Recession, what recession?
Despite having joined the negative growth club, Singapore expects to see about 10 new hotels open next year, and collectively, they will have some 5,100 rooms.
The new players represent various backgrounds. Among them are the government-backed Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, three-star Ibis Hotel of the giant French Accor Group, mid-range Park Hotel Clarke Quay, five-star Capella Hotel and home-grown Santa Grand.
Puneet Dhawan, general manager of the 500-room Ibis Hotel, said: “We are still optimistic because people are coming to Singapore. We just have to offer them more bang for their buck.”
Though the Capella Hotel on Sentosa plans to charge rates between S$600 (US$398) and S$800 (US$531), a hotel spokesperson shared Puneet’s optimism, saying the continued demand for luxury accommodation would allow them a share of the market.
Still, hotel analysts predict that 2009 will be a tough period, with occupancies likely to drop between 70 and 75 percent and room rates remaining flat.