Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Great Duke hotel shuts after 23 years, economic reasons cited

Great Duke hotel shuts after 23 years, economic reasons cited

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Opened in 1996 as the InterContinental, the hotel played a key role in welcoming regional leaders to Cambodia in 2002, when the Kingdom hosted the Asean summit. Heng Chivoan

Great Duke hotel shuts after 23 years, economic reasons cited

The five-star Great Duke Phnom Penh hotel closed its doors on Tuesday after 23 years, with owner Regency Company Limited citing “economic reasons”.

Opened in 1996 as the InterContinental, the hotel played a key role in welcoming regional leaders to Cambodia in 2002, when the Kingdom hosted the Asean summit.

It was renamed The Great Duke in early 2018, with Regency Company Limited as owner.

An announcement signed on December 20 and issued on Monday informed of the closure of the five-star hotel after more than two decades.

“For economic reasons, we regret to inform that the hotel will close, with effect as of December 31, 2019,” the announcement said.

Touch Kosal, the president of Tourism Workers Union of the Great Duke Phnom Penh Hotel, said that while staff learned the news on December 20, they were yet to receive any payment. The company had promised to make all payments according to the law, he added.

Great Duke staff were claiming seniority payments, compensation, compensation of immediate notice, their last salary for December, holiday payments and seniority payments for past six months, Kosal said.

The Great Duke had 156 employees, he added.

According to the announcement, the owner of the hotel has appointed a lawyer from law firm HBS to handle the process of closure, including consideration of the benefits of all employees in accordance with the law.

Kang Chann Savady, former room reservation staff at The Great Duke Hotel, said the number of guests had declined steadily after rebranding.

“Under the former name, daily occupancy may have been between 30 and 40 per cent. After rebranding, it dropped dramatically, with sometimes only five rooms occupied,” Chann Savady said.

The Great Duke Hotel had 346 rooms, with prices ranging from $350 to more than $4,000 per night, Chann Savady added.

Chhay Sivlin, the president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), told The Post on Tuesday that the closure of the hotel was not good news for the Kingdom’s tourism sector.

“The closure of such five-star hotels always has a negative impact on tourism. I’m really sorry that such a big hotel has closed,” Sivlin said.

Phnom Penh is currently in need of more five-star hotels, she added.

President of the Cambodia Hotel Association Chenda Clais declined to comment.

Last week, the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) approved a more than $1.1 billion hotel project in Phnom Penh. Chinese-owned BOCC Development Co Ltd has invested in the project, which comprises a five-star hotel.

“The drop in the number of guests may be the main reason behind the closure of the Great Duke Phnom Penh,” said Hong Vanak, a researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

However, the owner may have other plans for the site, he added.

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