Posted by: nurainie | April 9, 2009

Ipoh-KL Sentral-Ipoh Train Trip

Students planned a trip to KL using the new train service by KTM from Ipoh direct to KL Sentral and back on the same day.

Took the 9am train which is the first train of the day as it is a weekend. Weekdays the earliest runs around 5:30am. The latest train back to Ipoh is at 9:45pm. There was only one coach which is 3rd class priced at RM10.00 one way. Second class cost RM18.00. The difference is the quality of seats and second class has LCD tv whereas third class has none.

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Guess which class we are in.

Each coach has seats facing both tail and head of the train. So, if you are lucky, you get to sit facing the direction which the train is moving. If not, you will be sitting with the train moving backwards, which was our case from the Ipoh journey to KL Sentral. The toilet is really small with a hand basin inside. There is a sign which says Do Not Use Toilet While Train is Stationary (in BM). You can see the ground throught the WC. There is no flushing system…everything goes straight to the ground.

You could buy fried mee, nasi lemak and hot coffee from the team of 3 young guys who goes from coach to coach with their wares. Air-cond is full strength so a hot cup of coffee is much welcomed. After 2 hours I got a headache from moving backwards the whole time, so had to go stand at the place where 2 carriages join. You get fresh air and good view but had to control the doors which could swing open and you could get flung out…exactly like in the movies…probably the most exciting part of the trip. After passing around 10 stations, we finally arrived at KL Sentral.

Upon arriving, we took Kommuter (not sure of spelling) train which also belongs to KTM, but services KL city routes only, to get to Mid-Valey Megamall. Had Korean for lunch.

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After lunch, we went our separate ways to roam in The Gardens and Mid-Valley. Qarina and I spent the rest of the day in Borders and MPH. Manage to buy a Wedding Cake Decorator’s Bible by Alan Dunn at a real good price of RM34.90. Qarina bought 2 Geronimo Stilton books and an Enid Blyton one. 

Finally had some gelati (Italian ice-cream) at this place below. Great food presentation.

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The trip back was not too bad. We get to sit facing the right way. Air-cond was not as bad as before. Reached Ipoh at 1:00am, tired out. 

 

Posted by: nurainie | April 1, 2009

A 2-day Housekeeping Experience

One of the hotel operations subject is the Housekeeping module. At the very least, hotel schools would provide a mock guestroom where students get to see and feel the set-up of the room and at the most learn the technical part of making a bed. However, one mock guestroom is insufficient to portray the actual situation of a used room which in worst case scenario has wet carpet, cigarette smoke smell, leftover food stains on bedlinen or carpet, flooded bathrooms, mattresses pulled to the floor, and guests who decided to rearrange the furniture.

The time spent making-up a ‘normal’ vacated (as in guest has checked out that day itself) room is 20 minutes or less. In this 20 minutes, a room attendant has to strip and make the bed; wash and dry the bathroom; wipe all tables, cabinets, chairs; top-up amenities and bath linen; clean and refill coffee and tea making facilities and lastly vacuum the room. On top of these, there are forms to fill up for example, recording the time-in and time out for every room cleaned as well as reporting on any faults for maintenance or security purposes.  It is estimated the a room attendant would able to handle at least 16 rooms during an 8-hour shift.

One of the method for students to comprehend the module is to collaborate with a nearby hotel where they could be attached to the Housekeping Department for a 2-day experience. The type of hotel chosen is also important, normally at least a chain hotel of 3-star and above.  Below are some pictures taken from our partner hotels, Syuen Hotel, Ipoh and Ritz-Garden Hotel, Ipoh.

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A neat and tidy Housekeeping cart reflects its owner. 

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Besides being able to practice what was taught in class, students also get to learn what was not taught…that is,  all the illegal short cuts. Its a common thing happening around the world…check out  Confessions of a Housekeeper. I used to have students come back from 3 months training and tell horror stories on how the bedsheets just got turned around for check out rooms if it looks clean enough (make sure to pick up any hairs found)… :s; and the common practice of using guest towels to wipe dry everything in the bathroom including toilet bowls and the floor; and the washing of coffee cups and glasses meant for the coffee making facility using the common detergent used to wash every other thing, and the wiping dry of them using goodness knows what cloth; and the vacumming that doesn’t get done often enough. Among the many reasons for the short cuts are: insufficient bedsheets for turnover, insufficient time allocated to properly clean a room, relaxed supervision and lack of job motivation.

All in, the Housekeeping Department deserves more attention and recognition then what it is getting at the moment.   

 

Posted by: nurainie | March 21, 2009

Swiss Garden Damai Laut

One of the highlights of the hotel programme are the excursions, which we organise in order to expose students further to the hospitality industry. Among the visited were Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur, Tasik Temmengor, Melaka, and Taman Negera.  More about them in my future posts.

Our most recent trip was somewhere in November 2008. Located near Lumut which is on the way to Pangkor Island, Swiss Garden Golf Resort and Spa consist of an 18-hole golf course, the Mandara Spa, a 300 rooms 4-star resort and 200 apartments with time-sharing ownership available. We spent 2 days with the Swiss Garden team who had organized a whole load of team-building activities. The itinerary goes something like this:

9:00am    Arrival at Swiss Garden and proceed to Meeting Room

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9:30am    Welcoming address by Mr. Ian Riley, Resort Director.

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10:00am An introduction by En. Syed Noh, Human Resource Manager, followed by slides and ice-breaking games.

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1:00pm    Buffet lunch at the Coffee House. Food was great and service was attentive, considering we were in the middle of nowhere and in a jungle. There were lots of house flies around and we were told its that time of the year where its fly season. So, they had to light candles around the dining tables. Too bad the candles makes things smokey.

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2:30pm   We are off for a familiarization tour around the resort area, the beach, the golf course and club house, and also a private jetty where Swiss Garden guests could get a boat ride to Pangkor island without going to Lumut.

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4:00pm  Its back to the resort after we had checked-in at the apartment and freshened up. Back to more games and by En. Syed.

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5:00pm  A couple of hour free time before dinner. It rained heavily so we spent sometime at the Recreation Room.

There is Iguana Bar at the apartments where we hung out later that night. Students had some karaoke fun.

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Team-building activities were held at the beach on the second day after morning breakfast.

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Certificate of attendance were given out before departure from the resort. On behalf of all participants, I would like to thank Mr. Riley, En. Syed and the Swiss Garden team for organizing the event and also for their hospitality shown throughout our stay.

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Lastly, passing by Setiawan town would not do if one does not make a stop at Kampung Kok where seafood is good and cheap. A must to order is the oyster omelette which has a crispy crust, totally differently from the Penang version, dipped in famous Kampung Koh chilli sauce.

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Posted by: nurainie | March 13, 2009

Looking for links

Have not been blogging much because I’m busy looking for links for this blog of mine to make it more informational. Check out the Blogroll. My favourites are So You Want to be a Banquet Manager and Restaurant Girl Speaks. Both are good laughs. I’ll be working on the links again next week. References are also added. Most of you are already familiar with eHotelier and some with HoteLearning. Kindly post me comments or other links to consider of adding. Thanks. 🙂

Posted by: nurainie | March 4, 2009

Students under stress!

Students under stress!

Originally uploaded by nurainie tan

Finally managed to upload a video without having to upgrade. Wanted to do it from PhotoBucket but it doesn’t have this feature  yet. Flicker now allows you to import your photos and videos into Blogger, WordPress, TypePad…etc. Wanted to create another Flicker but I only have one Yahoo account, so currently have to share with my cake albums…

Last 2 days I was experimenting with VodPod…you can also use VodPod, as instructions they say to upload in YouTube…I like the arrangement but YouTube is blocked in college…the same fate as Facebook. But I’m still able to view from Vodpod in college…hmm…guess I’ll continue my experiment! 😉

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