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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

HLG to create luxury hotel chain in China

SHANGHAI: Malaysian conglomerate Hong Leong Group(HLG) is to create a luxury hotel chain in China, with at least ten Guoman Hotels over the next five years.

Violet Lee, Group Managing Director of Guocoland China, HLG's property investment arm here, told reporters at a special interview, the company would bring the unique English hospitality to the market long dominated by hotel chains from the United States.

"With Guoman's 30 year history in hospitality management and its uniqueness in services, I am confident of the group's future in the China market," she said.

Lee was in Shanghai to witness the official launch of the Guoman Hotel Shanghai, last Saturday.

The US$80 million Guoman Hotel Shanghai is the Hong Leong Group's first five-star hotel investment in China, with another equally spectacularly-designed Guoman Hotel Beijing, to be launched in the middle next year.

"All future Guoman Hotels in China will be part of our Guoson Centres to be build in Tianjin, Nanjing, Chengdu and others major cities in China," she disclosed.

However, she did not rule out the possibility of building, stand alone Guoman Hotels, in specific locations and there could be more than one in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

The Guoman Hotel Shanghai's opening was officiated by the Executive Chairman of the Hong Leong Group, Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan and officials from the Shanghai government.

The Guoman Hotel Shanghai is located within the Group's US$600 million mixed-use project, the Guoson Centre, Shanghai, Changfeng, in the business-hub of the Putuo district.

The hotel is also located beside greenery, lakes surrounding the Changfeng Park in the east and the Suzhou Rivers in the south.

The 26-storey Guoman Hotel Shanghai has 442 bedrooms, including 127 suites and 315 deluxe rooms.

Other hotel facilities include a leisure centre, a 500 capacity ballroom, a western restaurant and bar, all day dining, a Chinese restaurant and lobby on the first two floors.

According to Lee, the Guoman Hotel Shanghai's service staff will be trained by British Guoman specialists.

"We want to create a 'home away from home' experience for our customers, especially those from the United Kingdom and Europe.

"I think the Guoman Hotel Shanghai has a competitive edge over other five-star hotels in the busy central business district of Shanghai," she explained.

She also said the hotel is connected to the Guoson Mall which has a direct metro connection to the HongQiao International Transportation Hub with multiple transportation modes, including an intercity express rail, subway, magnetic suspension train and intercity buses.

"We are expecting a 70 per cent or more occupancy rate in the first six months of operation," she added.

By Business Times

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