My book at Le Grandeur Palm Resort Johor

Last year, Le Grandeur Palm Resort Johor bought a bulk order of my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, to place a copy each in their hotel suites for the guests’ reading pleasure.

Friends at Le Grandeur Palm Resort Johor with my book
[L to R] Daphne Ng, Anne Yeap, John Yong and Amirah Atan
Located close to the Senai International Airport, this charming sub-urban resort and I have a long and eventful relationship.

In the 1990s, the resort was originally known as Sofitel Palm Resort. The property then changed its name to Mercure Johor Palm Resort before being rebranded as Le Grandeur Palm Resort.

As I did the hotel review and covered their key events, I’ve become familiar with the property and its staff. I was also a guest several times, on my own writing retreats.

The resort distributes a daily copy of The New Straits Times to guest rooms and they are also familiar with my stories published regularly in the Travel section and the southern section, Johor Streets.

As they follow my stories through the print media as well as online from my blog, My Johor Stories (, they got better acquainted with me.

When I invited them to my book launch event last July, the resort general manager Jef Kong, through his personal assistant, Lynn Halim, promptly placed an advance order so that the books may be collected on its launch date!

I remember how Lynn started the paperwork to process the payment for the order with much efficiency. While the GM wanted to attend my launch event, he had a sudden change of plan due to work commitments and could not come after all.

For family reasons, Lynn also could not attend my book launch so Daphne Ng came to the event as the resort’s representative. She is the Senior Group Contract Manager from the Group Procurement Department.

At my book launch, Daphne collected their bulk order from the event’s book sale table and took it back to the resort for the reading pleasure of guests staying in their suites.

The resort suites comprise four Executive Suites, 14 Deluxe Suites, three Signature Suites and one Presidential Suite.

Time seems to fly when we are busy and then it’s already the end of January 2018 when I finally accept the resort’s invitation to visit again.

In the Allamanda Suite with my books, Daphne [Left]
and Jennifer [Right]
Daphne and MarComm Executive, Amirah Atan, better known as Mira, step forward to welcome me on arrival.  

I’m pleasantly surprised to see familiar faces like Senior Executive Chef Ravindren Retnam, also known as Chef Ravi, among other staff like F & B Manager, Md. Nadzirin A. Wahid (AKA Toin) and Front Office Manager, S. Kaithree, (AKA Sky) and the resort’s Art Director, John Yong, who is snapping photos non-stop!

I’m at the resort with my friend, Jennifer Liew, whose last visit here was as a member of the lady drum troop which performed during the resort’s recent Run4Fund event.

We are ushered to the alfresco lounge next to the Cocomo Grill and served little cups of rejuvenating ginger tea (which I remember, is what they also serve guests at Le Spa!)

Then I’m informed that the GM sends his apologies for not being present as he is away, attending a meeting in Singapore.

After cooling our heels for a bit, the others excuse themselves to attend to their duties while Daphne and Mira, along with John – armed with his camera – escort us upstairs to the Allamanda Suite.

Anne sharing her experience with us on Mrs Thompson
and how she enjoyed reading my book
during her stay in the Allamanda Suite
Executive Housekeeper, Julie Vellangani, opens the door and welcomes us into the luxurious one-bedroom suite. In the adjoining room there’s a large dining table where I can see my books arranged – ready for me to autograph them.

While John chooses my seat at the table for his pick of a suitable backdrop, Daphne proffers a pen for me to use. I politely thank her and show her that I have my own signing pen.

As they help to turn the pages of my book and pass book by book to me for my autograph, I’m reminded to sign their personal copies too –even with specific words and dedications!

Someone is at the door. And when she comes in, I’m introduced to Reservations Manager, Anne Yeap.

“Did you tell her yet?” Anne asks Daphne as she takes a seat with us around the table.

Anne with her autographed personal copy of my book
Daphne explains that Anne has shared a message which she has forwarded to me but in all the excitement, I did not look at my phone messages yet.

This gives Anne the privilege to share her message first-hand with me/us.

So Anne goes on to tell us about her experience with regular guests, Mr & Mrs Thompson, who stayed at the resort last December in this very room we are in – the Allamanda Suite.

Mrs Thompson, apparently spent most of her stay here seated in the balcony, reading my book and she was simply enthralled by the stories!

Anne says they plan to come back to the resort later this year and she’s looking forward to continue reading my book and learn more about Johor, her people and rich heritage.

One for the album, group shot in the Allamanda Suite
I appreciate that Anne has such an encouraging and heart-warming account of how my book can enhance a guest’s stay in a hotel room/suite in Johor.

What follows is a photo session where moments are captured in various poses in the suite. When the ladies gather for a group shot, someone observed that it naturally appears like a truly Bangsa Johor – One Malaysia mix of Malay, Indian and Chinese!

I’m deeply grateful for how Le Grandeur Palm Resort (and other hotels/resorts) are supporting me by buying bulk orders of my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, to share a slice of life in Johor with their guests.

My friends in these resorts/hotels tell me that they are not going to chain the book to their rooms/suites but are even prepared to let guests take the books home – if they so wished!

Daphne couldn't resist taking a we-fie!
Having autographed the books, these signed copies have not only risen in sentimental value but are more meaningful and personal as the resort aims to share a taste of Johor through my stories, with their guests.

Just a day ago, Mira sent a message saying that Anne was trying to replenish their stock of my books for their resort suites.

She was at the nearest MPH Bookstore located in the Senai International Airport and managed to grab the last and only copy left…

I’ve duly notified MPH Publishing KL about this so Anne has to patiently wait for the stocks to arrive in JB before the ‘missing’ books in the resort can be replaced!
. . .

My deepest gratitude to friends at Le Grandeur Palm Resort Johor, for your kind support!

It is through your interest and generous support that my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, joins other popular titles in the 2017 MPH Best Non-Fiction list. Thank you!

The resort, located at Jalan Persiaran Golf, off Jalan Jumbo, 81250 Senai, Johor is an integrated golf, leisure and business destination comprising Palm Resort Golf & Country Club and Le Grandeur Palm Resort Johor. Tel: +607 – 599 6000. Website:

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