Wine Reviews

How education is driving China’s unquenchable thirst for wine

By Fri, Jan 17, 2014 12:43PM UTC

New research shows that China will drive global wine consumption in the coming years as it becomes the fastest-growing market in the world. This thirst for wine is matched – and driven – by an increasing thirst for wine knowledge, with a mix of programs offered by wineries, distributors, consultants and universities educating potential consumers about the wines of the world.

Thailand: Exciting wine lists, better drinking

By Mon, Aug 26, 2013 1:31PM UTC

As the Thai hospitality industry enters the second year of the  Wine List of the Year competition, a review of the first year traces some interesting outcomes. Famed as one of the most penalising countries of Asia in its beverage taxation, it was time to raise the quality bar at

Natalie Brown’s onboard life

By Thu, Mar 14, 2013 6:03AM UTC

Natalie Brown studied Hotel, Food and Beverage Management at The International Hotel School (IHS) and graduated in 2010. At the age of 24, this Durban girl has visited over 150 countries while working on a cruise ship. Natalie shares her insight into Seabourn life…

What have you learnt since leaving IHS?

To an extent, the foundation was definitely laid during my studies – the basic knowledge and understanding. Every operation runs differently and I have had to learn how to apply the knowledge I have and adapt it to different systems and procedures. I have also learnt that no matter how much paperwork you have behind your name in this industry, your experience speaks volumes for you, which is what I’m focusing on now.

What is it like to travel and see the world?

AMAZING!!! Arriving at my first destination, I was such a tourist, taking photos of everything. We were in the Caribbean, on one of the exclusive beaches where the guests have a beach BBQ. The smell of food cooking, sunshine and drinking out of coconuts while sitting in the warm ocean was one of the best days I have had while I have been onboard.

You don’t realise just how much the world has to offer until you set foot on beaches like Bora Bora or walk the streets of Hong Kong, spend an overnight along the wharf in Australia, and see sunsets in Turkey. I have a few favourites: New Zealand, Bora Bora, Cadiz in Spain, and Barcelona. Sometimes you are on the same itinerary for a few months which can be limiting but then again, you become like a local in the ports that you stop at and get to know the ins and outs of the city.

Is the work quite challenging?

It is a tough adjustment in the beginning. You’re on your own, and you have to learn to sink or swim in a very short space of time. The demands of the guests and maintaining a constant standard of service can be challenging. When you’re at home and land based, work is work and you leave home behind you, but on the ship, both are so closely entwined that you have to learn to leave your emotions in your cabin and focus at work because it is very easy to bring those feelings to the office.

Every department has their own definition of hard and demanding but it is equally as tiring. In housekeeping, it is physically tiring and you work against the clock to get finished. As an Assistant, it was a combination of mentally challenging and physical because you’re still expected to be on the floor. In Guest Services I have found that it is mentally and emotionally stressful. You have the phones going, e-mails coming in and out, your normal routine admin to take care of as well as upset guests venting at you because we’re normally the first point of contact for them when they want to make a complaint.

You have time to relax between your shifts and after work in the evenings. The crew activities keep you busy as well, and the ship does try and keep the crew entertained after work in the evenings.

How easy was it to make friends?

If you’re open minded and accept that different people will have different ways of living and working, then it is very easy to get along. You need to adjust, but it’s the mixture nationalities that makes the ‘ship life’ that much more fun!

The travelling is definitely a high point but the people you work with and meet are very special. You become like a family onboard, you laugh together, cry together and share memories with each other that will always be treasured. Your crew members make the majority of your contract fun, going ashore together and the friendships you make all the hard work so worth it.

What do people need to know when considering cruise ship work?

Be ready to leave at the drop of a hat the first time you get called to join the ship. Buy the most comfortable shoes you can find and don’t worry too much about the price. No amount of pain or blisters is worth a cheap pair of shoes! Pack lightly because you are going to double your wardrobe onboard.

Be prepared to work long hours and to be on your feet for a large amount of your day. The hard work you put in does pay off and there will be days when you wonder why you’re in this industry but the fulfillment of the guest satisfaction wins every time.

You need a lot of patience, perseverance, and be prepared to work hard to go above and beyond the guest’s expectations. You will also need to be flexible and remember that while you get to travel, you’re here to work and that might mean sacrificing shore time. Being willing to learn is important and even when you make mistakes, realise that it will only help you better yourself in the future.

What does the future hold for you?

Hopefully I will have some stripes on my shoulders before I leave the ships. I would like to become a Crew Purser but that does take a few years to climb the ladder. I would like to be part of a chain of hotels or cruise liners in the future and run the operations side of things and still get to travel to the different properties or ships. I think it would be my dream to work for myself and have my own name on the entrance door.

What’s the best advice you can give?

Live for today, don’t worry about the things that have happened and you cannot change – live and learn. Make every experience count. In front of every door of opportunity is someone that has helped make that door easier to open – don’t forget who they are because when you are successful and where you want to be in life, they were the ones that helped you get to where you are.

MBA class raises $10K for Right To Play with a little help from Olympic Hurdler Perdita Felicien

By Fri, Feb 15, 2013 4:30PM UTC

Olympic hurdler and Right To Play Ambassador Perdita Felicien was the keynote speaker at the Gala

Feb. 14, 2013 – Kingston Teamwork and return on investment are concepts Queen’s full-time MBA students understand all too well. When the Class of 2013 was looking for a charity to support, they employed some of the tools they’ve learned in the program to select Right To Play as its charity of choice.

“Right To Play was a great fit,” explains Mitch Gudgeon, the initiative’s head chair. “Its focus on teamwork, sports and play aligns with the Queen’s MBA team-based approach. We understand the benefits and values children learn when they’re put in an environment that facilitates play. We were also impressed with Right To Play’s low administration costs (15% versus up to 60% compared to other charities).”

With the due diligence phase complete, a 17-member organizing committee kicked into action. First up was a combo Kingston Frontenacs hockey game and disco skating night at the K-Rock Centre on Feb. 1. The event raised $1,200 (thanks to the Frontenacs’ contribution of half of each ticket’s price) and brought out 120 students, faculty and staff. By exercising their finely honed organizational, marketing and communications skills, the committee pulled out all the stops for the Gala held on Feb. 9 at the Ambassador Conference Resort Hotel. Keynote speaker Perdita Felicien, a member of Canada’s Olympic track and field team, gave a powerful speech that brought the crowd of 130 to their feet. “Your darkest hour does not define you: Rebuild!” and “Surround yourself with excellence” were just two of her inspirational messages.

A silent auction comprised of items donated by members of the QSB and local Kingston community raised nearly $2,000, bringing the overall total to $10,000 to benefit Right To Play. Sponsors and donors included Continental Corp, Molson Canadian, Gananoque Brewing Co., Pelee Island Winery and Vineland Estate Winery.

“This was a tremendous experience for all who got involved,” says co-chair Lindsey Lachance. “We learned a lot in the process, but the most important outcome will be helping spread the joy of play and the many values that come with it to children around the world.”

“We’re hoping that next year’s class will pick up the baton and run with this so that our philanthropic initiative will become a legacy project that makes a difference for years to come,” says co-chair David Sinkinson.








QSB Home

— admin @ 12:30 pm

And the award goes to…

By Thu, Jan 10, 2013 6:59AM UTC


And the award goes to…

Posted in:

Hospitality IndustryHotels

The World Travel Awards are the Oscars of the Travel and Tourism, and Hospitality Industries, recognising and celebrating the very best the industries have to offer.

South Africa shone at the 2012 World Travel Awards for Africa, bagging over 30 awards out of a total of 57 categories, including Leading Beach Destination and Leading Luxury Game Reserve.

Here’s a round-up of the winners…

Air and Rail

South African Airways (SAA) – South Africa’s national carrier is one of the oldest airlines in the world, with flights to more than 700 destinations around the world. Despite ongoing financial troubles, it scooped two awards, Africa’s Leading Airline and Africa’s Leading Airline, Economy
1Time – Whilst trading under the protection of business rescue, the budget airline worked hard to turn itself around operationally and financially. Alas, it was not to be and the airline filed for liquidation in early November 2012. A small victory, though, for 1Time in the form of the award for Africa’s Leading Low-Cost Airline.
OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg – One of the 100 busiest airports in the world and Africa’s busiest airport – handling some 17 million passengers a year – OR Tambo is also officially Africa’s Leading Airport.

The Blue Train

The Blue Train – a luxury five-star hotel on wheels, the Blue Train is the epitome of elegant travel, where guests can sit back and take in the scenic splendour of South Africa, whilst wining and dining. It was named Africa’s Leading Luxury Train.

Travel agencies and Tour companies

Travel with Flair – offers customer-focused total quality travel management programmes for organisations, with a strong focus on corporate travel and film and production travel. They won the awards for Africa’s Leading Business Travel Agency and Africa’s Leading Travel Management Company. – is an innovative online portal for South Africans to make local or international travel arrangements, by accessing the widest choice of flights, accommodation and car hire available, at the best possible prices. is also Africa’s Leading Online Travel Company.
Club Travel – strives to offer customers a unique combination of best price and service and to develop long-term relationships with them. This philosophy has earned them the title of Africa’s Leading Travel Agency.
Fish Eagle Safaris – This Cape Town-based tour company specialises in tours throughout Southern and East Africa. In addition to personalized service, they have a particular interest in promoting responsible and ethical tourism. This refreshing approach wins them Africa’s Responsible Tourism Award.

Leading Beach Destination Winner

Surf and Safari

Cape Town – boasts no less than 17 Blue Flag beaches. High standards of beach management, safety and security and water quality earn them the distinction of being Africa’s Leading Beach Destination.
Thanda Private Game Reserve – is situated in Northern Zululand, close to the coast. It offers the Big Five Safari Experience, along with a sampling of traditional Zulu Culture, fine dining and a superb wellness spa. Thanda Game Reserve is Africa’s Leading Luxury Game Reserve.
Shamwari Game Reserve – in the Eastern Cape, not only provides guests with a magnificent African Safari experience – for which it wins the award for Africa’s Leading Safari Lodge – but also has a strong focus on conservation and education. For these efforts Shamwari wins the award for Africa’s Leading Conservation Company.
The Phantom Forest Eco-Reserve – is a magical spot just outside Knysna on the Garden Route, on the Southern Cape Coast. The reserve contains a unique combination of three biospheres – Afromontane forest, fynbos and estuarine wetland – which you can enjoy from the comfort of your tree suite. Here, the emphasis is on sustainable development and minimising human impact; which earns the Phantom Forest Eco-Reserve the title of Africa’s Leading Green Hotel.

Leading Luxury Game Reserve Winner

Town and Country

The Regent – consisting of luxury apartments and triple-story penthouses, The Regent in Morningside, Johannesburg is the ultimate in glitzy, glamourous urban lifestyle. In fact, it’s Africa’s Leading Apartment Hotel.
The Sandton Sun – linked to both the Sandton Convention Centre and Sandton City shopping centre, and within a stone’s throw of many of the city’s finest cafés, restaurants, boutiques and businesses, the Sandton Sun combines the best of business and leisure travel, making it Africa’s Leading City Hotel and Africa’s Leading Business Hotel.
No. 5 Boutique Art Hotel – in the Friendly City, Port Elizabeth, offers luxury boutique accommodation, complemented by fine dining and impeccable service…all of this a mere 100 metres from the beach. No wonder it is Africa’s Leading Townhouse Hotel!
Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas and Spa – located in the tranquil, leafy Johannesburg suburb of Sandhurst, the Saxon is far enough from the busy city to be a retreat, yet close enough for the business traveller. It scoops two awards; one for Africa’s Leading Boutique Hotel and one for Africa’s Leading Suite for the unsurpassed luxury and elegance of its Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite.

Ellerman House and Villa

Ellerman House and Villa – in exclusive Bantry Bay, Cape Town, offers unparalleled luxury and opulence. It’s the perfect base from which to explore all that the exciting city of Cape Town has to offer – cafés, bars, restaurants, museums, galleries, wineries, shops, beaches, wild spaces and more. It earns the title Africa’s Leading Luxury Villa.


Arabella Hotel & Spa – Just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town, in the Kogelberg Mountains, near Kleinmond, Hermanus, this five-star resort also offers access to the beautiful Bot River Lagoon. Here, you can go hiking, horse riding, golfing, relax at the spa or simply read a good book at the poolside. The Arabella is Africa’s Leading Spa Resort.
Legend Golf & Safari Resort – situated within the Entabeni Safari Conservancy in the picturesque Waterberg region of Limpopo Province, the resort consists of four and five star safari lodges built around a championship golf course. There’s also a luxury wellness centre and conference facility.
Sun City – not only South Africa’s favourite resort, but also officially Africa’s Leading Family Resort, Sun City offers guests everything they could possibly imagine and more…safari, sun, shopping and even an inland beach!
The Palace of the Lost City – within the Sun City Resort, this extraordinary luxury hotel is literally a fairytale African palace. Guests get lost in the myth and mystery of their spectacular surroundings, while enjoying outstanding service, plush rooms and fine dining. It’s a little bit of outlandish Las Vegas in South Africa – which is why it’s Africa’s Leading Casino Resort.

The International Convention Centre, Durban

Zimbali Coastal Resort – offers discerning guests a warm, subtropical climate, sandy beaches, five-star country club and two world-class hotels, the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge and Fairmont Zimbali Resort. This stunning resort wins the award for Africa’s Leading Tourism Development Project.


The International Convention Centre (ICC), Durban – centrally situated and offering state-of-the-art facilities, there’s no better place to host a conference…which is why the ICC is Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre.
The Port of Durban – is Africa’s busiest container port, operating around the clock, every single day of the year. It’s been awarded the title of Africa’s Leading Port.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About IHS

The International Hotel School is South Africa’s premier hospitality and chef college. Follow us to make a career as a chef, in hospitality, restaurants, hotels, and much more… Where will your dreams take you?

View all posts by IHS