Wednesday, June 26

Rebranding of a top hotel

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HOLIDAY Inn Kuching (now Grand Margherita Hotel) was established in 1976.

THE NEW LOOK: Grand Margherita Hotel’s exterior.

Under the umbrella of Holiday Inn chain, the hotel started with just 149 rooms, two banquet halls, a fine dining restaurant, a Chinese Restaurant, a bar and a coffeehouse.

The hotel grew by leaps and bounds and by 2011, had added a new wing – Sadong Wing – with a total of 288 rooms. The original hotel building is known as the Serapi Wing.

The hotel housed the state’s first discotheque – Bionic Disco – which was later turned into a banquet room. In the latter years, the Aquarius Club was added as the state’s first underground entertainment outlet.

SPLASH OF COLORS: The reception lobby area is enlivened with a splash of vibrant colours breaking the monotony of the neutral shade.

Going with the trend, the club was renovated and became the ‘happening place’ in the 80’s with the Tribes Music Restaurant and Bar which saw more than its share of celebrities and musicians.

Among those who preformed there were local artists in the likes of Datuk Sharifah Aini, KRU, Amy Search and Poetic Ammo and from the international front, Jordan Hill, Guy Sebastian, Human Nature and Plus One.

Its expansion included the requisition of the two beach resorts – Damai Beach and Damai Lagoon, now known as Damai Puri – and a city hotel, the former Crowne Plaza Riverside Majestic Kuching, now known as Riverside Majestic Hotel.

Exotic was the main theme of the hotel’s decor with rattan, timbered structures of native designs and wood being the dominant  features mirroring the country’s rich diversity of culture and heritage.In 2009, the 30-year-old hotel underwent rebranding and was renamed Grand Margherita Hotel.

Explained the hotel’s general manager Arthur Yeap: “The renovation was part of the hotel’s rebranding plan to ensure quality facilities.”

A new name, a new image and a new beginning – it was time for a change. “It also marked the hotel’s commitment to improving its products and services to be on par with international standards to ensure it continues to offer guests the definitive hotel stay,” he said.

The first phase of renovation was carried out in 2009 involving the refurbishment of the main reception lobby area, business center, and Rajang Lobby Lounge. The second phrase started in late 2009, on the Orchid Garden Coffee House, the Serapi Wing ground floor wash-rooms and elevators of the Sadong Wing.

It is a total makeover for the 30-year-old hotel. The old décor of dark timbered structures and native designs were replaced with modern and sassy designs. The lobby is now vast and spacious and artistically minilistic is the theme that dominates the hotel’s interior.

Enhanced by tastefully furnishings, the décor made use of bold colours that added life to the otherwise neutral coloured lobby. The business centre is a work of art of its own – it includes a conference room and Internet station for guests’ convenience.

A favourite meeting place for many, the hotel’s Orchid Garden Coffee House has been totally revamped. The 150-seat venue allows diners to dine in a comfortable yet trendy ambience.

Strategically located at the centre of the coffeehouse, the expanded kitchen dominates the scene, giving patrons a glimpse of live culinary action, thus creating an interactive restaurant experience.

All chic in bold hues of red and black, the hotel’s Rajang Lobby Lounge will be a welcome change for regulars.  Aside from the overall new look, the additions included the glass-walled cellar, featuring a fine wine selection, and a stage tucked at the far end for live band performances.

The Sadong Meeting Room is now enlarged and offers more flexibility to cater to various small to medium-sized functions.  Grand Margherita is the only hotel located on the bank of the Sarawak River, thus providing the best view of the idyllic river.

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls and doors are used extensively throughout the Lobby, Orchid Garden Coffee House and Rajang Lobby Lounge allowing guests the pleasure of the scenic scene. This year saw the upgradatation of the Serapi Wing.

A total of 139 rooms, including eight Executive Studio rooms, have been renovated. Furnished with contempo-rary and sleek design to give a modern and alluring look, the rooms offer more than comfort and a good night sleep with complimentary high speed Internet for guests’ convenience. The Executive Floor is not left out in the upgrading. The Executive Club went through an image change, trading its old for a sassy and modern outlook.

Services available remain the same; personal attention by the club services officer, direct check in and out, high Internet access is also available, complimentary breakfast at the Coffeehouse and coffee-tea and complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres & cocktails, all on the house at the Club.

Other improvements included new equipment for the hotel’s Cardio Exercise Room, new beds and LCD TVs in all guestrooms. The Borneo Odyssey Spa that features traditional variations of spa services located at the former Tribes Music Restaurant wraps up the excellent service of the hotel by giving its guest the ultimate treatment.

Something never change as they say and in this respect, it’s the excellent hospitality and service of Grand Margherita Hotel.

Known for its high standard of hospitality since 1976, the hotel’s service remains the same with or without the rebranding.