Mon, May 19, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Mandarin Oriental launches in Taiwan

UPSCALE PRICE:The Hong Kong-based luxury hotel operator is marketing its new venue as the most expensive hotel in Taiwan, with a standard rate of NT$16,500 per night

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, a Hong Kong-based luxury hotel operator, yesterday launched its first hotel in Taiwan, with the goal of having the highest average room rates in the country within the first year of operation by targeting Asian tourists.

The new hotel took eight years to construct and is located on the former site of the Mandarina Crown Hotel (中泰賓館) on Dunhua N Road adjacent to the Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport).

The Mandarin Oriental Taipei is the newest outlet opened by the hotel chain and offers 256 guest rooms and 47 suites, with an advertised price for a standard room at NT$16,500 (US$550) per night, possibly making it Taiwan’s most expensive and upscale hotel.

“We expect the average rate of room occupancy to reach 70 percent to 80 percent in the first year of operation,” Lin Ming-chun (林命群), owner of the land housing the hotel and chairman of the original Mandarina Crown, told reporters after the new hotel’s opening ceremony.

Lin said he expects Chinese tourists to be the major customers, predicting they will account for more than 50 percent of its total clients.

The Japanese are forecast to come next, making up of 20 percent of overall customers, but clients from Southeast Asia are predicted to hold the strongest growth potential in the long run, Lin said.

However, Lin declined to comment on the alleged recent disputes about Mandarin Oriental Taipei’s ownership reported by the Chinese-language weekly Business Today (今周刊) last week.

The weekly reported that billionaire Wang Kong-wei (王公威) has replaced Lin as the hotel’s largest shareholder, after he purchased a more than a 50 percent stake in Kai Tai Fung International Co Ltd (開泰豐國際), which owns the building and facilities.

Based on information provided by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Wang is now the new chairman of Kai Tai.

However, Lin said that he still owns the land on which the Mandarin Oriental Taipei was built, a report by the Chinese-language Commercial Times said.

That indicates that he still holds a controlling stake in the hotel.

Based on the ministry’s information, Lin holds a 49 percent share in Kai Tai.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said at yesterday’s launch that he hopes Mandarin Oriental Taipei will attract more international travelers to the city.

UBS Securities said the opening will not affect high-end accommodation demand and supply in the hotel sector much, as the 303-room hotel represented only a 7 percent increase in supply of Taipei’s five-star hotels.

That is lower than the annual expansion in tourist arrivals of 10 percent recorded this year, according to UBS.

In addition, the Mandarin Oriental Taipei’s room rate will be significantly higher than most luxury hotels’ in the city, so the risk of price competition is low, the brokerage house said in its most recent research report.

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