By Patrick Mott
After years of practice and constant reminders, your children know their manners at the dinner table, and also when eating out and meeting strangers. Firm handshakes, look others in the eye, don’t interrupt, napkins on the lap, sit up straight and plenty of “please” and “thank you’s.”
But what about when they’re not at home—really not at home? When they go along with you to New York, say, or London or Paris, or to a five-diamond resort? You may wonder: Will the children feel comfortable in different surroundings and cultures?
They will if they spend time with Kathleen Cover at The Resort at Pelican Hill®. Cover, Founder and President of the Etiquette School of Beverly Hills-Newport Beach, conducts classes at the Resort for children ages 8–12 designed to take the mystery out of etiquette, particularly the rules of behavior in unfamiliar countries, cultures and vacation surroundings.
The overarching idea, says Cover, is “to maximize the children’s awareness of the world in which they live so they can effectively present themselves when they’re introduced to new settings, and we do this through actual experiences, almost like a party atmosphere.”
Part of the one-day class, which is open to both Resort guests and local residents and is limited from 6 to 12 students per class, is taken up with the basics of courteous behavior. At lunchtime, the first rules of what might be called international behavior are presented. Domestic and continental fine-dining skills are taught and French service is introduced (for example, the soup is served by wait staff from a tureen rather than being plated); the American “zigzag” method of using knife and fork are compared to the continental method (no transfer of the fork); finger bowls are used and unique utensils are explained. It’s true international fine-dining, with four courses.
The globetrotting emphasis increases in the afternoon with the “resort and travel etiquette” segment. “We take children on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Resort,” says Cover. “We show them what it’s like to arrive at the porte-cochère, how to check-in at the front desk and what to expect with the registration process. Our visit to the concierge introduces the important role a concierge has in arranging activities for your family to explore.
Our guest room tour includes showing the children what to do in an emergency, how you don’t put your luggage on the bed because your luggage can be soiled from your airplane trip and how to treat the room as your home. The children also learn how to place an order with in-room dining, such as getting permission prior to making an order and deciding what they want before they make that call.”
At the end of the day—following a swimming pool etiquette talk and free swim time at the famous Coliseum Pool—parents are invited to a certificate ceremony. “That’s when the children have the opportunity to show off what they’ve learned, and what great travel ambassadors they will be to the world,” says Cover.
For more information or to reserve a spot in an upcoming class, please call 800.820.6800