Transformation of Sunway’s most prized hospitality asset

Sunway Group’s US$60 million transformation of its most prized hospitality asset, Sunway Resort (formerly Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa) will add solar panels, motion-sensor LED lighting, and specialist suites to the property.

Alex Castaldi, senior general manager of hotels, Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, said the specialist suites are completely brand new.

There are a total of 34 Business Suites, eight Wellness Suites, and six Family Fun Suites.

Castaldi said the business suite is a smart space that comes fully-equipped with the latest technology and business essentials for corporate travellers on-the-go.

Each suite features a separate executive office area with a large desk and sofa, and essential business amenities such as a printer, scanner, stationery, USB ports and more, he told NST Property.

The wellness suite comes with in-room wellness tools, gym equipment including a treadmill, and all-in-one bench for total body workouts.

The family fun suite with bright and quirky rooms feature a separate entertainment zone packed with activities, including karaoke, a gaming console, big screen entertainment and complimentary kids’ treats.

Castaldi said there is also one unit of the Sunway Grand Suite which is a luxurious sanctuary, hosting four guests in style, with two bedrooms, separate dining, living and bar areas.

“The 17 pool villas in our existing inventory will also be completely transformed,” he said.

Castaldi said the renovation plan was initially set to take place in 2021, but, due to the pandemic, the management decided to move it forward.

The pandemic has affected the global hospitality and tourism industry and Castaldi said this has been in Sunway’s favour as it is able to shut down the entire hotel.

“We can focus on the transformation, ensuring everything meets the deadline, goes according to plan and new partnerships deals are secured before the opening,” he said.

Castaldi said this is a once-in-a-generation transformation that will excite guests and elevate the entire Malaysian hospitality sector.

With its cutting-edge technology, luxurious new fittings, brand new family playland and zones and the introduction of a world-famous chef’s first restaurant in Malaysia, he believes that the new Sunway Resort will be positioned as Malaysia’s premier entertainment and event destination, setting a new benchmark for authentic Asian business and leisure hospitality.

He added that one of the most exciting inclusions into the new Sunway Resort is the family facilities – Aquaventure Playland, Wonderland Kids Club, Family Leisure Lounge – which is expected to be a major pull for guests.

Scheduled to reopen in phases from April 2021, the brand-new Sunway Resort will feature new room categories including specialist suites, new family facilities, a new internationally renowned restaurant brand, as well as cutting-edge technology around the hotel and in the rooms.

“We are very excited as everything is currently on track. We do not foresee any delays and will reopen as soon as we are ready. We understand that while it may take some time for international travels to resume and kick-start again, we will continue to also focus on domestic tourism which makes up 64 per cent of total room nights in 2019,” Castaldi said.

As for the Average Room Rate (ARR), Castaldi said there will be a 15 per cent increase over the current price.

“The room rate is highly dependent on the seasonality and demand,” he said.

Castaldi said that moving forward, the biggest markets for the hotel will be European travellers, Russia, and Australia.

Pre-renovation, the hotel’s biggest markets are the Middle East, Singapore, India and China.

“We will be extensively going into Europe, Russian speaking markets and Australia. The specialist suites and pool villas are highly targeted at its own respective segments, as per the name suggests,” he said.

Castaldi said when Sunway Resort reopens in April, hopefully, it will be timely with the opening of the international market travel again.

Sustainability a key pillar

Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah said the timing was apt for a remodelling that will not only upgrade the hotel aesthetically but will also embody Sunway’s commitment to sustainability.

The hotel has been around for a staggering 24 years and it is being given a fresh look in time for its 25th year of operations.

With sustainability as a key pillar and driving philosophy of Sunway, Sunway FutureX Farm – a vertical farm curated by Sunway iLabs will be a key source of ingredients for all restaurants in the hotel, offering healthy and farm-fresh produce for guests.

The hotel will implement several new environmental measures to minimise the carbon footprint.

Contactless check-in and out and digital hotel directories will replace the use of paper, while room temperatures will be regulated with energy-saving air-conditioning systems and ‘Smart Curtains’.

Solar panels, motion-sensor LED lighting and advanced water technologies will be deployed to enhance efficiency and use of plastic laundry bags will be a thing of the past.

“We built Sunway City Kuala Lumpur with Sunway Resort at its heart. But now we need to step into the future to embrace a new generation of leisure and business guests while welcoming the existing ones, and elevate Sunway City Kuala Lumpur as a fully-integrated premier tourist destination that will rival the very best in the world,” Cheah said in a statement last month.

Expanding the hospitality portfolio

Castaldi said that Sunway may embark on a similar transformation for some of its properties in Malaysia.

The hospitality group has been investing in its redevelopment and expansion plan over the past years. This includes the opening of Sunway Clio Hotel in 2016, and Sunway Velocity Hotel in 2017. Another property, Sunway Pyramid Hotel underwent a refurbishment work.

Coming up soon is Sunway Big Box Hotel in Johor, which will open early this year.

“I believe that once this pandemic is over, the confidence of travellers will be slow and we should not expect an immediate rebound. However, the hospitality industry has gone through crises before and recovered. So, I am hopeful and believe that once this crisis is contained, the business will pick up rapidly and we are making the necessary preparations now to receive guests.

“We have to remain optimistic but at the same time be realistic in our plans and actions,” Castaldi said.

Source: NST