharkie’s, and at 10pm we were putting on a show in the theatre. All scheduled activities for that night went on as planned, even the traditional Crazy Signs. We all danced and partied the night away, the Club Med way.
The resort is still open, and all activities are going on as planned. The only challenge at first was finding a place to feed everyone, but we’ve set up a dining room in the theatre and the kitchen staff now cooks food and serves guests seamlessly every mealtime.
Although guests were given the choice to leave before their scheduled departure date, almost all of them have said they want to stay as long as they can. Besides the dining experience which is a little different, everything else is the same. Turkoise is still Turkoise. 🙂
But because this improvised dining area is only a temporary solution, and because we do need to clean up and rebuild, Club Med issued a statement (which you can read here) announcing we will close the resort this Sunday, December 4th, and will re-launch on December 17th with a grand opening. All of us staff members – G.Os, G.Es and outsourced employees – will be staying here to help with the clean up so the village is ready in time for the Holidays.
As challenging as this event has been, it’s allowed me to see how awesome this Club Med Turkoise team really is; professional, strong, but also helpful and compassionate. I honestly don’t know when our Chef de Village, Francis, sleeps or eats because he’s everywhere all the time, talking to guests for hours and answering their questions until his voice is raw, while still leading our team and making sure we continue to provide the best service we can. I’m so proud to be a part of this team.
This season is going to be amazing. And it certainly won’t be boring.