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Monday, October 6, 2008

More hotels to spruce up Penang island

The Royale Bintang Penang is scheduled to be completed next year

Nine hotels will be developed in the next three to four years

SOME nine hotels in the three, four and five-star categories will be developed on the Penang island in the next three to four years.

They include Royale Bintang Penang and The Rice Miller Hotel both in Weld Quay, Hard Rock Hotel in Batu Ferringhi, Cititel Express Hotel in Jalan Magazine and Eastin e-hotel in Queensbay Mall.

The other four hotels, still yet to be named, are located at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, Times Square and Queensbay Mall.

The Hard Rock Hotel, scheduled to open in early 2009, is now undergoing construction.

Located along the famous Batu Ferringhi beach front, the 252-bedroom hotel has nine studio suites and a King’s suite as well as four food and beverage outlets, which will include a Hard Rock Cafe, an all-day dining restaurant and a bar-cum-lounge.

The hotel’s main ballroom and three function rooms offer a total of 5,700 sq ft for private events as well as for meetings, corporate events and exhibitions.

Meanwhile, the four-star Royale Bintang Penang is being developed by Boustead Holdings Bhd at a cost of RM110mil.

The 12-storey hotel, equipped with 300 bedrooms, has a built-up area of about 250,000 sq ft.

Construction on the hotel has started and it is scheduled for completion at the end of 2009.

The RM150mil Eastin e-Hotel in Bayan Baru is currently being developed by the CP Land group.

CP Land group executive chairman Datuk Tan Chew Piau said the business class hotel would have 339 rooms, of which 28 were suites. It will be completed by mid-2009.

“We also plan to develop a five-star hotel and a budget hotel for the Queensbay Mall project, which are scheduled for completion in 2012 and 2014,” he said.

The IGB Group is scheduled to start developing the 28-storey Cititel Express Hotel soon. The RM100mil three-star hotel will have 550 rooms.

Cititel Hotel Management Sdn Bhd (CHM) managing director Datuk Eric H.K. Lim said the hotel was scheduled to commence operations in the last quarter of 2010.

“It will also feature a podium with a bazaar that can accommodate 80 and 100 shoplots,” Lim said.

Meanwhile, the five-star Rice Miller Hotel, scheduled for completion in 2012, is part of the RM500mil Pier commercial plaza project developed by Asian Global Business Sdn Bhd (AGB).

The Pier occupies six existing 19th century buildings that will see new structures being added on.

“We are working closely with our architects and heritage conservation and environment planner to revitalise the historical resources on the site,” said AGB chief executive officer Dr Noraini Abdullah.

Construction of The Rice Miller Hotel and the Pier project are expected to start in the next six months.

Ivory Properties group will develop a RM250mil five-star hotel for its Times Square scheme.

General manager Chok Keng Vui said construction work on the hotel was scheduled to start in mid-2010.

The hotel, which comes under phase four of the RM1bil Times Square project, will have 500 rooms.

The Low Yat Group has received the green light from the local authorities for its 23-storey hotel with 399 rooms and a double-storey basement car park at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Construction will begin soon on the hotel, which will have about 62,000 sq ft of built-up area.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (Penang chapter) chairman Marco Battistotti said the new hotels would enable the local tourism industry to tap on tourist arrivals from niche and new market destinations.

“The new hotels will work on tapping unexplored destinations and specialised market segments, increasing the popularity of Penang as a holiday resort,” he said.

Battistotti also said in view of the heritage city status given by Unesco recently, Penang and Malacca should work together to promote heritage tourism of the Straits Settlement.

On average, the hotels in the city enjoy a yearly occupancy of 70% to 75% and beach hotels 60% to 65%.

“With the country’s economy growing 5% to 6% annually, there will still be demand from the domestic and international markets to support the new hotels.

“About 60% of the tourist arrivals is domestic with the remainder from overseas” said Battistotti.

There are now 40 hotels in Penang, of which 25 are in the city and the rest in the beach areas.

By The Star (by David Tan)

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