Thursday, October 17, 2013

I-Bhd partners Best Western for hotel venture

I-Bhd partners Best Western for hotel venture

SHAH ALAM: I-Bhd has partnered with Best Western International, the world’s biggest hotel chain, to develop the first hotel in the 29ha i-City project, scheduled to open in September 2014.

The three-star hotel, Best Western@i-City, has a gross development value of RM50mil, and represents the first of two hotels planned for the international park.

At the signing ceremony between the two parties, I-Bhd deputy chairman Datuk Eu Hong Chew said the hotel would probably have one of the shortest gestation periods due to the attractions based in the park.

Meanwhile, Best Western will also manage its first Best Western Service Suite in the country by providing hospitality and building management services for a period of 5+5 years.

“It is a standard arrangement with all our hotel owners. After that period, it is an automatic renewal unless there is an issue,” said Best Western vice president of international operations for Asia and the Middle East Glenn de Souza.

He added that the hotel would be an addition to its international portfolio and would be promoted overseas. “i-City is pretty self-contained, it’s like a one-stop shop. We would work with the tourism organisation to promote i-City.

It would attract a lot of foreigners because it provides everything for families and businesses,” he said.

Best Western Service Suite@i-City will comprise 826 units of serviced residences.

It will be the first hotel-branded residential development in Shah Alam and is expected to be completed in 2016. Eu added that the project would be launched by the end of this year. I-Bhd expects the hotel to enhance the number of visitors to the theme park attractions, as visitors now have the option of staying within i-City.

“The rooms would be comfortable and trendy. Rather than compete with the other facilities within i-City, we would complement and support them,” de Souza said.

The hotel is part of the third building block in the development of i-City as a tourism destination, said Eu.

“The three tourism components are i-City’s theme park attractions, a 1.5-million-square-feet super regional shopping mall and hotels,” he said.

To-date, the company has invested RM70mil in various rides and attractions.

Eu added that I-Bhd planned to invest an additional RM30mil in the theme park in the next few years.

I-Bhd is working with Thailand’s Central Retail group to develop the RM580mil CentralPlaza@i-City, which has been slated for completion in 2016.

Best Western has more than 4,100 hotels in more than 100 countries worldwide. In Malaysia, it currently operates in KL Sentral, Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Pulau Pangkor and Port Dickson. It plans to have 15 hotels in the country by end-2015.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, who officiated the signing ceremony, said there were still opportunities for international-class hotels within the capital city. “I hope this project would be an eye opener for other international hotel operators,” he said.

Publish date: 17/10/13

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