The FINANCIAL — By 2011 Tbilisi will have five more hotels run by world-famous hotel operators. Radisson, Intercontinental, Kempinski, Holiday Inn and Hyatt will have opened their doors to guests by then.
194-room franchised Holiday Inn Tbilisi owned by Adjara & Ltd is scheduled to open in March 2010 according to information provided by Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG).
Intercontinental Hotel Group has two market segments for Holiday Inn hotel brands. The first is Midscale (full service) Holiday Inn which has comparatively lower room rates than upscale. The second is Midscale (limited service) in EMEA and Asia Pacific. It includes reduced food and beverage, bar and meeting facilities but similar quality room product to full service midscale. Room rates are broadly comparable with midscale (full service). Full service and limited service hotels are predominantly for domestic guests, both for business and leisure.
According to Giorgi Seturidze, Director of Coordination Centre of International Investments(CCII), the company responsible for operations, construction works of Kempinski Hotel are supposed to be finished by 2011.
“Against the background of the financial crisis there is a significant decrease of construction rates on the construction market that might instigate reduction of expenses without quality change. Construction works are supposed to be finished by 2011. About USD 30 million has already been spent. The total amount of investments might reach USD 120-140 million. Approximately 400 personnel will be hired for the construction works,” Seturidze told The FINANCIAL.
“Total construction area will be near 70,000 m2 including luxurious bedrooms and suites, several meeting rooms, ballrooms, business centres, restaurants, cafes, swimming pools, a shopping and entertainment area and a lot of surprises.”
“I do hope that by 2011 several high-class hotels will have finished being constructed in Tbilisi and I’m sure that Kempinski Hotel will be competitive among them. Generally, Kempinski is a 5-star hotel. Kempinski Tbilisi will be a 5-star deluxe hotel that will categorize it as a high-class luxurious hotel,” Seturidze continues.
Radisson to Open Mid Summer
Project cost USD 100,000,000. Interview with Atakan Turhan, General Manager of Radisson SAS Iveria Hotel
“We are opening in midsummer. Actually the construction process will finish before that but we’ll need some additional time to prepare. The total amount of investments in the project is USD 100 million. The construction team is around 800 people, working 8-9 hours a day.”
“Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts, part of the Rezidor Hotel Group, currently operates over 155 hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with another 47 projects under development. Radisson SAS is a first class full service hotel brand with key differentiators such as the 100% Guest Satisfaction Guarantee and the Yes I Can! spirit of service.”
“Yes I Can spirit means 100% guest satisfaction, one touch service, 3-hour Express laundry, super breakfast and many other things that guests will find at Radisson.”
The Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the world. Its current portfolio consists of 274 hotels in operation and under development in 47 countries encompassing nearly 55,000 rooms. Rezidor manages selected Carlson brands in Europe, the Middle East and Africa: Radisson, Park Inn, Regent and Country Inn.
Q. What facilities will be available to guests at the Radisson?
A. Our target is to have hotels in capital cities like Tbilisi. This product has different services which entail business and leisure together. The Radisson hotel in Tbilisi will have 19 floors, 249 rooms, 10 meeting rooms, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, a business centre, one spa, casino and one ballroom which will be meeting, banquet & wedding oriented.
Designed to exceed expectations our 520 sq. meter conference facilities will include a pre-function and circulation area, an elegant 380 sq. meter ballroom and eight meeting rooms. Ideal for banquets, weddings and other special events, the ballroom will be divisible into three smaller rooms depending upon client’s needs. We will also offer a fully-equipped business centre with administrative services.
Guests will have the biggest number of outlets to choose from, compared with other hotels in Tbilisi. The bar on the 19th floor is going to be the highest point bar in Tbilisi. The 3,100 sq. meter Radisson Casino presents casino entertainment with the usual range of table games, slot machines and two bars. The restaurant will comfortably seat 158 diners and in the summer, opens an outdoor dining section which can seat an additional 146 people and will serve delicious grilled dishes.
The hotel will offer an exclusive 1,600 sq. meter spa and fitness centre with an indoor pool and a juice bar. Spread over two top floors and including a rooftop terrace, the spa and fitness centre. This will be the first spa of such quality service. It will be the biggest spa in Georgia. Currently we are negotiating with international spa brands.
This 340 sq. meter ballroom will be one of the biggest on the market. Today there is a demand for wedding ballrooms of such sizes and I think it is going to have high occupancy. It will have a 6 meter high ceiling. There is space for 300 people and 400 people in theatre style.
Q. Who will be employed in the Radisson and what trainings will they undergo?
A. The total number of people employed in the hotel will be 250 people. Our staff members will mostly be locals. They are going to attend training programmes designed specially for Radisson hotel chains.
It will take some time, but the goal is to keep the quality of service the same as in other Radisson hotel chains round the world. The period of trainings differs from 2 to 6 months depending on the positions.
Q. What will the average prices for different facilities at the Radisson be?
A. As for the prices we are still working on them so I would say it’s too early to talk about it. Certainly after the Radisson and other projects come into business competition in the sphere will rise. Higher competition means better service, but the prices are very dependent on the economic situation in Georgia. Despite the economic crisis I think that occupancy will be high at our hotel because of the brand name and the services that I’ve already mentioned.
The main advantage of Radisson and treasure of the building will be the beautiful views of Tbilisi that are available from all of the rooms. The hotel is within walking distance of the metro station and just a 25-minute drive from Tbilisi International Airport.
Intercontinental to Opens in the Second Term of 2010
Project cost USD 70,000,000. Interview with Marcel Benhamou, General Director of Georgian Properties LLC.
Marcel Benhamou is a member of the French Business Council in Georgia. He is also one of the founders of THED International. THED handles entire project development process for Intercontinental. THED has realized the following projects: Marriot Champs-Elysees in Paris, Hyatt-Roissy, Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice, Marriot Santiago in Chile, Holiday Inn in Paris and many others.
Q. When is Intercontinental going to open in Tbilisi? Has the financial crisis provoked a postponement in the construction works?
A. The Intercontinental Hotel in Tbilisi is going to open in the second term of 2010. The current financial crisis that is prevalent in both foreign and the local market has had a negative impact, but this doesn’t mean that current projects should be postponed.
Two years ago we decided to open a 5 Star, luxury hotel for business travellers. Intercontinental was chosen as it’s best for the location, our goals and standards. The service quality at Intercontinental ought to exceed the expectations of our clients.
The building itself is brilliant. We fell in love with it and after renovating it’s going to be fantastic. There will be no major changes in the building, just the renovation of the facade.
Q. Where will the hotel be situated?
A. Intercontinental is set in a historic building in the city centre, formerly the Ministry of Agriculture built in 1937.
The hotel includes 8 floors with 169 rooms, 7 big and small conference rooms, one business centre, a very nice spa, outdoor-indoor pool, casino with over 2,000 sq. meter area.
The VIP lounge is going to be on the 7th floor. It has a 360 degree view around the building. The business centre will be open 24 hours a day and will include all of the needed facilities for business people. Intercontinental will have a 160 sq. meter President’s duplex suite. The tower is going to be one of the special sights of the building.
Q. How much is going to be spent on the whole project?
A. The total cost of the project is around USD 70 million. It’s going to be a 5 star hotel with service designed especially for high class visitors. You want to have a real breakfast early in the morning, due to the airlines timetable, no problem- you’ll get served. Our service is designed so that our staff can handle even the most capricious visitors.
Q. How many people are currently engaged in the building process and how many will be employed in the future?
A. There are will be 300 people working on the construction and 200 will be employed as the staff members of Intercontinental.
The quality of service at hotels in Georgia definitely needs improvement. For this reason we are also planning to open a hotel training school before Intercontinental opens. There, people will learn how to work more on hospitality issues. This school is going to teach to approach every guest individually and let them feel they are an inseparable part of the service.
Q. How will Tbilisi Intercontinental be different from other Intercontinental hotels in Europe?
A. InterContinental’s approach is different from its competitors. Some hotel brands still view luxury as something physical such as a newly designed bed or shower. Some believe luxury is about not having to lift a finger while being indulged or pampered. We believe, while superior understated service and outstanding facilities are a given to be a contender in the market, they do not tap into the emotional drivers of the consumers. This is why they travel in the first place and what they want to bring back with them.
Intercontinental offers services and amenities specifically designed for the international business travellers. This includes maintaining the delicate balance of luxury expectations with authentic local experiences that enhance the leisure stay as well. Located in more than 60 countries Intercontinental has 136 hotels worldwide.
We have a contract with Intercontinental entailing that the Tbilisi hotel will be of the same standards as in Toronto, Vienna and other countries. At the same time we’ll have other Intercontinental hotels opening in Kiev, Moscow and Yerevan.
In general I think that by 2010 the competition among famous hotel brands in Tbilisi will eventually raise the quality and decrease the prices. Today the occupancy at 4-5 star hotels in Tbilisi is 80% on average. The competition should rise and will rise, in order to have appropriate standards and level of quality service.
According to statistics of the Department of Tourism and Resources, in 2007 the number of tourists visiting Georgia was 1,300,000. Before the events in August Georgia had hosted 375,875 tourists.
Written By Levan Lomtadze