Tourism revenue continues to grow in Sabah, with more visitors arriving on its shores, in search of unique holiday experiences.
While most sectors try to take advantage of the currency flow that foreign tourists bring on their vacations to the state, no one is capitalising on it more than the hotel industry.
Lodging homes and hotels of all sorts have been seen popping up, in and around the city recently, providing more rooms for tourists, and thus complimenting the industry's growth.
But with little concept variation from one hotel to the other - limited often by the location of the establishments - one local company has broken away from the conventional hotel image that line city streets.
The latest player to step into the profit gallery in the rooms market, is Rimaforce Sdn Bhd, with its apartment hotel property, Habiba Suites.
Rimaforce Managing Director, Habiba Abdullah said the company's objective is to capture a share of the rooms market. She is confident the alternative concept of Habiba Suites, would appeal to both domestic and foreign tourists.
"Habiba Suites offer comfortably furnished apartment suites for travelling groups who prefer a quiet, peaceful environment over the busy atmosphere of hotels along the city streets.
"We also have other accommodations such as studio apartments, which smaller groups or families may prefer. It doesn't matter what type of rooms they choose, guests at Habiba Suites are certain to enjoy the view.
"It is the biggest selling point of our hotel," she told Bernama, here.
Situated on the city-facing slope of Signal Hill, guests staying in this British colonial building, can enjoy the panoramic view of Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding South China Sea.
On the other hand, the hotel also offers an adjacent wing that provides a view of the majestic Mount Kinabalu.
Other than offering rooms, the hotel also has a hall that can cater for events for 500 people as well as ample lawn space for private outdoor functions.
"Hotels generate a lot of revenue by providing venue facilities for all kinds of events and Habiba Suites is also looking to tap into this segment.
"We have lots of open space for people to hold outdoor functions or ceremonies like a garden wedding," said Habiba.
Locals, familiar with Signal Hill, will remember the building as old housing quarters for senior government officials. It was built during the colonial days and used as a residence for expatriates.
The building itself hasn't changed much, apart from a new coat of colours. In fact, everything is basically the same as it was, when built more then half a century ago in 1959.
The state holds the title to the land but a 20-year lease contract finalised in 2006 gives Rimaforce exclusive rights to the building.
"Habiba Suites is a product of one of the most successful government commercialisation projects in the State.
"The idea to commercialise the building was actually introduced in 1996 but rejected until 10 years later, when the government finally decided to go with the plan.
"We managed to get the lease and went ahead with our concept for the building," she added.
Minor renovations were made for the 12 suites and 10 studios at a mere splash of RM1.2 million, providing it with an adequate guise, as one of Kota Kinabalu's latest properties in the lucrative rooms market.
Expensive new furniture, bedding and other amenities were fitted into each suite to provide a touch of luxury to its 2,200 square feet of living space.
Marketing efforts to promote the hotel extensively is the only process left now to implement.
Habiba is feeling positive and optimistic about the business, despite a sluggish start to the year.
She is confident the hotel will soon pick up more business and is anticipating this to happen immediately after the official launch scheduled for next month.
"The hotel market here is lucrative and we have a product that is different from the rest.So, I am quite confident we will do well," she declared.
Source : Bernama
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