Cathay planning two hotel brands this year

LIVING IN STYLE::The hotel firm is planning new hotels this year, as well as international partnerships, which could boost the group’s earnings and provide local jobs

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jan 08, 2013 - Page 13

Cathay Hospitality Management Co (國泰商旅), created last spring by Cathay Real Estate Development Co (國泰建設) to cash in on the nation’s growing tourism industry, plans to open three hotels under two brands this year.

With a wealthy parent company, an affiliate of Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), the group aims to be a leading player with five hotels in three years, in partnership with international brands, Cathay Hospitality general manager Phyllis Chuang (莊琬華) said.

The firm’s ambition may help boost the financial conglomerate’s overall earnings as its life insurance subsidiary, Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽), owns more than 200 retail and office buildings in prime locations nationwide and has been aggressively increasing real-estate investments.

The insurer is the landlord of the two buildings that Cathay Hospitality is turning into mid-priced hotels under the Hotel Cozzi (和逸) brand on Taipei’s Minsheng E Rd and Zhongxiao E Rd, Chuang said.

The Minsheng hotel is slated to open in July and the Zhongxiao hotel in September, targeting business travelers with a room budget of NT$5,000 (US$172) per night, compared to NT$8,000 to NT$9,000 for upper-end rooms, Chuang said.

Both hotels will take pride in their convenient locations as the Mingsheng hotel is in the vicinity of Taipei International Airport (Songshan) and the Zhongxiao hotel is next to the Shandao Temple (捷運善導寺) MRT station, Chuang said.

All Cozzi hotels devote an entire floor to amenities such as fitness rooms, media rooms and lounge bars allowing guests to tend to business and relax during their stay, Chuang said.

The Minsheng hotel will have 135 guest rooms and the Zhongxiao hotel will offer 120 guest rooms.

In line with its expansion plans, Cathay Hospitality will hire 100 to 200 more workers in the first half of the year, from its current payroll of more than 20, company marketing and communications manager Wu Chia-ning (吳佳寧) said.

Staff numbers will increase providing the company launches its boutique brand, Madison Taipei (台北慕軒), by the end of the year, Wu said.

With 124 rooms, Madison Taipei is planned for Taipei’s Dunhua S Rd and aims to emulate The Upper House in Hong Kong, winner of many awards including the best boutique hotel in Asia Pacific, Wu said.

In addition, Cathay Hospitality is in talks with international hotel brands from the US and Europe for potential joint ventures, Wu said.