The choice of champions

How has the The Club Saujana Resort come to position itself as a base for visiting, international football teams?

Our location of course helps, because we are about 20 minutes drive from the Bukit Jalill National Stadium, which staged the 1998 Commonwealth Games. It is also close to the Shah Alam Stadium which is used mostly for football matches and is the home of the Selangor FA.

The event organiser for these international matches is ProEvents, Asia’s leading football promoter, and they are the teams’ marketing and event management consultancy. ProEvents has recommended the resort and used it for all visiting teams since 2012.

We are able to block out the entire hotel for teams in our boutique property, the Club Saujana Resort, because each of its 105 suites meets organisers’ safety and security concerns. Crowd control is also manageable as there are only two main entrances to the hotel, and the hotel’s open space is ideal for footballers who want a relaxing stay. Our facilities (spa, restaurants and fitness centre) are all within the hotel's premises and team support is at our guests’ disposal 24/7 for any special requests or last minute changes. We have established credibility in the region, having successfully hosted numerous high profiled groups/events.

Which teams have you hosted?

We hosted Arsenal in 2011 and 2012, Queens Park Rangers in 2012, Chelsea in 2013, Sevilla in 2013, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in 2015.

What are your top 3 considerations when hosting high-profile individuals?

1. Safety and security

2. Group size and organiser’s requirements

3. Having a contact point to ensure effective communication and the dissemination of requests and changes

What specific requirements are often requested?

We often have teams request 24/7 security personnel on duty for players.

What sort of activities or events have you hosted in the past for the teams?

We hold press conferences with “Meet the Fans” events where football fan club members travel to meet their football clubs in busloads from around the region. We also hosted a Charity Auction with Tottenham Hotspur this year where players were asked to prepare Malaysian teh-tarik (pulled tea) and roti canai, and the food and drink was later auctioned to the highest bidder. All funds raised were given to local orphanages.

What are the most important things to keep in mind when hosting groups like these?

You need to be able to make immediate changes and meet last minute requests in a timely and seamless manner. Having a keen eye for detail helps make sure that the itinerary is handled well, be it transport, or pre and post event requests. For example, when Chelsea was here, Frank Lampard wanted a recumbent bicycle, that's good for people with knee injuries. But at the time there were only two or three models available in the whole of Malaysia, one of which was in Penang. Luckily, we managed to get the one from the owner in Penang for Mr Lampard the following day. Ensuring a memorable experience for all guests is paramount, as is their privacy.

For group bookings and VIPs, how do The Club Saujana Resort and the Saujana Hotel differentiate themselves from other resorts in the region?

Privacy is one of the major requirements for group bookings and VIPs and The Club does well with this. Being away from the hustle and bustle from the capital and with our setting as an urban resort, we can appeal to groups who want a getaway from the city and a relaxing environment. Another key element is the space that we have to hold outdoor activities; our facilities being well spread across our grounds allows creative meeting setups and group activities outdoors.

Peter Hourigan is Vice President of Operations at The Saujana Hotel & Resorts

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