Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hotel madness

Advertising for Sokha Beach Hotel where the Vegas Casino gets top billing
If they can hear the chink of the cash register, then some people have no compunction in turning their prize cash-cow into a dog's dinner. Take Sokha Beach Hotel in Sihanoukville. They have the top 5-star resort on the south coast. Whilst it's not everyone's cup of tea, it attracts the crowds because it's the best on offer in the top range, and they have a private beach. So what do they go and do. They open up a glitzy gaming casino at the front door, guaranteed to turn off and turn away most western guests. The Sokha Vegas Casino proudly offers blackjack, baccarat, roulette and slots in its advertising literature. Someone pass me the sick bucket. I can't think of anything worse. Though I'm sure they are already counting the wads of cash from their Asian market customers. It's the same Sokha group who are building 560 rooms on O’Chheuteal beach in the same city. That's not to mention the 14-hectare Chrouy Changva monstrosity with 798 rooms (and an Irish pub) that is blighting the view across from Phnom Penh's riverfront. Oh and of course, there's their Bokor Hill development project, just outside of Kampot. On the drawing board are a casino resort (12 storeys and 652 rooms), eco-villas, entertainment parks, cable car and 18-36 holes of championship golf designed by Arnold Palmer. And there's supposed to be a conservation plan for wildlife. What wildlife - the construction workers will have gobbled up everything well before they've finished laying the final brick.
Whilst on the subject of bird-brained hotel development, can someone explain to me why Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap needs to close its doors for nine - yes, 9 - months come 1 July 2012? Currently envied by all the other hotel GMs in Siem Reap for their high occupancy and glowing reputation, those in charge have decided to close the doors for a spate of room renovations ahead of a new branding, that will kill off their next high season and beyond. It beggars belief to be honest, and everyone I've spoken to, finds it hard to fathom as well. Why would you close your doors, at the height of your success and fame, to add a lick of paint to your walls and move the bed around the room? I'm sure its more than that, but you get the picture. It's potentially financial and reputational suicide. The new branding, Hyatt, has 450+ properties across the globe. HDLP will be their first in Cambodia. They already have 2 in nearby Vietnam.
The future of Bokor Mountain is this Las Vegas-style 12-storey monstrosity

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very surprised you don't know that HDLP has been bought by Hyatt hence the hotel being closed to be brought in spec with Hyatt brand. Lots of people know this in SR. Amazed Hanuman is in the dark!

December 16, 2011 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Anon 8.16AM,
Hanuman has nothing to do with this post, this is my personal blog. And yes I have heard about Hyatt. What I don't understand is why a successful brand like HDLP, particularly their flagship hotel, is going off the radar for at least 9 months, possibly more. The other hotels are rubbing their hands in glee.

December 16, 2011 at 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As explained... They've been bought by Hyatt so it's no longer the concern of HDLP. It's the concern of the Hyatt brand that aren't going to be too concerned if one their hundreds of hotels goes off line for nine months.

On a personal note, I agree (I love HDLP as it stands) as I think the hotel is going to change unfortunately. But this is big business...

December 16, 2011 at 6:28 PM  

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