November 19, 2009
Holiday Inn Park View completes overhaul
By NISHA RAMCHANDANI
(SINGAPORE) The Holiday Inn Park View, which opened here in 1985, has been renamed Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre as part of a $25 million refurbishment exercise.
Its signage, reception area, guest rooms and food and beverage outlets have been overhauled. Despite the downturn, the decision was made to go ahead with renovating the 319-room hotel over a 15 month period. This was done in conjunction with InterContinental Hotels Group's Holiday Inn global relaunch programme.
'We're long term players. For us to refurbish in slightly more difficult economic times actually makes greater sense. If you do it in good times, you essentially take rooms out of the inventory,' said Aron Harilela, director of Hong-Kong based property developer The Harilela Group, which owns the Holiday Inn in Singapore as well as other properties in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
The group also owns three transit hotels here at Changi Airport, as well as a 20 per cent stake in Thomson Medical Centre.
Looking ahead, The Harilela Group is expanding its portfolio with the launch of two hotels in Tier 2 and 3 cities in China - the first of which will open in the second quarter of 2010 and the second in Q3 2011.
The two hotels, each costing US$15 million, will be funded by a mix of debt and equity. 'We're looking to do five hotels in China. There's a big market for internationally branded, standardised products,' said Dr Harilela, adding that land in Tier 1 cities tends to be priced exorbitantly.
Meanwhile, the Holiday Inn has out-performed the industry this year, according to general manager Shantha de Silva, with occupancy rates in the mid-80s, down from the low 90s in 2007-08.
Room rates this year have come down about 20 per cent compared to last year but remain in the low $200s.
'We've been trading fairly robustly even, this year,' said Mr de Silva. Business travellers make up 60-70 per cent of the clientele.
And Mr de Silva is confident that the hotel industry is likely to pick up soon.
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang