AN ORCHARD Road fixture will be revamped and given a brand-new look by next year.
The four-star Park Hotel Orchard, located across Bideford Road from Paragon Shopping Centre, will be closed for renovations from tomorrow.
When it reopens by the second quarter of next year, it will have been transformed into a five-star hotel with four storeys of retail space.
Its upgraded rooms and suites will also feature state-of-the-art technology, said its owners, the Park Hotel Group.
It will also boast a new name - Grand Park Orchard.
This is not the first name change for the 25-year-old hotel, which is still known among many Singaporeans by its first name - the Crown Prince Hotel.
The $80 million makeover has been in the works since it was bought over by Park Hotel Group in 2005.
Once an Orchard Road landmark with its eye-catching outdoor capsule lifts, the hotel looks distinctly dated now, overshadowed in recent years by newer and swankier neighbours such as Paragon and Ngee Ann City malls.
Other hotels along the stretch, such as the Meritus Mandarin, have already embarked on renovations.
Speaking at the unveiling event yesterday, Park Hotel Group director Allen Law said the revamp will create a new fashion-themed hotel.
Its familiar white and brown facade, for example, will be replaced by a glass one with a herringbone design more commonly seen in fabric.
'The idea is to transform the hotel into a fashionable icon. The facade is like a dress that clothes the building, and turns it into something elegant and stylish,' said Mr Law.
The facade will also have an eight-storey-tall LED screen for advertisements. At 27m by 21m, it will be one of the largest such screens in Orchard Road.
The 83,000 sq ft retail podium will have double-storey flagship stores of international brands, with entrances in Orchard Road.
Meanwhile, the hotel's lobby, currently on the ground floor, will be moved to the fourth floor.
Rates will likely start from $350 a night for a standard room, about $100 more than the current price.
The group's senior vice-president Mohamed K. Rafin is optimistic that business will roll in when the hotel reopens next year.
'By that time, the integrated resorts would have come up, and there would be an infusion of travellers,' he said.
Details on the retail tenants and room interiors will be made available in the coming months, Park Hotel Group said yesterday.Source: Straits Times, 31 Mar 2009