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|August 21st, 2008, 03:44 PM||#1|
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Miramar Hotel Renovations
Miramar looks to mainland after renaming flagship hotel
21 August 2008
South China Morning Post
Miramar Hotel and Investment has renamed its trophy hotel asset in Tsim Sha Tsui "The Mira" as the final part of an almost HK$400 million overhaul of the 51-year-old property.
Shaking off an old-fashioned image, the Mira would set the stage for the group's development in Beijing and Shanghai and the refurbishment of related shopping centre and office properties in Hong Kong, said executive director Peter Yu Tat-kong.
Renovations include a new facade and top-floor ballroom, redesigned restaurants and 493 more spacious guest rooms and suites.
The overhaul would lift the hotel's average room charge by at least 40 per cent to a minimum of HK$2,000 per night, Mr Yu said.
Room rates are comparable to those of quirky but luxurious rival W Hotel, which opened recently above Kowloon Station, but still about half of the almost HK$4,000 some five-star hotels in Central are charging.
"We have been on Nathan Road for decades. The Mira reflects a contemporary, dynamic and lively image," Mr Yu said yesterday. "The Mira will set the stage for mainland development and renovations of our commercial and retail portfolio."
He said the Miramar group was in advanced negotiations to invest in and manage hotel properties in Beijing and Shanghai, aiming to set up a portfolio under the banner of the Mira.
"Our debt ratio is so low that our balance sheet can be leveraged on substantially for our mainland expansion," Mr Yu said.
The group's net debt-equity ratio stood at 7.9 per cent at the end of March.
In Hong Kong, office block Miramar Tower and the Miramar shopping centre adjacent to the Mira would embark on a large-scale facelift at the end of this year to enhance asset value, Mr Yu said.
Some analysts said that although competition among top-end tourist lodgings was heating up in Tsim Sha Tsui and the nearby West Kowloon waterfront, revenue per available room was expected to grow 8 per cent this year.
But uncertainty regarding the global travel market, in particular the corporate segment, had intensified on the back of a looming recession in the United States and an economic slowdown in Europe, they added.
Miramar Hotel shares advanced 1.39 per cent to close at HK$10.18 yesterday.