Raffles Hotels to open doors in KL in 2011?

By BUSINESS TIMES

The prestigious Raffles Hotels and Resorts is now in talks for a possible opening at the RM3 billion integrated Pavilion Kuala Lumpur development in Bukit Bintang

MALAYSIA will have a royal treat as the prestigious Raffles Hotels and Resorts – a brand linked to Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud – looks to Malaysia to expand.

The luxury brand hotel may have a presence in Malaysia, at the RM3 billion integrated Pavilion Kuala Lumpur development in Bukit Bintang, as early as 2011, sources say.

Raffles, owned by Toronto-based Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI), is now in discussions with relevant parties for the possible opening.

FRHI is run by Kingdom Hotels International, a company controlled by the Saudi prince. The former also runs some 91 hotels under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel brands.
When contacted, a Raffles spokesman confirmed talk that it plans to open in Malaysia and possibly in the Bukit Bintang area.

“Discussions have yet to be finalised and it would be premature for us to enter into specifics at this time,” he said in an e-mailed response.

The spokesman said Raffles, formed in 1989 to restore, redevelop and manage the world-famous Raffles Hotel, Singapore, has a long-term aim of growing its footprint in urban and resort destinations that are sought after by travellers.

“As such, we consistently explore suitable opportunities in capital cities and prominent leisure markets such as Kuala Lumpur, to further this goal,” he added.

Pavilion KL acting chief executive officer Joyce Yap neither denied nor confirmed that it is in talks with Raffles.

“We do have a proposed hotel (within the Pavilion development) and we are definitely interested in a luxury hotel,” Yap said.

On the earliest possible date at which its hotel component will be ready, Yap said: “Two years from now.”

Located at Bukit Bintang – the popular shopping zone within the Golden Triangle – Pavilion KL has allocated some 250,000 sq ft of space for its hotel component with close to 200 rooms.

Pavilion also houses 2.26 million sq ft of retail, 223,000 sq ft of corporate office and 1.2 million sq ft of residences. It is 51 per cent owned by Urusharta Cemerlang Sdn Bhd and 49 per cent owned by the Qatar Investment Authority.

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