Sabah is short of high quality hotel rooms and award winning Hotel Grandis has big plans to fill the vacuum. Recent winner of the Blue Ribbon Award, Kota Kinabalu-based Hotel Grandis has on its drawing board a 5-star resort, and at least two hotels of 3 and 5-star range.
Speaking at the hotel's Appreciation Night here recently, its General Manager, Michael Tan, said that the multi billion ringgit investment will be three times bigger than the existing hotel in downtown Kota Kinabalu with 188 rooms. But he is not letting the cat out of the bag yet in terms of location, except hinting that "beautiful sunsetâ€ is a promise.
"Let it be a surprise" he teased.
Michael revealed that the plan to grow the Grandis brand has been carefully mapped out for years, and always responding to prevailing economic conditions, one of which being the cry for more quality hotel rooms in Kota Kinabalu City to answer to the steep demand brought by the growth in the tourism industry and visitor arrivals breached the 3 million mark.
"Grandis was established in 2015 and we feel now is the time to take another big step.â€
Michael, who has been with Grandis since its opening, added that through the new development they will be introducing for the very first time in Kota Kinabalu, Airbnb type of development.
"The initiative is for Grandis to become one of the popular local brands and strive as one of the contributors in ensuring the tourism industry will continue to grow and prosper in Sabah.â€
The Grandis in the near future will fulfil the state government call to provide more rooms to cater to the increasing demand especially from Chinese and Korean tourists.
Recently, the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that the State needs more four- and five-star hotels which are preferred by tourist from mainland China, South Korea and Hong Kong. Hoteliers and tour operators have persistently complained of room shortage during peak seasons.
China is an exciting proposition to the likes of Michael. The number of tourist arrivals from China and Hong Kong alone has increased by 85.2 per cent from 110,236 to 204,129 from January to July this year compared to the same period last year.
But Michael looks a little further, or wider. He thinks that providing adequate rooms is not enough unless the workers are adequately trained in order for the quality of Sabah tourism to be enhanced.
"We also need to enhance the skills and train our staffs" he stressed, adding that Grandis is a prime example of experiencing the flip side of having a 100 per cent Sabahan team. "They are so local that their need for an upgrade in communication skills became apparent.â€
"Communication is important. Thus, we sent them to English, Mandarin and Korea short classes. We also urged them to master information technology by providing them free courses. They will attend classes after their working hours, according to their flexibility.
"Grandis will continue to serve guests better and add on more value such as upgrading the room amenities and food menu.â€
Its effort in making the hotel â€˜feel like home' was rewarded recently when it was awarded â€˜Best Family Hotel' for 2017 by Ctrip with a guest score of 4.7 out of 5 and 97 per cent guest recommendation rate. Michael himself received the award on behalf of Grandis Hotels and Resorts.
Ctrip is a leading online travel platform in China, with more than 90 million registered members in addition to 5,000 member hotels available domestically and overseas. It was founded in 1999 with its headquarters in Shanghai.
This year, Ctrip invited 12 Malaysian hotel operators to attend the 2nd Ctrip Global Hotel Partners Summit. Four of these hotel operators were from Sabah, and the others were from Penang, Langkawi, Johor and Kuala Lumpur.
"We are thankful to the China travellers who recognised Hotel Grandis as their preferred hotel. We also appreciate our associates for their continuous support in providing distinctive service to our guests" Michael said.
Grandis is named after an endemic orchid found on Mount Kinabalu, Ascidieria Grandis.
The Hotel Grandis offers its guests and residences many services including concierges, a shopping mall, all-day-dining at the Rosea Cafe, as well as a meeting room and a conference room.
It also has Sky Blu Bar - the first rooftop bar in Kota Kinabalu. Its offer a breath-taking panorama of the city, it is a popular choice amongst locals and tourists alike with wide range of dishes and thirst quenchers alike, there is something to please every palate.
For a stunning finishing touch, opt for a room that offers a spectacular view of the glittering South China Sea, Kota Kinabalu's breathtaking sunsets, and the picturesque Tunku Abdul Rahman Park islands.
All of their rooms are beautifully designed in a contemporary style with traditional element in decorations and each room were equipped with â€˜sarong' for guest's usage.
Through the plan, effort and achievement, Michael hopes that the New Year will be a new challenge for Grandis and its manpower.
"Setting a new standard in hospitality style and service, Hotel Grandis are more than just a hotel; it is our home, source of livelihood.â€