After dedicating 22 years of service to AX Hotels, Charles Portelli bids a fond farewell to his career in hospitality, as he embarks on a well-deserved retirement journey. As Front Office Manager, Charles has become a familiar, friendly face to countless guests, many of whom returned to AX The Victoria to specifically for him.
Here, Charles reflects on his journey, shares insights gained from years of service, and offers words of wisdom to aspiring professionals looking to make their mark in the industry.
Could you share your personal journey with AX The Victoria?
My journey with AX The Victoria has been a beautiful chapter in my life, one that is now coming to a close after more than two decades. It all started when my sister-in-law introduced me to the hotel, and I must admit, I was initially hesitant about applying for the position as I already had a stable job in a nearby hotel. But the warmth and hospitality that greeted me, coupled with the refined and tasteful ambiance of the hotel, convinced me to take the leap of faith. And now, looking back, I can say with certainty that it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Working here has been a joyous experience. Yes, there were challenges along the way, but what made it truly special was the opportunity to connect with so many people who became more than mere guests. They were dear friends, some of whom came back to visit year after year. And over the years, I had the privilege to get to know them, see their families grow and flourish, and become a part of their Malta experience. Equally wonderful were the colleagues and management that I had the pleasure of working with. They were not just co-workers but became genuine friends to me. The memories I’ve gathered over the years will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to learn, grow, and share experiences with such incredible individuals.
What are your reflections on a career dedicated to hospitality?
I began my career in the hospitality industry 43 years ago. It was a simpler time back then, when the hospitality industry was so much different from what it is now. I still remember my early years in the industry, when technology was not as advanced as it is today. We had to do everything manually, without the assistance of computers. I recall the days when we had to rely on a telephone operator to place overseas calls and wait for their call back to know the cost of the call. Room reservations used to come through faxes, and we used a board with different colours to identify the specific travel agent placing the booking. Looking back, it’s amazing how much the industry has evolved since then.
The old-world charm of those years holds a special place in my heart. However, what has always been constant throughout my career is the importance of our guests. They are the lifeblood of the hospitality industry, and without them, all our efforts would be for nothing. The pandemic has really highlighted this fact, reminding us of how much we rely on them. As I look back on my career, I’m grateful to have been part of an industry that strives to provide excellent service to our guests, and I’m honoured to have played my part.
How do you feel now that you are approaching retirement?
I must admit that the reality of retirement is only now finally sinking in. It will be a significant change for sure, but I have been preparing for it for some time now. I’m excited to have more quality time to spend with my family and to explore various interests and pastimes in earnest.
So, as I bid farewell to my working life, I’m proud of the contributions I’ve made and grateful for the memories and experiences that I’ve gained.
As you transition to the next chapter of your life, what aspects of your career do you believe will remain with you?
I’ll definitely be taking with me many memories and values, which have become an inseparable part of my personality. Although I won’t be directly involved in the industry anymore, I know that tourists will still be around, and I may come across instances where I can offer friendly recommendations or directions to visitors to our shores to enhance their experience of my beloved Malta. Additionally, the friendships and connections that I’ve made over the years with guests and colleagues have enriched my life in countless ways and those memories will remain with me forever.
What advice would you offer to aspiring professionals entering the hospitality industry, particularly those who are interested in working with AX Hotels?
I believe the best piece of advice I can give any hospitality hopeful is that this industry requires dedication, hard work, and a true passion for providing excellent service to guests. You may be required to work long hours, weekends, and even public holidays. But trust me, the rewards are immeasurable. You’ll get to meet people from all walks of life, immerse yourself in different cultures, and offer guests an experience they’ll never forget.
AX The Victoria has been like my second home to me for more than half of my professional career. I believe this says a lot about how much I came to treasure my time with AX Hotels. So, if you’re willing to be part of the AX Hotels mission statement, that of making a difference in the hospitality industry, providing guests with an unforgettable experience through quality service, then you’ll be properly equipped to thrive in your career and enjoy fantastic moments with a talented and dedicated team. All that is left for me to say is, take the plunge, immerse yourself in hospitality the industry, provide fantastic service to guests, and you’ll have a career you’ll be truly proud of.
Are you ready to embark on an exciting career in the hospitality industry and join the team at AX The Victoria? Don’t miss the opportunity to apply for the post of Front Office Manager. While Charles’ departure will undoubtedly leave big shoes to fill, we can’t wait to hear from passionate and talented individuals who are committed to delivering exceptional service to our guests. Apply now and take the first step towards a rewarding career in hospitality with AX Hotels.