Friday, December 15, 2006

Casuarina Penang to Close for Upgrading

THE curtains are coming down on the 33-year-old Casuarina Beach Hotel in Penang which will be closed for an upgrading and repositioning exercise from Satur-day. It will be renamed when it reopens.

One of the pioneer beach resorts at Batu Ferringhi, the popular 178-room hotel is expected to reopen only at the end of 2008.

Palmco Hotels Sdn Bhd, which owns the three-star resort, said the company found it urgent and important to improve the property and “with it, move the hotel business into a new era of opportunity.”

It said in a press release yesterday that the company had yet to determine the brand the hotel would take on and was in in the midst of discussions with HPL Hotels & Resorts, a Singapore-based hospitality management company.

HPL currently manages eight hotels and resorts with a total of about 2,400 rooms in the Asia-Pacific region. They are the Concorde Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam, Concorde Inn Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Casa Del Mar in Langkawi, Lakehouse in Cameron Highlands, Rihiveli Beach Resort in the Maldives, and the Hard Rock Hotels in Bali and Pattaya.
On what was going to happen to Casuarina’s 137 employees, Palmco Hotels said it was still in the midst of discussion with the staff union.

David Pittock, 68, who has stayed at the hotel 12 times since it opened in 1973, said he had a lot of good times there.

“The staff are friendly. The hotel has a lovely garden and all its rooms have views of the sea. It’s nice to have breakfast here in the open by the sea,” said Pittock who is from Melbourne, Australia.

Bell captain Jimmy Lim, who are among 14 employees who have worked at Casuarina since 1973, said he felt sad that he had to leave the hotel which holds many memories for him.

“I love this place very much. Most of the staff are friendly and co-operative. We are like family,” said Lim who is in his 50s.

Storekeeper S. Mahalingam, who has been with the hotel since 1974, said it was fun working at Casuarina due to its friendly environment and good management.

“I hope the hotel will take us back when it reopens,” he said.

Bellman Ajis Sulaiman, 47, said although he was sad that Casuarina was closing, he was glad that the hotel would undergo a renewal as a different brand when it reopens.

“I will miss meeting all the return guests. We know them like our own family,” said Ajis who has worked at the hotel for 24 years.

Source : STAR
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