Malaysian businessman Charles Suresh Morais has joined the ranks of the elite in the hospitality business in the United States.
Morais, whose company owns 14 hotel properties along the East Coast of the US, is acquiring 17 more hotels, making him a major hotelier in the States.
The latest acquisition, with more than 3,200 rooms and assets valued at more than US$150mil (RM510mil), is through the newly-formed entity, Kronos Hotels LLC.
The others include 10 Holiday Inns located in six states – Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
With the purchases, Morais' company will also have 14 restaurants, and he intends to add a Malaysian theme to the restaurants as this is Visit Malaysia 2007.
Morais, who is from Ipoh, said in a telephone interview from Atlanta that the portfolio was being bought from a listed company, and two of the hotels were rated five-star.
“The Crowne Plaza in Cedar Rapids in the only full-service hotel in the city with the largest banquet facility for conventions. Also included in this package is a TGIF restaurant in Lansing, Michigan,” he said.
Besides Morais, the other Malaysians in the group are Sarwir Hansa and Moses Daniel. Brothers Rajesh Mir and Sunil Mir, from India, are the other partners.
Morais said the company would also be buying a hotel in Los Angeles and three boutique hotels in Chicago.
“We are also working on the purchase of a five-star hotel and shopping mall in Jiaozuo, China.
“That transaction will be Kronos' first purchase outside the United States.”
He said they were also trying to buy at least three hotels in Malaysia before the end of the year, targeting Malacca, Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
“We should by the end of the year have 40 hotels and sales in access of a quarter billion dollars (RM862.5mil).”
He said the company was building the Holiday Inn Millennium and Element (Starwood Hotels' new boutique brand) in Atlanta.
Lodgian is one of the largest independent owners and operators of full-service hotels in the United States.
Peggy Berg, president of The Highland Group, an Atlanta-based hospitality-consulting firm told the atlantabusinesschronicle.com that Kronos' growth would make it a member of an elite club in the hospitality industry.
Source : STAR
[tags : malaysiahotelnews hotels malaysia resorts news travel tourism travel vmy2007]