In spent three days in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh, to talk with journalists and to find out the training facilities in the area. I went there as an emissary of the Washington-based International Center for Journalists that is interested to do some training in the post-tsunami Aceh.
Some Banda Aceh editors suggested that the Center to organize some courses on newspaper marketing, newspaper design, television journalism and print journalism in Banda Aceh.
Sjamsul Kahar, the publisher of the Serambi Indonesia daily, offered the trainings to be conducted in his new office scheduled to be completed in July.
But one or two courses have to be organized in a third place where non-Serambi people could participate. I took a lot at Hotel Sulthan to check their facilities.
Banda Aceh used to have two good hotels. But the Kuala Tripa Hotel was destroyed in the tsunami.
Hotel Sulthan in Banda Aceh. Some journalists told me it is the only “representative hotel” in town. It is located in the Simpang Lima area, a walking distance to the Baiturrahman grand mosque and very close to the office of the Association of Indonesian Journalists. They are frequently used by international NGOs and UN bodies in Banda Aceh to hold their training sessions. When I visited this hotel on April 7, the World Vision was having a workshop.
Lenny Purmawanti, the marketing manager of Hotel Sulthan, showed me one of two meeting rooms that her clients could use. A meeting room costs IDR 1 million per day which include white board, markers, overhead projector and furnitures. This room is enough to accommodate 15-20 participants. She also provides computers.
Lenny Purmawanti also showed me the Hotel Sulthan dining room. This hotel was flooded with mud during the tsunami. It took the management nearly two months to clean up and to renovate this hotel. I used to stay in this hotel during the martial law. Surprisingly this hotel is much better managed in the post-tsunami era.