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Menara ING to be converted into Malaysia's first Holiday Inn Express

Malaysia’s first Holiday Inn Express hotel is expected to open its doors by early 2017, making it the latest hotel brand in the country.

According to a source, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is said to be in talks with Goldstone Kuala Lumpur Sdn Bhd (Goldstone), who is the new owner of Menara ING at No. 84, Jalan Raja Chulan.

Menara ING is currently in the process of being converted into a hotel building. The number of hotel rooms have not been finalised. Menara ING is an established, freehold office building located on Jalan Raja Chulan, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle business district.

Goldstone had earlier purchased a majority of commercial space in the property from Tower Real Estate Investment Trust (Tower REIT) for a cash consideration of RM132,340,725.

On 26 March 2015, the manager of the REIT, announced to Bursa Malaysia that the deal has been completed.

Goldstone's purchase represents ownership in 83% of entire development office space that was owned by Tower REIT. It has a net lettable area of 160,413 sq ft comprising of 19 office parcels and a 100% ownership in the total of 190 car park bays located at 2 levels of basement.

For that reason, some office space that Goldstone had not acquired at Menara ING's annexed block (3 and a half floors) will be retained for existing office tenants.

Menara ING has been largely vacant following the expiry of tenancy by its anchor tenant AIA Berhad. This comes after ING's Malaysian business, ING Insurance Berhad, was sold to AIA Group Ltd in 2013. Subsequently, AIA has consolidated the merged operations out of Menara ING.

According to the same source, Goldstone is a company linked to Datuk Dr Tang Yong Chew, who is also developing Kuala Lumpur's first Ibis Hotel at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng via Winbond Properties Sdn Bhd. The Accor Hotel brand, Ibis, not to be mistaken with sister brand Ibis Styles, will have 678 rooms hence becoming the largest in Asia.

Its parent company Winbond Group is expanding the Ibis chain in Melaka and Penang and has future plans to redevelop Wisma Longrich at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng.

The future Holiday Inn Express hotel is expected to offer complimentary express breakfast, free WiFi and facilities such as self-service business centres and gym, as well as the Holiday Inn Express’ mainstay that is the ‘Great Room’ which fuses a lounge and a bar.

Staying true to the brand, each room would have a flat-screen cable TV, iPod dock, ergonomic work station and tea/coffee maker. The bathroom would include a shower and hairdryer.

Back in January 2012, it was reported that IHG had inked a deal with Singapore-based RB Capital to manage a 200-room Holiday Inn Express Bukit Bintang located on Jalan Sultan Ismail. Under that deal, the hotel would be built by RB Capital’s subsidiary Amsterling Hotels Sdn Bhd.

However, the proposed 25-storey hotel plan was later called off for unknown reason.

RB Capital's hotel arm completed last year the development of Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay, a 442-room hotel that is accreditated with BCA Green Mark Platinum rating.

It is Southeast Asia's largest Holiday Inn Express hotel and this follows the successful launch of Holiday Inn Express Singapore Orchard Road in July 2013.

Holiday Inn Express is one of the fastest growing hotel brands its its segment. As of 31 December 2014, the brand operates 2,365 hotels, 229,110 hotel rooms and more than 522 hotels in the pipeline around the world. The Asia, Middle East and Africa division operates 24 hotels and 39 more hotels are in the pipeline.

In Malaysia, IHG operates the InterContinental Hotel at Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur; Holiday Inn in Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie and Melaka; and a Holiday Inn Resort in Penang. IHG had once operated the Crowne Plaza Mutiara Kuala Lumpur until it closed in January 2013 for demolishment and redevelopment.

IHG is also said to be bringing its boutique hotel brand, Hotel Indigo, into Kuala Lumpur soon.

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