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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Concorde KL gets facelift

The four-star Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur will undergo a RM40 million facelift over the next three years to be among the first to benefit when the economy recovers.

The project has been divided into three phases. Phase 1, which is currently underway, saw the closure of five floors of the hotel on June 15 for the refurbishment of 207 rooms.

The project's first phase will cost RM5 million, said its director Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir.

It has allocated another RM15 million to refurbish the remaining 363 rooms and the rest to refurbish its support facilities such as the ballroom and gallery meeting rooms over the next two years.

"Once completed, the hotel will feature comfortable room layout, exquisite carpet and wall coverings, spacious dressing area with bathrooms with the latest in shower offerings," Syed Yusof told Business Times in Kuala Lumpur recently.

"The rooms are redesigned not only to satisfy the demands of the discerning, but also to nurture and inspire the individual," he said.

Syed Yusof said while the current global economic slowdown has affected the hotel's occupancy levels, it has also brought benefits in terms of lower building material prices. This in turn has lowered construction costs.

"The good thing about this recession is interest rates are down, costs of raw materials are falling, and crude oil prices are down. When things are down, it will be a matter of time before they head back up. So we believe in spending now," Syed Yusof said.

He said Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur remains on track to meet its 2009 revenue of RM60 million.

"We saw a slight shortfall of 5 per cent in all our hotel properties against our revenue in 2008. But looking at the second quarter, things should improve and there are signs showing that," he added.

The 19-storey Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur, formerly known as Merlin Hotel, on Jalan Sultan Ismail features 570 rooms with a strong domestic clientele.

Syed Yusof and his business partner Ong Beng Seng, founder of Singapore's Hotel Properties Ltd (HPL), bought the property in 1990 and refurbished it for some RM100 million.

No major refurbishment has been carried out since then, Syed Yusof said, adding that the hotel spends three per cent of its annual revenue on maintenance.

Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur's occupancy currently hovers around 80 per cent to 85 per cent, with an average room rate of RM250 per night which it expects to maintain throughout this year amid the renovations and economic slowdown.

Meanwhile, the Concorde hotel chain also has plans to refurbish the 14-year-old Concorde Inn Sepang for RM4 million in the second half of 2010.

"When we upgraded Casa del Mar in Langkawi and Concorde Hotel Shah Alam for RM10 million last year, sales shot up. We expect the same (results) from Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur and Concorde Inn Sepang," Syed Yusof said.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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