Several Peninsulas in the pipeline

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels is in talks to develop several new projects and is targeting a December 14 opening for its US$134 million Peninsula Tokyo, according to chairman Sir Michael Kadoorie.

The 24-storey, 314-room Tokyo hotel will be the group's ninth and is set to be followed in 2009 with the opening of the US$361 million, 250-room Peninsula Shanghai, in which the firm will have a 50 per cent stake.

While declining to provide details on other future projects, management said the discussions were ongoing for a number of potential developments.

'You cannot be too specific about which location you're going to go to next,' chief executive Clement Kwok King-man said after a shareholders' meeting yesterday.

'We are not trying to plant a hotel flag in every city. If the opportunity arises, we would love to have a hotel in Europe. If I manage to sign a hotel deal in London or Paris, I think my chairman [Sir Michael] will be very happy.'

Room rates at the group's flagship property, the Peninsula Hong Kong in Tsim Sha Tsui, reached a historic high in March and April this year for all hotels in Hong Kong.

Despite a 3 per cent drop in occupancy to 80 per cent, the average room rate in the first quarter rose 17 per cent from a year ago to HK$3,601 per night. Revenue per available room averaged HK$2,881 during the first three months of this year, traditionally a soft period, compared with HK$2,592 for the whole of last year.

'Looking at our order books and the situation for the next month or two, things do look very positive,' Mr Kwok said.

Executives said recent bad publicity for Hong Kong's travel industry failed to dampen business at the company's popular tourist-focused assets such as the recently renovated Peak Tower and the Peak Tram.

'If you look at the influx of tourists during the recent Golden Week, [business] hasn't suffered, it has actually gone up from the year before,' chief operating officer Peter Borer said.

'We felt that result in the patronage of the Peak Tram, which has had unprecedented volumes during the Golden Week.'

Growing globally

The group is in talks for several potential projects

The average room rate at Peninsula Hong Kong in the first quarter, in HK$: 3,601