My first guests were different. In the current hotel I don’t have the type of the guests I always had. There are no families, no kids, no youngsters. Rarely middle age appear. My guests are usually older and already retired. You might think that they don’t need my animation here. You’re not right though! Let me tell you more about it!
Three weeks ago I started to work in the hotel Helios Costa Tropical in Almuñécar. Three weeks ago I met my first guests. At that time a group of 60 Swedish retired people arrived to the hotel to spend here three weeks. Besides them I met also some British, Belgian and Spanish guests.Since I have never worked with such old people, it meant a new challenge for me. I had to adapt my animation programme to them. When the previous animator told me that he doesn’t use mats for morning stretching because people are not able to get down (for example because of their knees), I got quite scared. I had never lead a lesson doing exercises just standing up.
New stretching lesson
At the beginning I didn’t feel so confident about leading the class differently. But because of the guests, slowly I had to learn how to lead a stretching class without doing excercises on the floor. Whatever I do, I always want to do my best so I started learning new movements from youtube videos. Like that, I could also try to lead every lesson differently in order not to do always the same. My guests – women and even men! – were satisfied. They were coming to me saying that they really enjoyed the lesson and will come again tomorrow. They even joined my stretching lesson in the park. Day by day, I was getting more people to follow my lessons. And not just stretching! As I was getting to know the guests, they started to join my activities. Boules got very popular so I had to extended the time for playing it.
Sangría or cocktail?
Another favourite activity is a sangría or cocktail demonstration. It’s actually the first time I am doing this kind of thing and people always come. So for a while, I become a bartender and I explain to the guests how to prepare sangría or a specific cocktail. To make it more interesting, I always read a history about the drink. When the drink is finished, we do the tasting part. People always seem to be happy to get a bit of free alcoholic drink and they tell me everytime that my sangría is much better than the one you can get at the hotel bar.
Anyway, everytime after the demonstration I have an activity where you need to aim. Sounds funny, I know. So after the sangría, the guests can come to do the archery and after the cocktail, they can join darts. We always have much fun! Except the activities I mentioned, I do also rifle shooting, Spanish lesson or sjoelbak. Last week it was the first time in my life I have played “short mat bowls”. It’s quite a good game, mostly British play it and they were the ones who taught me how to play it. Not to do activities just in the hotel, we go also out. As I mentioned before, once a week I do exercises outside in the park. Every Friday we go together to the street market where you can buy many things – clothes, bags, food, CDs, kitchen stuff etc.
My two nights
Of course, evening programme cannot be missed. Every week I cover just two nights. I usually play a bingo one night and some kind of a quiz the other night. Everywhere I worked, I got used to do a music or a movie quiz. Since I have never worked with older people, I didn’t know what to expect. So the first time I made the movie quiz, it kind of failed. I realized that this is not the right way. The week later I prepared music quiz where I removed all the modern songs and I replaced them with the older ones. People were much more satisfied and me too! Except these two quizes, I have prepared a quiz about Almuñécar and one general knowledge quiz. Almuñécar quiz was successfull. Just some guests were surprised by two last questions where I wanted to surprise them asking about my nationality as well as the national drink of my country 🙂
There are different external show the rest of the nights . Every Monday we have “Latin night” where a professional couple dances salsa and bachata and after that they teach people the basic steps. From Thursday till Saturday we have live music – one night with British singer and two nights with Spanish singer. On Sunday we have the typical flamenco dance performed by a group of girls.
91 years old and still active
My first guests have already left. All of them touched my heart. I just have to tell you about one person that impressed me a lot. One part of the big Swedish group was a short lady that was 91 years old as she did tell me the first day I met her. Few times she joined my stretching class, back home she practices yoga. She always came to play boules, she never missed my Spanish lesson and she always joined ping-pong. Every day she went for swimming. She was quite fit, she could speak some English, a bit of Spanish and French as well. She used to be a teacher of physical education and I think that’s why she is still so active. At her age it’s truly unbelievable! I think I’ll never forget her. She was always smiling and was always so positive and willing to try new things.
Every person is worth meeting
You know, I love working with people. It doesn’t matter what their age or nationality is. Every person gives you or teaches you something new. Every person is worth meeting. Everybody has stories to tell. The older the person is, the more experience they have to share. I think you can hardly imagine how much fun I got with these older people and how much I felt appreciated by doing this job. Even though they are gone now, I’ll keep these memories forever. When I’m old, I might share my experience with some hotel animators in the future. 🙂
An envelope with a message and two photos inside that I got from my guests