Undeterred by lawlessness, crime and terrorism in the city, Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts is going to invest up to $30 million in the next few years to renovate its Karachi property.
The 407-room building located in the city’s pricey business district was known as Sheraton Hotel as recently as January 1. But Arabian Sea Enterprises (ASE), a Kuwait-based company that owns the building, decided not to renew its contract with Starwood Hotel and Resorts Worldwide, which is an American firm that manages Sheraton hotels globally.
Subsequently, ASE signed a deal with Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, an international hotel chain based in Switzerland, which is set to spend well over Rs3.1 billion in the next few years to renovate the structure.
The announcement was made at a press conference addressed by Andreas Matmüller, who serves as chief operating officer for the Middle East and Asia operations of Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, along with ASE CEO Sikander Mahmood and Mirza Mansoor Ahmad, the hotel’s general manager.
“We understand the 32-year legacy of this hotel. The renovation plan will usher in a new and exciting phase of the hotel and add value to the service and product quality while preserving the soul of the property,” said Matmüller.
“These are exciting times for Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts and we look forward to building on our reputation of quality, reliability and care with a personal touch in Pakistan,” he noted, adding the company plans to set up new hotels in other Pakistani cities, including Lahore, in the future.
The renovation of the property will be undertaken in phases, he said, with the first phase to start immediately. This includes renovation of the ground floor, entry points, restaurants and public areas. However, the hotel will not be closed for renovation at any point in time, he said.
The several stages of the refurbishment will overlap over the next two years and cover almost 100% of the hotel, thus giving it a new look. “The renovation of the hotel’s suites and rooms, mezzanine level restaurants, meeting rooms, the ballroom, the makeover of the building facade and landscaping are part of the project,” he said.
Replying to a question, the hotel’s general manager said there have been no layoffs since the management change one month ago. “We’re continuing with the same team and the turnover has been very, very low,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2014.