Employee housing is as different as night and day. Our first nights at the Pahaska Teepee Resort were spent for free in what was called the "six-pack", a bunk room with beds for 6 that was seldom if ever locked.
On the other hand, the Hyatt Grand Aspen had sumptuous one-bedroom furnished condos right at the food of the gondola with dishwasher plus washers and dryers that went for the best part of $1,000 per month.
Since you are older some places have bodies of older workers and stake out areas with older occupants and, hence, quieter styles of life. Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks for instance have over-30 and married couples type areas - much quieter. Not to say that some of the fun of a resort isn't the wild romps with fun room mates, but as a rule, the over-30 crowd seems to pretty much prefer an area quiet from 11pm to 7am anyway.
One premium perk of resorts is individual housing, an unshared door of your very own to close. You would be surprised at the number of properties that have them provided you search early enough. For example, Vail Resorts has studio apartments in Avon at the foot of their flagship Beaver Creek Resort. They come furnished with cable TV and all utilities - bring your own pots and pans and bedding. Obviously. you can bring your guitar and computer in that case.
As much as I liked Glacier Park, good stuff was best left home or locked in your car unless you happend to get one of the rare single housing spots. Typical there is two to a room and your stuff is just as safe as your room mate is responsible.
They do not have to be thieves themselves if they wander down the hall to visit friends for hours, leaving your door unlocked while you're away at work.
Nobody can see into a locked car trunk and until you get to know your room mate's level of honesty and responsibility, don't take anything to a shared unit that you wouldn't want to come home and see gone.
My room mate in a nice dorm in Yellowstone, had a large water bottle filled with all his tips for the summer - some $800 in change and small bills. We went to the end-of-the-season party and during that time, someone had pulled the screen out of our window and taken the fourty pounds of change.
In Glacier Park, I found a bellman in my private room.
He explained he had used his master key to "inspect". I noticed my credit card was gone later and when mysterious stuff charged on it was sent to his home town, the police were just one step behind him when he fled in the middle of the night.
Another room mate of mine in Glacier kept valuable photography gear in his room, room mates or no, and to my knowledge never got stung. I guess it is the luck of the draw and you have to use your judgement. I have seen lots of valuable cameras in the parks but seldom a laptop. The Glacier units all had small locking cabinets in which you were to put your valuables but they would be easy to break open once the thief was in the room.
If you really need nice stuff around you look at the jobs that have quality single housing. I have had quality single housing at Beaver Creek, the Hotel Jerome, and the Hyatt Grand Aspen.
I have had housing where I would not want to have certain valuables in Glacier National Park, Pahaska Teepee Resort and the Nantucket Inn. For me, the security of the housing was not so important as I never brought anything of value. I could enjoy some fabulous place fully with no worries about a room mate leaving my movie camera in an unlocked room.
How would you go about it, brand new?
One way might be to go onto the very useful www.coolworks.com and look at every single job that even appears to be slightly attractive. Then see what they have for housing. They may have it on coolworks or on their own websites. Or you might send an e-mail to their HR person asking if their is a
way to get single housing. Supervisors and night workers often go to the head of the list for limited single housing. Some places let you camp out but that's a rare option. A number have sites for RV's and trailers and many times that is viewed as superior to the other housing at the hotel or resort.
If I were on my very first resort job, I think I might like something like the front desk at the Lodge at Vail - a nice property, in a nice place run by a nice company learning a desireable skill. That said, I don't think they have any single housing but you can certainly ask if there is any way you can swing it.
When I worked there, they had 4 people in two-bedroom condos none too close or nice. The complaint was noise and there was just zero soundproofing in the units.
On the other hand, a place like Yellowstone Park has brand new college style dorms with two to a room, in a much more managed environment where a second complaint about your noise meant termination.
You have to know the job and the housing to work out if the one is worth the other. A great job where you never sleep 8 hours might be less enjoyable than a so-so job where your housing is great and you lovev every minute you're off work. A beautiful condo with a sorry room mate is less enjoyable than a bare bones dorm room with someone you like.
While you cannot pick your room mates usually, you can know before you take a job how attractive the housing/job ratio is to you.
For example, Glacier Park has some very well-run gift shop jobs in East Glacier. They also have a dorm that runs to older women and managers but it is two to a room and bath down the none too well sound proofed hall.
The pay isn't too good but the Park's another world if you can handle being awakened every now and then by other dorm occupants, coming home from karaoke night at Blondie's.
On the other hand, the Hyatt Grand Aspen has condos mandated by the town with a value of probably half a million dollars apiece on the open market.
The whole life style is a little less funky but you have heated parking and celebrity guests to go with your higher wages and rent. Some people like being close to nature and some like the most luxurious surrounds they can find. Some like some of both.
A great place might have no job you like. Or a rather plain place will have super housing. For instance, the window in the deli kitchen at Dornan's in Grand Teton National Park looks straight unobstructed at the Grand Teton.
That famous photo is yours all day through mists and clouds and blizzards and sun. All day, every day.
In the winter, funky Dornan's is kind of laid back and has single housing in their rather nice dorm - bath down the hall.
Then again, if you need pretty good money, a whole other slate of resort openings will come into view. Almost always the main food-and-beverage dinner server is among the better-paid resort employees - serving dinner in the main dining room anywhere.
Bring decent but no rare clothing and nothing more valuable than a halfway decent camera until you know how you will be housed is a good rule of thumb. If you have a car with a storage area or trunk that no one can see into, that's different. Any number of people bring guitars to Glacier, for example, but I have seen them left unattended in unlocked rooms frequently so there was no real guarantee they wouldn't be missed.
Whoever interviews you will most certainly tell you what's up as they don't want to be liable for losses and you should listen to them.
Finally, nothing substitutes for a one-on-one with someone who is working or has worked there.
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