A Day in the Life of Rajen Canniah
June 03 2018
June 03 2018
Situated along one of the most gorgeous stretches of beach on the untamed East Coast, the incredible all-inclusive, four-star Ambre Mauritius is a tropical haven for travellers in search of the ultimate stress-free holiday in paradise. Open-plan architecture, a phenomenal nightlife, excellent cuisine, vibrant surrounds, an exhilarating daily activity programme and sublime tropical surrounds are just some of the things that make this adults-only resort so spectacular. But there’s another hugely important reason guests from around the world come back to this remarkable hotel time and time again; the impeccable signature service and the people who give it.
The associates at Ambre Mauritius pride themselves on constantly striving to go above and beyond for their guests; ensuring that their guests have an incredible stay and memorable holiday is a top priority. Each of the associates play such an integral role at Ambre and each of them have incredible stories of how they got to where they are and what an average day at Ambre looks like for them.
To gain deeper insight into the associates lives at Ambre, we decided to catch up with Rajen Canniah, the Executive Assistant Manager at Ambre Mauritius, to find out a little more about his journey in the hospitality industry and what a normal day at Ambre looks like for him. This is what we found out:
Personal life, education and professional experience:
The first thing that will strike you about Rajen Cannaiah when you meet him is his incredibly sunny disposition—so in-line with Amber's tagline of the “light side of life”. Having earned himself the esteemed title of Executive Assistant Manager at Ambre, this 65-year-old associate is also a Sun Resorts Corporate Trainer; there’s no doubt that he has a full plate. But that’s not to say he doesn’t make time for his personal life. Living all the way in Mont Ida (in the east of Mauritius), Rajen allows 25-30 minutes to get to Ambre every day, while still making time for his wife in the mornings and a good game of tennis occasionally which he loves to play. His daughter and his two grandchildren live abroad, so much of his off-time is spent with his wife who enjoys wholesome, delectable vegetarian food.
Rajen graduated from college at the age of 16 and immediately got himself a job as an apprentice in a photography lab. However, he soon felt that the photography lab didn’t allow him much growth and because of the lack of scope for him in photography, he decided instead to join the newly opened Hotel School of Mauritius. In fact, Rajen was one of the first students at the Hotel School of Mauritius after it opened in the 70s—at that point, tourism wasn’t yet a major contributor and pillar of the Mauritian economy; Rajen and his classmates were certainly ahead of the curve.
While he was studying, Rajen had a number of different jobs and he made his debut in the hospitality industry as a busboy at a resort in Port Louis that is now very well known, called Lai-Min. Shortly after this he worked as a trainee receptionist at Le Chaland, which is known today as Shandrani. A fun fact about Rajen at this time is that because transport was quite an issue in these parts during the 70s, he often had to find a creative way to get to work be it on a wagon, lorry or even sometimes a roller machine!
From this point, Rajen did whatever he could to get as much experience as possible in the growing hospitality industry. He worked in an array of prestigious hotels as a trainee receptionist while he was completing his studies. The hotels he worked in include Le Paradis, Park Hotel, Le Morne Brabant, Trou aux Biches Hotel, among many others.
Once he completed his Certificate of Professional Aptitude at the Hotel School of Mauritius, he applied for a job at Le St Geran, which had just opened at the time. It was during this period that Rajen’s career took a very positive turn; in 1977 he was appointed as the Front Desk Manager at Le St Geran something that spurred Rajen to continue with the hotel for the next 25 years.
Rajen’s incredible passion for the hospitality industry was undeniable and he started to bring incredible and innovative ideas to Le St Geran; from personalised greetings to welcome drinks and much more. Rajen’s contribution to this hotel, both front of house and in improving the “back office” process, helped to form what has today become known as the incredible signature Mauritian hospitality and he was an integral part of Le St Geran’s evolution from a new and unknown hotel to one of the best hotels on the island.
Rajen’s stint at Le St Geran gave him the unbelievable opportunity to meet with various celebrities such as the Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Vinod Khanna and Sridevi, as well as French celebrities Johnny Hallyday, Gérard Depardieu, Stéphanie De Monaco and Catherine Deneuve. He also had the opportunity to meet some famous sports teams which included Aston Villa (English Premier League) and Paris St Germain (Ligue 1).
After his 25 years at Le St Geran, Rajen helped in the development of Le Touessrok and La Pirogue, where he acted largely as support. He was then appointed as Executive Assistant Manager at Le Coco Beach, which was situated on the East Coast of Mauritius and has since been replaced by Long Beach. Interestingly, Le Coco Beach was actually one of the first hotels to open its doors to the local market, making hospitality services more accessible to Mauritians as well as international guests. During this time, Rajen pursued further studies at the Hotel School of Lausanne where he went onto become quite a prominent figure, being asked to make appearances for the institution even after he completed his studies. When Le Coco Beach was demolished, to be replaced by Long Beach, Rajen spent about 3 years on the project, after which he joined Ambre Mauritius as the Executive Assistant Manager.
What a day in the life of Rajen Canniah looks like:
A typical day at work for Rajen lasts a staggering 10 hours or more and because there hasn’t been a full-time GM at Ambre for 11 months, he takes on elements of both roles which often includes participating in meetings at the head office as well as important events.
His day usually starts at 4:30, when he wakes up, gets ready for the day ahead, has a coffee and manages to sneak in a chat with his wife. He leaves each day around 7:00 for work and arrives at 7:30 when he starts planning for the present day as well as the next day based on the previous day’s events. He also prepares for the Head of Departments meeting which takes place from 8:15 to 9:15 each day.
At 9:30 Rajen spends time out of the office in order to check that everything at the hotel is working smoothly in a management style he jokingly calls “management by walking around”. This allows him to meet with guests and employees, check on any infrastructural needs, ask for feedback and take note of any necessary items, actions that need to be taken or opportunities.
By 10:30 Rajen is back in the office to handle administrative matters, starting with those at the top of the priority list. At 13:30, he takes a break and has lunch in the “Coeur d’Ambre”, the associate's restaurant where he meets with team members and ensures their needs are being met. By 14:30 he’s in the lobby to greet arriving guests and to bid farewell to those that are leaving Ambre. He does his utmost to gather feedback about stays and get contact details of those who would love to stay again. If he has the time, he might even conduct some random room checks, ensuring that maintenance and housekeeping are always at their best.
Rajen continues in this busy vein for most of his day, changing his routine as needs be, and usually arrives home between 20:30 and 21:30, when he has dinner with his wife, keeps up to date with news from his daughter and her family and chats to his wife about any domestic needs and personal engagements. As someone who is unbelievably hard-working and incredibly dependable, Rajen has a full day every day, and as he goes to bed, he ensures that his phone is next to him and on loud, just in case anyone should need him in an emergency; Rajen is a prime example of the calibre of the incredible associates at Ambre Mauritius.