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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting