RADISSON Hotel Brunei Darussalam will begin operations today as it takes over the property formerly occupied by Sheraton Utama Hotel in the heart of the capital.
At the stroke of midnight, signages were replaced and upgrades, which involve major refurbishment works to the rooms and some minor work on the lobby and back-of-the-house facilities, were set to be put in motion.
Sheraton will be leaving Brunei after 29 years in the market.
Stephen Ong, managing director of Hotel Associates Sdn Bhd, said in an e-mail the Bruneian investment holding firm which owns the hotel is looking forward to commencing a new chapter in the hotel's history.
"With our tie-up with Carlson Hotels Worldwide under the brand Radisson, we are confident the new management will bring fresh ideas and initiatives in ensuring that hospitality standards be maintained at a high level," he said.
Still, he added, "It was a sad moment for all of us as it is the end of a long chapter."
US hotel group Carlson Hotels announced on February 26, it will be venturing into Brunei, taking over the 142-room hotel property which was previously managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts under the Sheraton brand name.
In a previous statement, Ong touted the investment holding firm's partnership with Carlson Hotels, noting the strength of the Radisson brand globally will be the key in building the future success of the property.
"This will be a contemporary, international full-service hotel offering all the upscale amenities and services desired by today's business travellers."
Ong earlier said the move is just a change in management.
"We have had an excellent relationship with Starwood and Sheraton for the last 29 years (the hotel opened in 1981) and it's a mutual parting of ways. In recent years there is a misalignment of interest as to how we can develop this hotel further in terms of upgrading. So, we think it is more in our interest to move on with Carlson under the Radisson brand," he said.
In connection with the rebranding that will take place today, Ong said they have in mind an upgrading programme over a period of 24 months.
"The hotel will be of equivalent standard. We expect to maintain a high standard of service, just with a different image. We don't foresee this to change our star rating as Radisson is very strong in America, Europe, China, India and in this region, the Philippines and Thailand. It is definitely an international class brand," he added.
Ong also said that room rates are expected to remain similar.
Carlson Hotels is a leading global hotel company with more than 1,060 locations in 77 countries. Its brands include Regent, Radisson, Park Plaza, Country Inns & Suites and Park Inn.
PO Box 2203, Jalan Tasek, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8211,
Negara Brunei Darussalam, BS8674.
The Brunei Times
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