Monday, September 15, 2003

Hotels and conferences

Finally back from Kuantan. I was there to attend the Fifth Asian Academy of Management (AAM) conference. It was held at the Hyatt Regency. The room rates were too high (RM190 after discount) so I decided to stay in another hotel. I finally decided on the Vistana ( a 4 star hotel). I had to pay RM110 (after discount). The hotel was not bad but regreted my decision. It was not near the beach as I had imagined it would be nor was it in the city. Neither here nor there. To get to the food stalls just across a big drain, you have to brave walking about 100m on the main road at the risk of getting hit by a drunk driver and back again. I wonder why they didn't think of putting up a foot bridge. Would make life of all customers easier. I also didn't get any newspapers during the duration of my stay. Come on! even 2 star hotels I sayed in provided newpapers.
If you are visiting Kuantan and on a budget, my friends recommend either the Swiss garden or the Grand Continental which are in the centre of the city.
Well coming back to the conference, it was just like any other academic conference where experts in various fields present their findings and attack each other "academically". It not surprising that sometimes bad blood arises considering the big egos of some. However, this conference had some people from the private sector and that was refresing. Many of them looked bored though.
The highlight of the conference were the dinners. The first dinner, we were treated to 2 songs by the Menteri Besar and state Umno chief Adnan Yaakob. I have to say he really has a good voice. Of all the seminars and conferences which I have attended, he was also the only VIP who came down and went around shaking hands with all the participants. Maybe it was because the election is around the corner.
The venue was not bad but .. I have been to better places. The best so far is the Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The food was great, the rooms were excellent (at a discount rate of only RM180). The staff were ever smiling and the conference halls were excellent. I could watch TV while having a nice bath and I could get to see the sun rising every morning from my window....

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