By Timothy Bukumuhne
Wicky Subramaniam, the general manager of Kampala Sheraton Hotel, who is affectionately called â€˜Tigerâ€™ by President Museveni certainly, had a lot to smile last Friday at the Starchoice dinner and dance. The aim of the dinner and dance was to reward the hotelâ€™s loyal customers.
Though the hotel which, is currently in the first phase of major refurbishment work is under siege from a number of hard hat wearing construction workers, it did not stop Subramaniamâ€™s team from putting on an excellent performance. Guests wallowed in awe as the proceedings unfolded.
The chosen theme night for the evening was a rendition of the 1925 classic â€” The Phantom of the Opera â€” and playing the role of The Phantom was, Ian Burgess, the hotels director of training and standards whose execution of the role was near perfect and one to be marvelled at.
The start of the evening was subdued â€” perhaps because they were saving the best for last. At the entrance to the Rwenzori Ballroom, lady guests were greeted with red roses by the hotels sales team who then, led them in for a mini drinks session, as we waited to take our seats.
At 7:50pm, there was a hush when Burgess emerged, half his face covered in The Phantomâ€™s legendary white mask and his body shrouded in a black cloak. There he stood at the entrance to the dining room, which was blinded by mist and asked us to follow him to take our seats for dinner.
The setting of the dinning room was impressive â€” the tables neatly laid out for the three-act meal. In the First Act â€” The Labyrinth Underground, we were served a delicate combination of garden peas, avocado, pawpaw and marinated sautÃ©ed chicken fillet finished with Balsamic - olive oil dressing. The Second Act â€” The Phantom and Christine, saw us feast on tender beef seduced by green pepper berries in light sauce hollandaise accompanied by ratatouille and fish medallion resting on spinach leaves with herbed tomato sauce. The Final Act â€” Beyond the Lake was an array of, The Phantomâ€™s chocolate surprise.
As we dined, the original black and white 1925 Phantom of the Opera movie, starring Lon Chaney Sr., was beamed out on a large projector screen. While all this was going on, The Phantom that he was, Burgess would stealthily appear out of nowhere, making sure his guests were being pampered to the hilt.
The real surprise of the evening and indeed the highlight of the evening lay in the Final Act â€” Beyond the Lake. Out of the mist, Burgess paddled into view in a canoe which, was laden with an assortment of chocolate goodies and he was flanked by a number of kitchen staff wearing winged collared blouses, and all holding lanterns. It was indeed a sight to behold and one that got the guests clapping away.
The acts over with, it was time to do some presentations. The IMF were the hotels most valued customers: they picked up $300, followed by Stanbic Bank represented by Rose Kaddu picking up $250 and in third place, the Royal Danish Embassy aptly represented by Miriam Osisi who took home $200.
To emphasise how important his guests are to the hotel, Subramaniam chose to use language that was precise and to the point. He said: â€œWe are interested in you because you are interested in us!â€ To his staff whom Zizinga, had earlier introduced to us he had this to say. â€œ...you must play your own instrument in the Opera of the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, if you want to be part of the team.â€
The presentations and speeches over with, it was time to sit back and digest dinner as well as limbering up to take to the dance floor â€” though not to opera classics as some guests had anticipated, but the modern dance tunes till the wee hours of the morning. Ends
SHERATON HONOURS LOYAL CLIENTELE