James Koh’s Worldwide Premium Motels Gets Accor Boost

October 18, 2019 9:00 AM SGTSINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) – Franchise settlement with international logo Accor sees the rebranding of 15 hotels in his privately-held Singapore portfolio.

Koh: That’s why Accor saw us as a really perfect suit for midscale and economic system brands. We are enjoying over 90% occupancy at most of our hotels (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Staff at James Koh’s lodges recognise their “Boss” has arrived as soon as they see his darkish gray and silver Rolls Royce Ghost pull up and park on the facet of the constructing. Koh is not chauffeur-pushed in his Rolls Royce as one would anticipate. After all, he’s a billionaire hotelier and belongings magnate who’s consistently ranked amongst Singapore’s richest.

“I don’t understand why, however I prefer to pressure myself,” says the 56-yr-vintage chairman of the privatised Global Premium Hotels Ltd (GPH), as well as government chairman and CEO of indexed

Most humans can’t depart home with out their cellular smartphone in recent times. For Koh, who incorporates a Nokia turn smartphone (the non-telephone version), it’s miles his pocket calculator that he can’t do without, he says. It is a useful tool, and he demonstrates simply how: First, it suits flawlessly into his blouse pocket; and he simply wishes to whip it out, punch in a few numbers, do some short calculations and inside minutes, pronounce whether or not a property or a domain for sale is a “sure” or a “no” for him.

ibis price range Crystal, considered one of thirteen homes within the Global Premium Hotels portfolio that has been rebranded ibis finances (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

A current deal that possibly took longer than a sure-or-no reaction turned into a franchise settlement between Koh’s GPH and Accor. As part of the deal, thirteen Fragrance resorts in GPH’s portfolio might be rebranded ibis budget, consistent with an announcement by way of Accor on Oct 7. It additionally marks the debut of Accor’s ibis budget emblem in Singapore.REBRANDING, REFURBISHMENTS

Six of the 13 Fragrance motels which are rebranded ibis budget are placed in Geylang. As a part of the rebranding exercising, the thirteen GPH residences are being refurbished to be in line with Accor’s emblem standards for such resorts. Refurbishment works at 9 of the thirteen inns have already been finished as a part of the first section.

The 2d section of the franchise agreement with Accor includes the rebranding ofof GPH’s Parc Sovereign Hotels: the 270- room Parc Sovereign Hotel – Tyrwhitt, the biggest in GPH’s portfolio, could be rebranded a Mercure lodge; and the 172-room Parc Sovereign Hotel – Albert Street, can be rebranded ibis Styles. The rebranding and refurbishment works will begin toward the cease of this yr and is scheduled for completion through mid-2020. Koh estimates the refurbishment expenses for all 15 accommodations to be within the location of $15 million. The 15 inns below the franchise agreement have a total of 1,621 rooms. Their addition will make Accor the most important lodge operator in Singapore with total inventory of 7,625 rooms throughout 30 hotels: 3,357 in the luxury and premium space; 1,840 rooms in the midscale section; and every other 2,428 rooms inside the economy range.

One of the refurbished rooms at the 74-unit ibis budget Imperial positioned on Penhas Road (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)‘GEYLANG – VERY CLEAN NOW’

Prior to the deal, the body of workers from Accor got here to look into the inns beneath GPH, together with those in Geylang. They were inspired by means of how smooth and well-maintained the residences were, relates Koh. “They came returned and informed me, ‘Even your dustbin area is so easy.’”

With the rebranding, Koh has also given the exteriors of the lodges a sparkling coat of yellow paint. That is his trademark color for all the Fragrance motels – due to the fact it’s far “wang wang” – very vibrant, very auspicious color, he says in Mandarin.

According to Ko Lee Meng, deputy chairman and CEO of GPH, who’s additionally Koh’s sister, Geylang has lost much of its notoriety and the stigma attached to being Singapore’s principal crimson-light district. “Compared to 10-15 years in the past, Geylang may be very smooth now,” she says.

The ibis finances Crystal is placed alongside Lorong 18, which was once-upon-a-time the more infamous streets in Geylang (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Koh agrees. Even the maximum notorious avenue in Geylang, which Koh says is Lorong 18, has been cleaned up. He factors out where the maximum notorious building as soon as stood on Lorong 18: it’s miles now a vacant web site. Koh says it’ll be redeveloped into a brand new constructing for industrial or institutional use, that’s in step with the modifications in land use for Lorong four to 22 proposed by way of the URA in January 2015.

Geylang is an area Koh is aware of nicely, having constructed the inspiration for his hotel empire there. He ventured into the belongings commercial enterprise while he took over his circle of relatives’s investment business enterprise within the mid-Nineteen Nineties. His first motel was a forty five- room block on Lorong 10 Geylang. He constructed it in 1995 and sold ityears later for greater than double his authentic funding, he reckons.

Even earlier than that first inn became sold, he bought a bigger web site on Lorong 20 Geylang to construct the 168-room Fragrance Hotel – Ruby, which opened in 1998. He has developed almost 30 residential tasks and more than 20 lodges in Geylang over the direction of extra than 25 years. Over time, he has offered a number of his hotels there and currently owns simply six, he provides.

Koh coined the name “Fragrance”, that is the transliteration of its Chinese name, “Flying Dragon”. “So, the Chinese name came first,” he says.

One of the most important rooms most of the accommodations in Geylang is the one at ibis finances Crystal which has a 270-diploma corner view and which has been dubbed “The Orchard Road of Geylang” (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Even although he has advanced so many inns considering the fact that, Koh is aware of off the pinnacle of his head, the precise range of rooms in maximum of his residences. At the 125-room Fragrance Hotel – Crystal, is what is taken into consideration considered one of the biggest resort rooms amongst Koh’s accommodations in Geylang. The room gives a 270-degree town view and Koh has dubbed it, “The Orchard Road of Geylang”.

He to start with named his Fragrance lodges after gems – Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and Crystal – stimulated by his circle of relatives’s jewelry enterprise, that’s now controlled by using more youthful brother, Wee Seng, CEO of Singapore-listed Aspial Corp.

When he ran out of names of gem stones, he switched to naming his Fragrance inns after their places, for example Fragrance Hotel – Selegie, Fragrance Hotel – Balestier, and The Fragrance Hotel – Joo Chiat. Some of the Fragrance resorts in Geylang that now deliver the Ibis budget flag consist of the 126-room Fragrance Hotel – Emerald (renamed ibis finances Emerald); the 129-room Fragrance Hotel – Pearl (ibis budget Pearl); and the 60-room Fragrance Hotel – Sapphire (ibis finances Sapphire).

Across the road from the ibis finances Sapphire on Lorong 10 is an empty plot where Koh intends to construct a brand new 38-room motel, in an effort to be branded ibis finances Ivory. Koh says he expects to open the hotel next yr.

ibis budget Emerald (formerly Fragrance Hotel – Emerald) is one of the early series of accommodations constructed by using James Koh, and named after gem stones (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

With an worldwide emblem like ibis budget, the GPH accommodations beneath the franchise scheme will advantage from being a part of Accor’s international distribution network and reservation system. The most seen distinction is inside the lodge clients, as Accor’s shoppers includes many greater international vacationers. Those who are members of LeClub Accor Hotels can also earn loyalty factors via their remains at the brand new ibis budget lodges in Singapore.

Besides the six Fragrance lodges in Geylang, every other seven Fragrance motels sitting in the GPH portfolio are protected within the franchise settlement with Accor. They are located inside the town fringe, and include the fifty seven-room ibis finances West Coast (previously Fragrance Hotel – Waterfront on Pasir Panjang Road); the 32-room ibis finances Mount Faber (previously Fragrance Hotel – Royal on Telok Blangah Road); the ninety five-room ibis finances Selegie (previously Fragrance Hotel – Selegie); and the a hundred and one-room ibis budget Clarke Quay (formerly Fragrance Hotel – Riverside on Hong Kong Street).

All in, GPH has a portfolio of 23 hotels, worth approximately $1.four billion in advance this year. Out of the 23 motels, 21 sit down on freehold sites, while the oppositeare of ninety nine-year leasehold tenure, namely the ibis budget Clarke Quay (former Fragrance Hotel – Riverside) and the Parc Sovereign Hotel – Albert Street, and can be rebranded ibis Styles.