By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
He is fun, he is affable and Carl Isaac is all set to once and for all get Ipohites to recognise the Impiana name. “People I meet in Ipoh still ask me where the Impiana Hotel is! Then when I explain, they’ll burst out with ‘Oh you mean the Casuarina?’”.
Since the hotel was acquired slightly more than a year ago by the Impiana Group which has hotels in Malaysia (KL, Ipoh and Cherating) and in Thailand (Phuket and Koh Samui), it has been a daunting task for the management to educate the Ipoh public on the name change.
When a name has been so embedded into the collective Ipoh psyche, it looks like a Herculean task ahead for Carl but this does not faze this seasoned hotelier who has had other equally challenging tasks in his previous assignments which has taken him to many S.E. Asian countries.
Carl holds a Bachelor of Business from Curtin University in Western Australia and it was during his university years that his interest in the hospitality industry developed. Working his way through, first as bartender and subsequently in restaurant management, he worked for the Sofitel group after graduation, first in Australia, followed by Vietnam and Thailand.
A hankering to return to his home and family in Malaysia saw him arrive during a downturn in the economy and he found himself ‘playing mah-jong for 3 months’ with no prospect of a job. Through sheer persistence and constant hounding of the HR manager, he landed the job of Wedding Co-ordinator at the then newly-opened Palace of Golden Horses in Sungai Besi. He was responsible for setting up the Wedding Co-ordination department while learning the ropes which soon saw him land himself the position of Sales Manager at Cyberview Lodge. He has since moved up the corporate ladder and became General Manager seven years ago, the first time at the Sedona Menado in Indonesia.
“It feels good to be back in Malaysia and work here. It’s a great opportunity to be able to work, live and enjoy the community and the quality of life that Ipoh offers. Now, my aim is to maintain Impiana Hotel Ipoh’s pride as the most efficient, effective and favourable for our clients. I will also uphold and upgrade our service commitments to provide the best possible customer support service in Ipoh,” says Carl when asked about his vision and goal for Impiana Hotel Ipoh.
And he hasn’t been cooling his heels either. Already in the three months since his arrival, he has renovated 97 rooms and turned 66 rooms into Club rooms on two designated floors. He has the distinction of being the first GM to open a Club Lounge both for the Impiana Group as well as for Ipoh. The Royal Suite has been upgraded as has the Kinta function room. A small fitness room has been put in, and all in all the Impiana is moving towards becoming a 5-Star hotel charging 4-Star rates to cater to the rate conscious market that exists in Ipoh.
Welcome to Ipoh Carl!