Luxury Hotels

Kowloon to welcome back ‘Regent’ name, as part of InterContinental Hotel revamp

  • ‘I know cab drivers who still know the hotel as the Regent instead of InterContinental, so there’s still a great sense of nostalgia’ says JLL consultant
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 8:05am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 6:50pm

Hong Kong’s harbour-facing InterContinental Hotel in Kowloon will hike up its prices after being rebranded as its original name, the upscale “Regent”, and reopened in 2021, which analysts say reflects a trend towards more luxury offerings in the city.

Average daily rates at the hotel, situated in the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui district on the edge of Victoria Harbour, could increase by as much as 40 per cent as the British multinational InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) seeks to build a more upmarket image, according to Jolyon Bulley, chief executive of IHG’s Greater China business.

Hotel stays in Hong Kong to cost more as Excelsior’s closure will tighten supply by nearly 1,000 rooms

The 503-room InterContinental was originally opened in 1980 as the Regent Hong Kong and will take a full year to be renovated.

“The Regent brand is in the upper-luxury segment, so it’s catering to a much more bespoke and specialised area of luxury,” said Bulley.

The InterContinental currently charges around HK$2,200 (US$280) a night for a standard room.

Corey Hamabata, senior vice-president at property consultant JLL’s hotels and hospitality group, said the rebranding means the city will have another “newer, nicer” hotel as a result, even though room rates may rise. It's being created next door to the high-end Rosewood Hong Kong, due to open this year.

“We are seeing a redefinition of luxury hotels in Hong Kong and they are pushing new boundaries,” added Hamabata.

In recent days the announcement of the closure of the iconic Excelsior Hotel on Hong Kong Island in March had sparked worries about tightening room supply and rising prices in the city, which has less than 80,000 hotel guest rooms to accommodate over 27 million overnight tourist arrivals recorded last year.

Hotelier IHG doubles down on China, targets high-end hotel brands

But the overall health of the global luxury hotel market was illustrated well by latest forecasts by Grand View Research which predict the sector to bulge to US$115.8 billion in annual value by 2025, a 4.3 per cent annual growth rate.

InterContinental also runs the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, and development of the Regent name would help it close the gap in luxury too, with rivals such as Marriott International, which owns Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis.

IHG bought the Regent Hotels & Resorts brand for US$39 million from Taiwan-based Formosa International Hotels Corporation in March, and hopes to grow that chain to 40 hotels from the current six.

Founded in 1971, the Regent was once a leading luxury hotel brand and is renowned for having pioneered the five-piece hotel bathroom concept where a bathtub, walk-in shower, toilet, and two sinks come as standard.

IHG buys 51pc stake in Regent Hotels & Resorts for US$39m

Regent Hong Kong was bought by IHG, when it was named Six Continents, from New World Development in 2001.

“I know cab drivers who still know the hotel as the Regent instead of InterContinental, so there’s still a great sense of nostalgia,” added Hamabata.

To revive its Regent roots, IHG plans to incorporate dragon patterns in the new design, as Regent Hong Kong used to be considered the “luckiest hotel in the world” because of a legendary tale of nine dragons coming from Kowloon during its building.