Friday, June 18, 2010

Hong Leong targets budget hotels as part of growth plans

New Studio M hotel aims to plug gap between four-star and budget hotels

HONG Leong Group is hoping to grow its budget hotel segment in Singapore and the region, said executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng.

The group yesterday unveiled the latest addition to its Singapore hotel portfolio - the $110 million Studio M. The price tag for the hotel at Nanson Road in the Robertson Quay area includes the $45.8 million Hong Leong paid for the land in late 2006.

The price works out to $518 per square foot of potential gross floor area.

The 360-room Studio M - held under Hong Leong's London-listed unit Millennium & Copthorne Hotels - boasts unique loft-style rooms, which the conglomerate says is a first in Singapore. The property, which was designed by Italian architect Piero Lissoni, has achieved over 80 per cent occupancy since it opened its doors in late March.

The Studio M brand will plug the gap between four-star and budget hotels in Singapore, said Mr Kwek, who was speaking to reporters at the hotel's official opening yesterday.

'Young and savvy travellers looking for designer- type, quality accommodation will find Studio M's new concept and brand appealing,' said Mr Kwek. 'Not only will Studio M set a new benchmark in the local hospitality scene, we believe that it has potential to grow its presence overseas as well.'

But while he is looking for opportunities to grow the Studio M brand in both Singapore and the region, Mr Kwek also revealed that he is working on another concept for a 'strictly budget' chain of hotels.

Hong Leong is best known in Singapore for its luxury hotels such as the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel and Orchard Hotel.

For the budget hotel business, Mr Kwek said he is looking at Singapore as well as Chinese cities. But the conglomerate will avoid saturated markets as well as places with volatile and unstable economies, he added.

Source: Business Times, 18 Jun 2010

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