Peninsula plans to double chain
From DAVID WALLEN, Europe Editor, in London
THE Peninsula group aims to expand to no more than 10 or 12 hotels from its existing base of six, according to group president Onno Poortier.
His statement on the ultimate size of the prestige group came as Mr Poortier and a team of general managers from the hotels met London reporters during a tour of Europe.
While it intended to concentrate on gateway cities in the Asia-Pacific region, the group said it intended to buy a European property soon.
Rumours have that it might try to take over the running of the old Hotel Meurice in the centre of Paris, part of the Ciga chain.
The Peninsula Group's parent company, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, showed a profit of HK$636 million last year, an increase of 18.2 per cent over 1993.
The group moved into the North American market in 1988, buying the Peninsula New York, and then the Beverley Hills Peninsula in 1991.
The New York hotel will begin a major refit later this year to improve its facilities while keeping its beaux arts design.
The 400-room Peninsula Bangkok is on schedule to open in 1997, while negotiations are going on with Vietnam authorities for the possible development of a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Meanwhile, there are plans to include the technological developments included in the Hong Kong Peninsula relaunch - such as fax machines, computer jacks, hands-free telephones with voice mail, and displays of outside temperature and humidity - in the rooms of every hotel in the chain.
The Peninsula's Palace Hotel in Beijing would soon begin a programme of renovating all guest rooms and other facilities, said Mr Poortier.
Average room rates at the Beijing Hotel increased 11.5 per cent to US$155 last year while occupancy remained stable at 55 per cent.