Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bending the rule

Eventually, I enjoyed driving over the busway

Enough… I gave up! Stuck for hours, I couldn’t stand waiting for cars in front of me to move forward, while seeing other road users using a lane on my right side; busway

I never drove a car or rode a motorbike in Jakarta before. I usually take a cab or a bus to reach my wife’s office or to go to other destinations in Jakarta city. I always criticized people who drove their personal cars on the “busway” or the bus lane. I couldn’t understand why they drove on the lane that they were not supposed to. 

The busway should be solely for public busses and it has been built only for the convenience of public transportation. Motorbikes and private vehicles are not supposed to use the busway. That’s the rule!

One day, when I was in a cab, going from Sudirman to Gatot Subroto, I was trapped in a badly traffic jam around Semanggi area. The cab driver tried the best getting out of it and he eventually had a chance to take the lane of the public bus. I scrutinized him. I told him if everybody on the road did the same, the traffic will be worse. He simply goes, “Sir, everyone is doing it. If I didn’t take the busway, somebody else will do and we’ll never reach your office.” I was clumsy, couldn’t reply him, not a single word.

Another day, I was in a Bus P6, heading from Cawang Uki to Slipi junction. The bus driver had the same bad behavior; taking over the bus way. He suddenly leapt from one lane to another, and whenever there is a chance, he innocently took the busway. 

Well, most public bus drivers are so energetic but insane. They drive the bus like they’re the owner of the road. They drive slowly on the left lane and suddenly take over the right lane. And most of the time, they speed up the engine and suddenly slow it down while taking over the left lane just to pick up a passenger who is standing by on the road with “no stop” symbol. So, never drive your car on the left side of any public transportation in this city. Otherwise, they crush you alive!

Yesterday, I eventually did the same. I bent the rule. 

After struggling for hours to get out of the dense traffic around Pancoran area, I had the chance to leap from my lane to the public bus lane. I felt guilty but enjoyed it.

 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bandung Remains the Same

What things are still the same from Bandung City?

I recently visited Bandung to see my family. It’s been more than a year from the last visit, and I don’t see any significant differences from time to time about the city.

What I mean about no differences is the fact that generally there is no better condition in term of quality of life in Bandung.

Quality of life? What does it mean? What are the parameters?

Life and living in Bandung is pretty much the same like two, three or even four years ago. It’s no better improvement. Here are the parameters that support my judgment:

Crazy Traffic Jam

Road traffic jams happen almost in every single corner of the city. Let’s take an example; it happened to me when I went from Batu Jajar to the Bandung city. People say, if you ride a motor bike, it takes only 30 to 45 minutes. In fact, I spent more than 2 hours because of the traffic disaster occur in almost every junction and cross road I passed. It’s really crazy and I did not expect it took that long. I was so exhausted and lost control but could not do anything. I didn’t see even a single police to help and control the situation, where the hell they were?

Bad Public Transportation

It’s quite different when you compare with Jakarta. In certain areas in Badung, you can see hundred of only one-type or the same route of Bemo (kind of medium size public vehicle) flocked on the road. In some areas, you don’t see even a single bemo around. In some other areas, you find only dozens of private vehicles and millions of motorbike. Let’s look at the condition of the public busses and bemos, they’re all bad. They’re stink, dirty, old-rustic-warn out vehicles and not save. Particularly most of the Bemo drivers, they’re crazy. They drive the way they want. They can stop suddenly while driving zigzag.

Bad Public Facilities

I can understand if the government doesn’t need to build pedestrian in sub-urban areas, but I can’t accept if I am not comfortable walking through pedestrian in the town. The pedestrians are not flat, dirty, very narrow, poor-maintained and even in some areas, they’re completely damaged.

Other public infrastructures and facilities like traffic light, road light, phone booth, dust bin, bus terminal, bus halt, bridge, public car park, city walk, city park, bus way, etc have the same challenges; they’re all bad and not properly maintained.

Heavy Air Pollution

If you are walking on the street or riding your bike around cities in Bandung regency or nearby, you better put on your mask to cover your nose, because the air is damned heavily polluted. It’s not healthy at all for your lung and your respiration system. You can even literally see the black-smelly-killing smoke coming out of a very old bus or truck. Not only vehicles, heavy air pollution raises due to high numbers of motorbike on the road as well as heavy industrial factories built in Bandung. People know, beside garment, Bandung has numerous types of manufactory industries and this help increase level of air pollution in the region.

Bad Garbage Management

Have you ever passed by an area or street and suddenly your brain automatically instructed your hand to cover your nose while your tongue was asked to yell and swear like hell? That must because you’re passing by a street which was surrounded by a huge-uncovered-dumped garbage. During rainy season, it’s worse, and it reminds me to a massive disaster happened couple years back, where hundred of residents in a village in Bandung were forced to leave their homes to avoid more death tolls due to land-slide from mountains of garbage, managed by the local government. It was literally horrible garbage-slides that killed villagers.

People in Bandung also seems don’t care about taking care of their domestic waste. They just simple throw their rubbish wherever they want. What about the government? What have they done? See and ask yourself. The true answer should be a big zero.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bandar Jakarta Tragedy

Food Poisoning by Bandar Jakarta Restaurant

It was really disastrous. This posting is about the scariest catastrophic I’ve experienced in my life.

Bandar Jakarta Seafood Restaurant seen from the main road

It began when my wife and I went for a short vacation in one of the places of interests in Jakarta; Ancol Park. It was just like a weekend break, but didn’t happen in the weekend. We spent two nights in Mercure Ancol and visited some recreation sites within the park. Upon check-in, I asked the receptionist to upgrade us or at least to give us a room with sea view. Luckily, I had my Accor Associate Card in my wallet and I showed it to the receptionists and told them that I was ex-accor associates, hoping they give us exceptional services.

Surprisingly, when we entered the room, we found our room was with sea view. I told my wife it was a good start. She agreed and also admitted our room was pretty much bigger than we expected. I have no idea if they gave us the sea view room because of I was an Accor associate or because of something else.

Sea view from my seat at the Bandar Jakarta Seafood Restaurant

In the evening, I told my wife I wanted to have a romantic dinner by the sea with seafood mene. She knows, I like seafood so much. My wife recommended going to one of the restaurants in the park. The Mercure itself doesn’t have any option of seafood restaurant so we decided to go to Bandar Jakarta, located on the other side of Ancol Park.

The restaurant is located just by the sea and it has sea views. When we entered to restaurant, we didn’t go through the receptionist. Instead, we sneaked from a Japanese restaurant which was attached to the Bandar Jakarta Restaurant. I don’t remember the name, but it was smaller than the Bandar Jakarta. The restaurant’s architecture was kind of semi-outdoor venue, so people can go inside without passing by the receptionist or main entrance.

Crowd at the Bandar Jakarta Seafood Restaurant

Both restaurants were very busy. When I passed through the Japanese restaurant, my wife whispered, “this isn’t Bandar, perhaps it’s in the other side.” So, we kept walking and sneaking around. They’re so busy, not even a single waiter greeted us. I told my wife to help me search a table for two and we’re walking around the place, from one corner to another. It was a really big restaurant. I guess, it had more than 800 seats and unfortunately it was packed. We finally reached at the end of the restaurant and we found a table for two persons just like what we want; close to the sea.

Unfortunately, it had a tag “waiting list”. My wife asked a waiter, “Can we sit here, is it reserved?” He goes, “Well, did you do waiting list, Mam?” My wife starred at me and I replied, “I am afraid we didn’t. Do you mean reservation?” He goes, “You should go to the entrance and register your name in the waiting list. “But we didn’t see the entrance and you’re so busy, no body guided us. Can you show us where it is?”

Fried Shrimps with Oyster Sauce: This menu killed me.

The guy showed us direction to the reception, which wasn’t really clear. Finally, we reached the reception after walking randomly from one area to another area and asking guidance from another two waiters. We registered our name and the receptionists asked us to wait for 5 minutes to get our waiting list number. We requested a table by the sea but it was not available. Luckily, they gave us a table at the mezzanine floor, so that we can have a wide and long distance sea view.

I ordered Prawn with Tiram Sauce (i guess it was kind of Oyster Sauce), seafood fried rice and Sautéed Kangkung. For the drink, I had a glass of ice lemon tea. My wife had barbecued squid with soya sauce, steamed rice with sambal and for he drink, she chose fresh coconut cocktail. The food was nice, except the prawn which tasted weird. The look was yummy but they didn’t peel the shell completely, and they didn’t remove the dirt on the back of the prawn. I never tried this menu before so I guessed this was it. My wife and I kept eating it.

Overall, we enjoyed the night. Although the restaurant was packed with people, we still had fun. There was a tavern with live music and diners can request their favorite songs. We talked a lot, we enjoyed the view, the entertainment and we took some pictures. Then, we went back to the hotel.

Everything was fine until we’re back at the hotel. I started feeling pain at my back. My body temperature increased but not so hot. I didn’t sleep well because the pain. I felt dizzy and I felt exhausted. I also woke up at midnite because I eventually felt painful all over my back bone. I couldn’t sleep and I asked my wife to massage my back.

In the morning, I still felt pain at my back. We had late breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant but I couldn’t enjoy because I felt little uneasy with my stomach. After having breakfast, we’re back to the hotel room and continue going to SeaWorld at afternoon. It’s strange, at the SeaWorld I couldn’t longer feel pain at my back but I realized something really wrong with my stomach.

Although I didn’t feel pain at my stomach but I could feel something wrong with it. I started farting and burping. It was stink, horrible smell. Then we went back to the hotel and the real disaster had just started; I got diarrhea really bad.

I spent the whole night with diarrhea and burping. I went to the rest room every 5 minutes. I guess it was more than 20 times. I was on medication, my wife bought some anti-diarrhea pills. It helped but not really much. I still got a terrible diarrhea. I was tortured.

In the morning of the following day, we’re planning to check-out early for hospital. Before check-ing out, my wife suggested me to have a breakfast and we went down to the hotel’s restaurant. In the middle of selecting menu, I felt dizzy and my stomach sounded weird. I guessed something noisy at my stomach and I thought I was going to vomit. I rushed to the near toilet, and suddenly, I vomited really bad. It was crazy, I didn’t expect to puke that much. I guess I throw up everything out of my stomach. It was really pain and I can’t describe how bad this situation was.

I spent almost 20 minutes at the rest room and then I went back to the restaurant and met my wife who had been waiting for me nervously. I told my wife on what happened and she concluded; real bad food poisoning.

Well, it’s truly terrible food poisoning. My wife thought it was from the prawn and I agree with her. I even could see some prawn skin literally from the vomit.

But why it didn’t happen to my wife as well, although she ate the menu quite a lot? She said whenever she eat any seafood meal, she always have some coconut drinks, because the fresh coconut water can neutralize the poison on the seafood. She said, every seafood has potential toxin to poison our body. It doesn’t necessary all the prawn are contaminated, but a piece of prawn flesh can poison the entire system of our stomach.

Well, that was my tragic story; a disastrous tragedy from Bandar Jakarta Seafood Restaurant.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Back to Jakarta

I am now in Jakarta. This time is not only for vacation, but from now on, I am living in this city.

Well, the above title is not really relevant since I never lived in Jakarta as a resident. I spent most of my life in East Java and Denpasar, Bali, and for the last 4 years, I resided in Manama, capital of Bahrain.

I reached Jakarta on the evening of November 10th, 2010, which was approximately 12 hours flight from the Kingdom of Bahrain.

To be honest, the good thing of living in this city is because I can be together with my family. The rest, I still have to learn and experience on everything in order to give the proper opinion about living in the city.

As of now, I can say that traffic jam is my main problem, and I guess, it’s not only my problem. This is the major problem the city has. There are millions of cars and motorbikes out there. Plus, roads are not clean, no proper pedestrians, air is heavily polluted and the transportation system is really bad. As a result, I don’t feel comfortable on the road.

Another thing is about security. Particularly when I compare with Bahrain, I don’t feel secure and safe to walk in the public. Well, so far I never been in trouble, but people know that crime is so high in this city. For an example, in Bahrain, you can park your car outside of your apartment and you do not need to worry about anything, but you cannot apply this in any part of Jakarta. Unless, you want to lose your car.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ramadan in Bahrain vs Ramadan in Indonesia

First of all, I would like to wish you Ramadan Kareem, a very Happy Ramadan.

I have been experiencing couple of Ramadan in Bahrain but never wrote anything about it. I am interested in comparing how life is during the month of Ramadan in Bahrain and Indonesia. Check it out…

Greetings
In Bahrain, people greet each other (no mater religion and nationality) with "Ramadan Kareem" or "Ramadan Mubarak". In Indonesia, people say "Marhaban ya Romadhon" or "Selamat Menunaikan Ibadah Puasa."

Temperature
In Bahrain, the highest temperature during this Ramadan so far reached 44 degree Celsius and extremely humid. In Indonesia, it's just 32.

Road/Street
In Bahrain, road and streets are very quiet during the day of Ramadan. No traffic jam, No Saudi cars, few vehicles. Driving car is a peaceful of mind. In Indonesia, particularly Jakarta, day and night are the same, hells of traffic jam.

Shopping Malls
In Bahrain all shopping malls are quiet in the day time, but starting from 9.30pm it's getting busier. People are going to malls after evening prayer (shalat tarawih). In Indonesia, day or night malls are packed with people roaming around and particularly a week before Eid, you can't even move when you walk through a shopping arcade.

Evening Prayer (Shalat Tarawih)
In Bahrain, people spend 1.5 to 2 hours for evening prayer, reciting at least 1 Juz of holy Quran during the prayer. In Indonesia, most mosques are racing to finish the prayer as soon as possible, reciting short verses of Juz 'Amma. The fastest mosque is usually packed with Jemaah.

Restaurants/Food Courts
In Bahrain, except in 5-star hotels, not a single restaurant opens in the day time. In Indonesia, who cares?

Zakat
In Bahrain, I pay zakat with BHD1. In Indonesia, I used to pay with a 2.5 Kg of rice.

Celebration/Lebaran
In Bahrain, you don’t find Lebaran and Eid Fitr is not a kind of major celebration. In Indonesia, Lebaran is the greatest public holiday ever!

Working Hours
In Bahrain, moslems and fasting people enjoy a privilege of 6-hours working time. In Indonesia, no exceptions apply.

Ramadan Tent
In Bahrain, Ramadan is about feast and culinary art in the evening time. Hotels are offering Ghabga Buffet in their Ramadan Tents. In Indonesia, if you ask people about "Ramadan Tent", they will ask you back, "Which camping ground would you like to go?

Sinetron
In Bahrain, you can barely find religious Cinetron (Cinema Electronic..?). In Indonesia, most tv stations are commercialized by religious shows/series and I feel dizzy whenever watching them.

So far, those are the comparison I notice. If you have some, please write in the comments and I will add it. Thanks.

Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Launches Special Eid Promotion

Extra Discount Offered for Bookings of 4-Nights Stay

Eid Al Fitr is the time where families and friends are celebrating holidays in togetherness and happiness, but where do they go for a luxury stay during Eid holiday? The Marriott Executive Apartments Manama in Bahrain is giving away special rates on its luxury apartments during the upcoming Eid holiday.

Director of Sales Marwan Haddad said that the promotion will be suitable for guests visiting Bahrain for weekend breaks and short vacation during the Eid holidays. "Additionally, we offer 20 percent discount for guests staying 4 consecutive nights or longer," said Marwan Haddad.


"Bahrain government has encouraged hotel industry and tourism enterprises to attract visitors from the region to visit Bahrain in the upcoming Eid celebration. We constantly support the call and we are glad announce our participation by rolling out this promotion. We believe it helps Bahrain in positioning the country as a family holiday destination," added Marwan.


For reservations and more information, please call +973 17 363 999.


* * * *


Marriott Executive Apartments, the upscale serviced apartment brand of Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) will nearly double in size in the next 36 months to respond to a growing need in many emerging markets for long-term stay lodging for executive expatriates needing spacious housing and hotel amenities. Including Bahrain, Marriott operates 17 Marriott Executive Apartments in 14 countries outside the U.S., and 14 more hotels are planned in countries such as Qatar, Thailand, Egypt, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.


MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading lodging company with more than 3,100 lodging properties in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and had approximately 151,000 employees at 2007 year-end. It is ranked as the lodging industry’s most admired company and one of the best companies to work for by FORTUNE®, and has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the 2007 Sustained Excellence Award and Partner of the Year since 2004. In fiscal year 2007, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of $13 billion. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at www.marriott.com.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Launches Bahrain Heritage Package

"Investing in culture allows us to channel a portion of our financial resources to a process of forging cultural links and global communication, promoting our cultural heritage and raise awareness of the significance of its preservation." – Sheikha Mai bint Mohammad Al-Khalifa, Ministry of Culture and Information Kingdom of Bahrain.



Bahrain National Museum



Bahrain government is continuing to improve tourism sector through developing its Kingdom's culture, heritage and arts. The Culture & National Heritage sector and the Tourism Affair have been working together with private sector to seek development of programs and infrastructure in order to keep pace with global developments and maintain an active role in the cultural, social and economic development of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

To support the above program, Marriott Executive Apartments Manama proudly introduces "Bahrain Heritage Package" that will be released from 18 June 2010. The package includes staying in a luxurious apartment, complimentary breakfast and internet access as well as visiting Bahrain National Museum in Manama and Bahrain Fort in Karbabad.

Through enjoying the package, visitors experience the genuine culture and traditions of Bahrain. They will be familiar with local customs and learn history of the country by exploring artifact, pieces of ancient arts and heritage sites.

Director of Sales Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Marwan Haddad said that his company would like to promote Bahrain on a global level as a distinct hub for business as well as cultural activity and diversity. He expects that by purchasing the package, visitors to Bahrain will have more valuable experience and understanding of the local culture.

"This is our contribution to support Bahrain government initiative to grow tourism industry and particularly to hold up cultural initiative and projects in the island," said Marwan.

"Bahrain is very rich with culture and traditions. We would like to promote this asset to our guests and residents and create a product that can enhance the awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage," added Marwan.

Targeting leisure and family traveler from the GCC, the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Bahrain is currently offering various packages such as Bahrain Heritage Package, Bahrain Beach Package, Bahrain Movie Package, Escape! Romance Package, Escape! Dining Package, Escape! Drive Package and Escape! Shopping Package. For more information about the packages, please visit http://www.meabahrain.com/


* * *

Marriott Executive Apartments, the upscale serviced apartment brand of Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) will nearly double in size in the next 36 months to respond to a growing need in many emerging markets for long-term stay lodging for executive expatriates needing spacious housing and hotel amenities. Including Bahrain, Marriott operates 17 Marriott Executive Apartments in 14 countries outside the U.S., and 14 more hotels are planned in countries such as Qatar, Thailand, Egypt, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading lodging company with more than 3,100 lodging properties in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and had approximately 151,000 employees at 2007 year-end. It is ranked as the lodging industry’s most admired company and one of the best companies to work for by FORTUNE®, and has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the 2007 Sustained Excellence Award and Partner of the Year since 2004. In fiscal year 2007, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of $13 billion. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at
www.marriott.com.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Rolls Out Bahrain Summer Promotion

The Kingdom's leading extended stay hotel, Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain is set to launch its "Bahrain Summer Promotion 2010". The luxury apartment is making Bahrain an even more attractive destination by offering special summer rates and new room packages to its guests and residents in the upcoming holiday season.

Starting from 18 June 2010 to 9 September 2010, the property slashes its regular rate by 20%, giving attractive rates for both leisure and business travelers who visit Bahrain this summer. These special rates are valid for any stay during weekdays and weekends. They also include free buffet breakfast and unlimited internet access.


Aside from the existing "Escape Packages" and advance purchased rates, Marriott's guests can choose from three new packages, such as; Bahrain Beach Package, Bahrain Movie Package and Bahrain Heritage Package.

"Weekend travelers now can enjoy much more discount on their room rates and particularly visitors with families who book for 3 days or longer will get lower prices," said Director of Sales Marwan Haddad.

Additionally, according to Marwan, with the latest three packages, visitors will have opportunities to enjoy more varieties of Bahrain attraction, from shopping at the best malls, recreation on a private beach, watching new released movies in the best theatre in town, to visiting Bahrain national museum, Bahrain Fort and other places of interest in the island.

Note for Editors:
About Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain.
Located near the financial and diplomatic areas, the Marriott Executive Apartments in Bahrain is perfect for relocations, business trips or long holidays. Our Bahrain furnished apartments are 10 minutes from the international airport and 20 minutes from the Bahrain International Circuit. Whether you're visiting for business or leisure, our luxury apartments in Manama, Bahrain offer spacious accommodations. Enjoy incredible views from your one-, two- or three-bedroom apartment with luxurious bedding, full kitchen, dedicated office area, wireless Internet and safe. Take advantage of wonderful amenities - from housekeeping to 24-hour security and room service. Unwind in our rooftop pool or work out in our fitness area overlooking the city. Plus, catch up with family or colleagues and enjoy Mediterranean cuisine at our on-site restaurant. Marriott Executive Apartments - offering a comfortable home-away-from-home experience, whether it's for holiday or relocation to Bahrain.


* * *

Marriott Executive Apartments, the upscale serviced apartment brand of Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) will nearly double in size in the next 36 months to respond to a growing need in many emerging markets for long-term stay lodging for executive expatriates needing spacious housing and hotel amenities. Including Bahrain, Marriott operates 17 Marriott Executive Apartments in 14 countries outside the U.S., and 14 more hotels are planned in countries such as Qatar, Thailand, Egypt, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading lodging company with more than 3,400 lodging properties in 70 countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, The Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; licenses and manages whole-ownership residential brands, including The Ritz-Carlton Residences, JW Marriott Residences and Marriott Residences; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and had approximately 137,000 employees at 2009 year-end. It is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the best companies to work for, and by Newsweek as one of the greenest big companies in America. In fiscal year 2009, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of nearly $11 billion. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at
www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain Celebrated Associate Appreciation Week 2010

Your loyalty, dedication and creativity in finding new and better ways to do more with less have been nothing short of inspiring. Thank you for all you do to support our vision to be the most successful lodging company in the world. I look forward to an even brighter future where our company’s success creates new opportunities for all of you. – with deep appreciation, Bill Marriott.
The Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Bahrain celebrated "Associate Appreciation Week 2010" (AAW 2010). More than 100 associates were involved in commemorating the annual event with various activities and happenings.
As part of the corporate commitment and "Spirit to Serve" culture, Marriott International dedicates a week to show appreciation to its associates and thank them for their dedication to serve each other, guests and communities. Starting from 17 to 22 May 2010, all Marriott properties around the world are celebrating the week by hosting various events and fun activities.

In Bahrain, the celebration started from 16 to 21 May 2010 where associates participated in exciting activities such as games, tournaments, sports competitions, entertainments, blood donation campaign, team-building gathering, and a party on the last day of the week.

A surprised greeting at associates housing was delivered by the property's Human Resources Manager Loay Mamdouh on the first day, marking the commencement of the appreciation week. The program continued with "Wall of Fame" where associates expressed their appreciation to each other by writing comments on the wall of fame cards, until the end of the week.

The second day was filled up with "Sport Day" where associates were cheering up their teams who competed in Volleyball and Badminton tournaments. The program was followed with Cinema Time where they enjoyed watching new released movies at the associates housing.

The third day theme was team building gathering, took place at the Bahrain Yacht Club where the associates were enjoying barbeque party on the beach, games, music and dance.
As part of Bahrain community, the fourth day highlighted "Spirit to Serve Our Communities" initiative. The property worked together with the Ministry of Health and Bahrain Blood Bank (BBB) to host Blood Donation Campaign. More than 50 associates, guests and residents got together to help local communities by volunteering in the Blood Drive.
On the last day (20/20), the ceremonial night of Associate Appreciation Week was hosted with an uplifting party. Associates celebrated the evening with full of fun, live entertainments, Karaoke & Dance competitions, giveaways, and award presentations such as Associates of the Month and winner of the sport tournaments took place during the week.

General Manager Hossein Garan said, "The Associate Appreciation Week is the Marriott gesture to express its commitment to the most valued assets whom have been working hard and do the best during the year to achieve company's mission."

Human Resources Manager Loay Mamdouh added, "We have great associates working in a great place for a great purpose. This week is an opportunity for us to build upon taking care of associates philosophy in which we are applying everyday in Marriott."

"To me, Marriott Executive Apartments Manama is truly blessed to have these great people and I am proud of them," concluded Loay.

* * *

Marriott Executive Apartments, the upscale serviced apartment brand of Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) will nearly double in size in the next 36 months to respond to a growing need in many emerging markets for long-term stay lodging for executive expatriates needing spacious housing and hotel amenities. Including Bahrain, Marriott operates 17 Marriott Executive Apartments in 14 countries outside the U.S., and 14 more hotels are planned in countries such as Qatar, Thailand, Egypt, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading lodging company with more than 3,100 lodging properties in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and had approximately 151,000 employees at 2007 year-end. It is ranked as the lodging industry’s most admired company and one of the best companies to work for by FORTUNE®, and has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the 2007 Sustained Excellence Award and Partner of the Year since 2004. In fiscal year 2007, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of $13 billion. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at
www.marriott.com.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Towards Responsible Hotel Operations

Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Bahrain, Practices Environmentally Responsible Business Operations.

The Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain announced its participation in the celebration of Marriott Environmental Awareness Month. A series of environmental activities have been scheduled during the month of April to commemorate the global campaign on reducing emission and climate change.

Marriott International recognizes April as "Environmental Awareness Month" to communicate and celebrate the company's commitment to environmentally responsible operations, raise awareness of environmental issues, and increase associates participation in ecological activities. More than 140 thousands associates from 3,200 lodging properties around the world are celebrating the month with various eco-friendly related events.


In Bahrain, all associates at the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama are celebrating the month by participating in Energy Saving Competition. The associates are encouraged to come up with ideas on how to save energy consumption and protect the environment. Three best ideas will be selected and implemented in the hotel operations to support the company's program on minimizing energy usage.

"The main purpose of this competition is to educate our associates on the significance of saving energy for our future. The best ideas that can be implemented will become best practices to be used by other Marriott properties," said Chief Engineer Saeed Qureshi who is also Deputy Chairman of Energy Saving and Safety Committee of the property.

On 25th April, the property conducted Community Clean-Up Day marking the celebration of Earth Day 2010. Associates participated in cleaning up main streets and beaches in Al Fateh, Juffair area. "We encourage our associates to build upon their commitment on serving and cleaning their community. We ensure every associate's participation in supporting the elimination of waste, help the growth of native plants and trees, and beautify communities," said General Manager Hosein Garan.

Apart from Saving Energy Competition and Community Clean-Up Day, the property also encourages its associates to practice what they call "Green Daily Basics". The Green Daily Basics is being read on a daily basis and each associate enlivens daily tips on how to create environmentally-friendly working atmosphere. According to Human Resource Manager Loay Mamdouh, it includes simple actions in everyday routine of human life, for instance on 30th April, the Green Daily Basic is; Recycle and use recycled products. You'll save two pounds of carbon for every 20 glass bottles that you recycle. "These tips are very useful to practice on a daily basis, and not only reading it, our associates also love to practice a new tip every day," said Loay.
Sustainable Business Operations

With the spirit of Environmental Awareness Month, the company pledges its commitment on implementing environmentally responsible business operations. All departments are working hand in hand to reduce energy consumption and formulize programs to decrease waste that affect energy usage and environmental sustainability.

According to Director of Sales Marwan Haddad, the commitment of implementing eco-friendly activities in a profit organization will actually help business operate continuously. It means, if a business organization wishes to survive in the current tough market competition, it must consider environmental solutions to grow the company. Giving an example, Marwan explained, "If we can reduce electricity consumption, it helps us reduce operation cost and cut the selling price, and hence make our products more competitive in the market," said Marwan.

Explaining further about the benefit of considering environmental solutions in business operations, General Manager Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain Hossein Garan said, "Although the main reason of these initiatives and practices are to help our environment and the world of tomorrow, there are benefits on cost saving and financial impact. Can you imagine, if every associate strives to save one liter of water per day, what would be the impact on both environment as well as financial."

"On a final note, we are very excited to participate in this global call. Through this campaign, we would like to continually show our commitment to make the world a better place for us and our future generations, raise awareness of environmental issues, and involve our guests and associates in green activities," added Hossein.

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Marriott Executive Apartments, the upscale serviced apartment brand of Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) will nearly double in size in the next 36 months to respond to a growing need in many emerging markets for long-term stay lodging for executive expatriates needing spacious housing and hotel amenities. Including Bahrain, Marriott operates 17 Marriott Executive Apartments in 14 countries outside the U.S., and 14 more hotels are planned in countries such as Qatar, Thailand, Egypt, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading lodging company with more than 3,200 lodging properties in 71 countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club and Grand Residences by Marriott brands as well as Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and had approximately 146,000 employees at 2008 year-end. It is recognized by BusinessWeek as one of the 100 best global brands, by FORTUNE® as one of the best companies to work for, and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Partner of the Year since 2004. In fiscal year 2008, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of nearly $13 billion. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at
www.marriott.com. For an interactive online version of Marriott's 2008 Annual Report, which includes a short video message from Chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott, Jr., visit www.marriott.com/investor.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

MARRIOTT.COM RECOGNIZED AS ‘BEST OF THE WEB 2009

The site was awarded “Best of the Web: Gomez 2009 Web Performance Awards” for outstanding performance based on its rankings for response time, availability and consistency. More (gomez.com)

Read the Full Report

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An Hour to Save the Earth

Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain Participated in Global Earth Hour 2010.



"This is a great opportunity for Marriott hotels and business units to demonstrate our environmental commitment to associates, guests, owners, franchisees, and communities worldwide." – Bill Marriott.

Two different images of Twin-Tower building of Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Bahrain captured before and after switching off the exterior lights



Manama, Bahrain – As millions of people around the world showed their support to Earth Hour 2010, the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama in Bahrain participated in the event by turning off non-essential lightings on the evening of March 27th, for 1 hour.

Apart from switching off exterior lightings of its Twin-Tower building, the company also suggested to their residents and guests to turn off or dim non-essential interior lightings and other electrical devices within the premises for 60 minutes starting from 8.30pm. A series of communication tools have been put in place to ensure every guest is aware on the actions.

To mark the day, associates of the property were encouraged to do the same in their accommodation with their friends and families. They were enthusiastic to switch off unnecessary equipments and to reduce the consumption of water, electricity, fuels and gas.

This effort was part of the Marriott International policy where the goal was to have 500 Marriott properties around the world to participate in energy saving initiatives and hence raising awareness towards environmentally sustainable business operations.
General Manager Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain Hossein Garan said, "We were very excited to participate in this global call. Through this campaign, we would like to show our commitment to make the world a better place for us and our future generations, raise awareness of environmental issues, and involve our residents, guests and associates in green activities."
"This is a starting point to link it with the Earth Day on 22nd April 2010 as Marriott International recognizes April as a dedicated "Environmental Awareness Month" where we'll have various eco-friendly activities, such as beach clean up, energy saving competition, ecology poster competitions, planting and much more," added Hossein.

According to Chief Engineer Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain Saeed Qureshi, to support this effort, his team has started with ecological programs such as recycling used oil, creating green roof and replacing all normal lamps with energy saving lamps. "By using these energy saving lamps, now we can save more than a thousand Kilowatt a day. It's not a matter of how much dollars you can save, but it's a matter of what you can do to make the earth as a comfortable place to live for our next generation," explained Saeed Qureshi.

Earth Hour is an annual international event created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), held on the last Saturday of March, that asks households and business to turn off their non-essential lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. It was pioneered by WWF Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald in 2007 and expanded worldwide in 2008. In 2009, the Marriott International participated in Earth Hour for the first time by asking business units around the world to take part. For more information about earth hour, please visit http://www.earthhour.org/

* * *

Marriott Executive Apartments, the upscale serviced apartment brand of Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) will nearly double in size in the next 36 months to respond to a growing need in many emerging markets for long-term stay lodging for executive expatriates needing spacious housing and hotel amenities. Including Bahrain, Marriott operates 17 Marriott Executive Apartments in 14 countries outside the U.S., and 14 more hotels are planned in countries such as Qatar, Thailand, Egypt, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading lodging company with more than 3,200 lodging properties in 71 countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club and Grand Residences by Marriott brands as well as Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and had approximately 146,000 employees at 2008 year-end. It is recognized by BusinessWeek as one of the 100 best global brands, by FORTUNE® as one of the best companies to work for, and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Partner of the Year since 2004. In fiscal year 2008, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of nearly $13 billion. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at http://www.marriott.com/. For an interactive online version of Marriott's 2008 Annual Report, which includes a short video message from Chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott, Jr., visit www.marriott.com/investor.

An Hour to Save the Earth

Sunday, March 21, 2010

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS TO ALL THOSE KEYCARDS?

USA Today received some funny and creative answers from travelers who stay at various hotel chains. And here’s a hint – they don’t often make it back to the front desk. More (content.usatoday.com)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MARRIOTT NAMED AMONG ‘TOP 10’ FOR ADVANCING WOMEN’S CAREERS

In a short video, Stephanie Linnartz, Global Officer, Sales & Revenue Management, discusses the company’s recognition by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) and tells her personal story of career advancement. More information, click here.

See the Full List of NAFE Top 50 Companies (nafe.com)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Marriott Executive Apartments Celebrates Annual Associates Party for 2009

The Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain recently celebrated the Annual Associates Party for 2009, at the apartments' roof-top, on Friday 12th February 2010. The event started with a speech by General Manager Hossein Garan who thanked the associate on a job well done and on achieving great financial and guests’ satisfaction results for the year 2009. The gathering continued with a series of exciting activities such as live band, dancing, games, raffle draw and awards presentation.

Associates of the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain get together in the evening celebration of Annual Associates Party 2010, hosted on the 12th February 2010 at its roof-top tower.


Reggie Titus from Sales & Marketing Department has been named as Leader of the Year 2009 while Associates of the Year 2009 have been awarded to Abdul Wahab from Front of the House and Niamat Ali from Heart of the House.

The Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Bahrain enjoyed last year tremendous result by gaining popularity and achieving business target 2009. During the event, the company announced its optimism in achieving business target in 2010 as well to continue offering top quality and personalized services in order to maintain the high guests' satisfaction scores accomplished in 2009.


Seen on the above picture, from left; Human Resource Manager Loay Mamdouh, Associates of the Year 2009 Front of the House Abdul Wahab, Associates of the Year 2009 Heart of the House Niamat Ali, General Manager Hossein Garan, Leader of the Year 2010 Reggie Titus, Director of Sales Marwan Haddad and Chief Engineer Saeed Qureshi.