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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Swiss-Belhotel has hands full with new projects

Three hotels and a serviced residence are keeping Hong Kong-based hotel management firm Swiss-Belhotel International (SBI) awfully busy in Malaysia.

SBI, which will open the five-star Golden Palm Tree Sea Villas and Spa Sepang in December 2009, is also working on three other hotel projects which are under development in Pahang, Sabah and Kuala Lumpur.

In Pahang, SBI will manage a 515-room Swiss-Belhotel Zenith Kuantan together with a convention centre that can accommodate 6,000 people. The hotel, slated for opening in October 2010, forms part of the Putra Square Kuantan being developed by Zenith Aim Sdn Bhd.

SBI's director of projects and developments for Malaysia, Carlos Velho, is excited about the project as he feels the opening will fill an existing void in the state capital - the need for a five-star city hotel with convention facilities.

"There is no facility equal to this in Kuantan and its opening will bring the meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition business to the convention centre," Velho told Business Times in an interview.

Accordingly, Velho expects occupancy to touch 80 per cent in the first year of operations - a commendable figure for a new hotel. It hopes to garner an average room rate (ARR) of between RM180 and RM230 per night.

The project in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is a 335-room sea-fronting five-star hotel. The hotel, to be named Grand Swiss-Belhotel Kota Kinabalu, is owned by China based i-Zenith International Pvt Ltd.

This hotel forms part of the 1.22ha Kota Kinabalu City Waterfront integrated mixed development by Sunsea Development Sdn Bhd. The project will also house a 400,000 sq ft retail space and another 100 units of designer suites.

To be ready in December 2010, Velho expects this hotel to draw a foreign crowd who will help fill up its projected 70-75 per cent average occupancy in the first year. It hopes to achieve an ARR of RM350.

The hotel complies as a green building, and thus expects that while cost of construction may be higher, its cost of operations will be lower from water harvesting and savings on lighting and air-conditioning (typically the highest cost after wages).

In Mont Kiara, a 584-unit Swiss-Belhotel Mont Kiara Suites and Residences is being built by a public-listed company.

Meanwhile, The Golden Palm Tree Sea Villas development in Sepang will open its doors December 2009.

Velho said that reception to the project was so good that it had to increase the number of villas to 399 from 366.

The project guarantees a return of 8 per cent in the first and second year and to gradually improve from the third year onwards.

The villas, which have all been sold, is leased back by the developer of the project Sepang Gold Coast Sdn Bhd's unit Sepang Duta Sdn Bhd.

Sepang Gold Coast is a 70-30 joint venture between CNI Corp and Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB).

By Business Times (Posted on 22 June 2009)

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