Troubled Ocean Park hotel now set for October launch while water attraction due to be completed by end of 2019
Completed procedures in obtaining government permits cited as reason for Marriott’s delayed debut
A new hotel at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park is set to be launched in October, while a water park will be completed by the end of next year, according to the project chiefs.
Peter Lam Kin-ngok, chairman of Lai Sun Development, which owns and develops Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott, said the HK$5 billion (US$641 million) hotel’s opening would happen in October due to requirements in obtaining various government permits.
“We have many tests to pass and the procedures are complicated,” he said.
The building works for the luxurious 471-room hotel were expected to conclude last year, but the debut was pushed back to June 13 this year. In May, the Post learned the hotel would not be ready to receive its first guest until the third quarter of this year.
Earlier this month, the parent company of the project’s main contractor, Hsin Chong Construction (Asia) Limited, came under scrutiny after it was found to be in financial trouble. Media reported that the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority had helped Hsin Chong – the main contractor of the hub’s M+ visual culture museum – pay its subcontractors. The authority said the payments had been deducted from the contract sum payable to the construction firm.
Asked whether the hotel’s delay stemmed from Hsin Chong’s financial woes, Ocean Park's chief executive Matthias Li Sing-chung on Tuesday said that was internal business between Lai Sun and Hsin Chong. While stating the hotel would be launched before the end of this year, Li did not specify a date, and said he did not know whether the delay would increase the project’s costs, noting it was owned by Lai Sun.
Another core Ocean Park attraction, a HK$2.9 billion water park, would be completed before the end of next year, Li added.
Known as Tai Shue Wan Water World, the project was expected to attract 1.5 million visitors in its first year of operation and contribute HK$842 million to the local economy in 2018, according to government submissions to the Legislative Council in 2013.
But Ocean Park has not decided on the launch date, saying it depended on marketing and preparatory arrangements.
Facing rising competition from Hong Kong Disneyland’s ongoing HK$10.9 billion expansion as well as new tourist attractions in the region, loss-making Ocean Park pinned its hopes for fresh growth on the all-weather water park and two high-end hotels, the other being a Fullerton Hotel due for completion in 2021. The plan is to transform the 41-year-old theme park into an international resort destination.