Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Royal Hotel saga: Raffles signs MoU



Royal Hotel saga: Raffles signs MoU

Royal Hotel saga: Raffles signs MoU

R AFFLES International, the Singapore-based company responsible for the famous hotel, is to restore Phnom Penh's equally historic Royal Hotel. A Memorandum of Understanding for the $25 million project was signed on Sept 20 by Tourism Under Secretary of State Sok Chenda and Richard Helfer, chief executive officer of Raffles International.

The Royal Government, the owners of the hotel, will be hoping for third time lucky with Raffles International after two previous agreements to renovate the Royal - with Thai company Eastern Dragon Group and French-owned Feal - fell through.

Helfer had reassuring words during the signing ceremony at the Cambodiana. "We don't enter into memorandums of agreement unless we intend to carry through the agreement," he said.

Once the lease agreement is signed in October, work will start on the 48-room hotel in the third quarter of next year and will take two and a half years to complete.

Restoration will preserve the nostalgic qualities of the Royal, while the construction of 34 additional, architecturally complementary rooms in the main building, together with an extension at the back of 127 rooms and a ballroom, will add to the old building's charm, Helfer said.

The fading yellow-painted Royal was built in the 1920s, and has played host to personalities such as Churchill, de Gaulle and Jackie Kennedy. During the civil war in the early 70s it became the playground for the international press corps and is featured in the film The Killing Fields.

Helfer said his company is not daunted by the long-term commitment in Cambodia. He sees it as a statement of faith in the tourism market and is not afraid that the Khmer Rouge and adverse media reports will frighten away potential customers.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian

  • Plastic-to-rice initiative transforms waste into bricks

    Volunteers in Kampong Khlaing commune of Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district have been collecting plastic waste to use as a raw material for the production of bricks and clemence tiles. The volunteers are hoping that, in addition to helping clean up the environment,