Home Semasa #Semasa: Down memory lane for Crown Princess Hoteliers

#Semasa: Down memory lane for Crown Princess Hoteliers

by Air Times Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR, 5 SEPT – It was a great training academy to groom those making a rewarding career in the hospitality industry.

That was how the former Crown Princess Hotel at City Square Centre of Yow Chuan Plaza (now Hilton Double Tree at The Intermark) in Jalan Tun Razak was in churning out thousands of skilled workers – from janitors, waiters, front-office, cooks, chefs, administrative, sales and marketing crew to senior management officials.

The hotel’s former general manager Leo Kuscher recalled how it produced many talents, who moved on to better positions elsewhere.

“We even had one of the finest restaurants in the country – The Taj Northern Indian Fine Dining – head by chef Krishna Lal Salaria, which was much sought after by patrons.

“I am glad to be part of this outfit,” said Austrian-national Kuscher, who went on to serve as general manager at many other hotels in the country.

(From left) Chef Ludwig Gaisbauer, Norlisa Ismail, Parameswary Muniandy and Sathiananthan T. Saravana Muthu at the ‘Walking down memory lane’ luncheon reunion for former Crown Princess Hotel staff at the Tosco Italian restaurant at Hilton Double Tree, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.

The Crown Princess Hotel (along with the Empire Tower, City Square) was one of the late Tan Sri Low Yow Chuan’s projects under the Federal Hotels International Group, which operated from 1991 until Plaza Yow Chuan was shutdown in 2007 for redevelopment into The Intermark complex in Jalan Tun Razak.

Just after the hotel started business, Low’s daughter Low Su Ming (the Low at Group managing director-cum-group executive director) held her wedding reception there.

“It had been a remarkable journey for all of us, who have achieved success in our own way,” said Su Ming during a ‘Walking down memory lane’ luncheon reunion after 30 years for 40-odd former Crown Princess Hotel staff at the Tosco Italian restaurant at Hilton Double Tree, Jalan Tun Razak.

The occasion was also to usher in the 66th Merdeka Day (Aug 31) and Malaysia Day (Sept 16).

The event was coordinated by its former assistant sales manager Rowena Adikan Suppiah and its former food and beverage assistant director Nai Boon Lian.

Rowena said the reunion brought back fond memories of their working days at the hotel and the experiences gained were invaluable.

“I started as an information centre receptionist with the Low Yat Group in 1985, before moving on as senior manager (public relations and sales) at the Fairlane Hotel, and eventually retire as executive assistant manager at Kings Green Hotel City Centre Melaka.

(From left) Rowena Adikan Suppiah, Leo Kuscher and Nai Boon Lian at the ‘Walking down memory lane’ luncheon reunion for former Crown Princess Hotel staff at the Tosco Italian restaurant at Hilton Double Tree, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.

“In total, I had served 25 years in the hospitality industry,” said Rowena, whose father was prominent Army regimental sergeant-major Warrant Officer I Adikan Suppiah.

Nai, who served seven of her total 42 years in the hospitality industry with Crown Princess Hotel, recalled how iconic the hotel was.

“My journey was full of good and bad memories that were challenging but solidly supported by my colleagues.

“Ours was an iconic hotel during the heydays close to the foreign embassies.

“We hosted many ‘live’ shows by international artistes – Shirley Bassey, pianist Richard Clayderman, Kenny Rogers, Paul Anka, The Commodores, Three Degrees, Sister Sledge, Color Me Bad and Cliff Richard.

“Then there were cultural, fashion and beauty catwalk-runway events like from Karl Lagerfield, Zang Toi, Datuk Ramli Ibrahim and Vivienne Westwood.

“We also played host to many foreign dignitaries and royalties.

“It was a fun and rewarding career and we had a great run,” said Nai.

She remembered how the hotel housed many airlines crew like from the Middle-East, Japan Airlines and British Airways (BA).

“One incident that strikes me till today when the BA cabin crew wept in the lobby upon learning of Princess Diana’s death on Aug 31, 1997.

“Our group of hotels also provided food and beverage during disasters like the Highland Towers collapse in Ulu Kelang in 1993,” said Nai.

On the reunion, she said it was a perfect ‘family’ gathering to reminisce their journey.

Many of the staff intermarried like Chef Ludwig Gaisbauer with adminstrator Norlisa Ismail.

The ‘Walking down memory lane’ luncheon reunion for former Crown Princess Hotel staff at the Tosco Italian restaurant at Hilton Double Tree, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.

“We met at the hotel’s pre-opening in 1991 and got married in July 1992,” said Gaisbauer.

The Taj staff Sathiananthan T. Saravana Muthu and Parameswary Muniandy also got hitched in 1997 after being colleagues for six years.

David de Brito who worked his way up as a waiter from The Taj Restaurant, served in various capacities in the Asian region and is now the Pullman Vung Tau Accor Hotels general manager in Vietnam.

“The training I obtained in the hospitality industry has provided one who is industrious and has a passion to succeed.

“It taught me the need to understand guests’ behaviour and anticipate demands promptly.

“The hospitality industry has given me opportunities to experience different cultures and traditions.

“It has crafted me to be a new cutting-edge leader who can guide and educate the younger generation to be great hoteliers,” said de Brito.

Other notables who attended the reunion were its former sales director Sally Wong, assistant sales director Saerah Kobiran, human resource manager Sambanthan Ponnusamy, assistant human resource manager Nancy Teoh, catering sales manager Selvarajoo Munisamy, sales managers Mohd Hanafiah Harun and Mohan Kumar Thiruchelvam, banquest sales executive Yap May Yee, hostel assistant manager Yoga Nathan Govindasamy, chief steward Morgan Perumal, human resource executive Benti Kaur Jit Singh and secretary Rita Sim. – airtimes.my

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