George Subramanian at the plaque commemorating his many years as the face of the iconic Rawdons Hotel in the Midlands.
George Subramanian at the plaque commemorating his many years as the face of the iconic Rawdons Hotel in the Midlands.

The amazing memories of Rawdons’ legend

By Duncan Guy Time of article published Jan 16, 2021

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Durban - A popular, long serving-staffer known as the face of Rawdons Hotel, who is honoured by a plaque in the garden of the iconic Midlands institution, has died.

“You don’t get that kind of dedication these days,” Peter Dean, the owner of the hotel told the Independent on Saturday referring to George Subramanian’s official 60 years’ service.

“He had just had his first Christmas at home because we all work through Christmas at the hotel.”

Dean said his death was Covid-19 related.

Always immaculately dressed, George Subramanian, is remembered as the face of Rawdons Hotel in the Midlands.

Subramanian rubbed shoulders with raucous rugby fans as well as celebrities.

“When Irish supporters of the British Lions rugby tour came to stay at Rawdons – they didn’t sleep for the two nights of their stay and neither did George. They partied up a proverbial storm and were having such a good time at Rawdons that they didn’t make it to the Test match in Durban,” Dean said, quoting hotel archives.

“After the second night of no sleep, they eventually succumbed and collapsed into slumbering heaps in the bar. George took the opportunity to relieve them of their ties, which he still has to this day.

“Wakening refreshed, the Irishmen said their very loud goodbyes and were off – but their bus broke down in Nottingham Road just a few kilometres from Rawdons and by hitching lifts on tractors and trucks they headed back to the hotel with instructions to the staff

The plaque at Rawdons Hotel, honouring the long service of George Subramanian.

not to hurry with repairing their transport. George was delighted to see them back on the doorstep – especially as they brought with them all of the ashtrays, glasses and other ‘memorabilia’ that they had helped themselves to.”

Subramanian also met superstars such as Morgan Freeman, John Cleese and Wesley Snipes, all of whom have visited the country while filming and stayed at Rawdons.

“All were ‘very nice people, totally approachable’. John Cleese is apparently as funny as he appears on screen – he’s as you see him in the movies, he’s totally natural. None of them had any special requests in terms of accommodation or food.”

Subramanian recalled that they were “just normal people”.

Then there’s the story of him calming down over-excited guests.

“One very busy Saturday night George attended to a call from a room for drinks, because there were no waiters available. He arrived with the tray of refreshments and knocked, and the door was opened by ’a very pretty woman dressed only in a bath towel’.

“She reached for the drinks and the towel fell to the floor, leaving her standing starkers in the doorway. She started to scream, causing all the other hotel doors to burst open as guests came to see what the disturbance was about. From inside the room, a naked man rushed from the bathroom, shouting, ‘What’s going on?’ and headed towards George. Calmly, George advised him, ‘Please just tell her to put some clothes on’.

On another occasion, George had to placate a honeymoon couple who were subjected to a rather rude interruption by the hotel dog, a friendly Labrador.

“She loved swimming in the hotel dam, and would then retire to sleep it off in the attic. As she grew, the soggy attic floor was subjected to more and more strain, until one day the damp dog came crashing through the ceiling, landing safety on top of the canoodling couple. She gratefully licked their faces but the honeymooners were not amused. It took George quite a bit of sweet-talking but they eventually calmed down over dinner.”

The Independent on Saturday

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