A Step Up from Monastic Life to Luxury

Today we went through another round of zazen, morning service, morning work, and breakfast at the monastery before taking a train to Kyoto. After arriving at Kyoto, we proceeded to head to the Ritz-Carlton hotel and had a nice tour of the Italian restaurant in the hotel, several different types of rooms, and the various pieces of art on display in the hotel. After that, we then proceeded to have a reception and info session and Q&A with a few of the executives from the Ritz-Carlton company.

The discussion included a display of the various locations that the company has branches in, which includes all parts of the world and many of the world’s largest cities and tourist destinations. There was also discussion of the code the employees the company follow, such as treating the customer as one would want to be treated, and anticipating and meeting the needs of customers to maximize their experience.

After the info session, we proceeded with the Q&A session. The Q&A included topics such as the challenges faced with building new locations, how to hire and train new employees, how the company deals with the language barrier, the effects of climate change and how it affects their shoreside hotel locations, local cuisine in Kyoto,  and the challenges for current employees that shift to locations in new countries. The session was very informative, and the panel provided a lot of useful insights into their business practices and how they handle the difficult challenges of managing hotels in so many different locations. There was a lot of information that was very in depth on how the hotel works and maintains its business, and the panel was an excellent experience.

Author, Ben Ostrem, during a hike in Japan
A taste of the good life at the Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto.