WELCOME SIGN: Matt Cook of the Regent Hotel says the Singapore Army exercises bring positive outcomes for the region’s economy and community.
WELCOME SIGN: Matt Cook of the Regent Hotel says the Singapore Army exercises bring positive outcomes for the region’s economy and community. Trinette Stevens Roktcook

Hotel manager wants us to give back to our troops

WHEN army personnel come to town, what's their favourite vice? According to hotel manager Matt Cook, it's laundry.

The Regent Hotel manager on Rockhampton's southside said defence force staff were by far his cleanest and most consistent clients.

"Their (rooms) are so pristine... I would like to think they are out having drinks all night but they're all very fit," Matt said.

"I don't even know why we send housekeepers in there half the time.

"I can put spas in there, I can put champagne, but as long as there is a laundry they are happy."

Matt said out of the 49 rooms available at the Regent, many were reliably booked long term by army personnel.

He said the region directly benefited from exercises in the region, and welcomed the ongoing Singaporean exercise.

He said while the Singaporeans rarely stayed in the hotel, Australian officers who facilitate the military exercises for foreign troops make up a large percentage of his patronage.

"The Australian Army contingent is here until at least November... they have days off, they use the facilities around town, they buy dinner, they do their shopping, and they are continuously here," he said.

"They are not going home on weekends.

"They have actually made Rockhampton their home, and they become part of the fabric of our community."

Matt said having the "guys" there was excellent for staff morale, as they interact on a social basis.

"They are pretty humble, I have tried to chat with the experiences they have had and they play it all down," he said

"It is nice for the staff to chat to them and get a feel for what they do, because most of the time we see the uniform and then they're gone.

"It humanises the military."

And for every cent and second the Australian and foreign defence personnel spend within the Rockhampton community, Matt would like to see us give back.

"They get left to their own devices to find their own entertainment, and I think the town needs to say thank you in a way for the financial injection they give us," he said.

"Everyone really appreciates it... it would be nice for us to give back."



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