RB Capital, controlled by Kishin RK and his father Raj Kumar, has chosen IHG Hotels to manage its hotel in Farrer Park, in the heart of Singapore’s Little India district, betting on a solid recovery of the tourism industry which has been among hardest hit by the pandemic – induced travel restrictions.
Previously managed by Singapore-based Park Hotel Management, which is in the process of being liquidated, the 300-room hotel has been renamed Holiday Inn Singapore Little India before a renovation that will give it a new identity. “Holiday Inn Singapore Little India is supporting the Singapore government to ensure border security, and we will begin renovations in due time,” IHG said in an email response to Forbes Asia.
This will be the third hotel in Singapore to be managed by IHG for RB Capital, which also owns the five-star InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay along the Singapore River and the 442-room Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay. The strategic collaboration between the three properties will allow greater synergies and shared expertise that will ensure hotels are better prepared for the recovery of the tourism industry, IHG said in a statement.
“As Singapore prepares to embark on the rampant Covid-19 roadmap with the gradual opening of its borders to international travel, I am confident that the hospitality industry will rebound strongly,” said Kishin, Founder and CEO of RB Capital, in a press release. “This is the perfect time to relaunch this hotel with a new brand, a new positioning and a design-driven renovation. We are therefore ready for the recovery and ideally placed to contribute to Singapore’s success in reopening the country. “
The 20-story Holiday Inn Little India is part of Farrer Square, a mixed-use development built by RB Capital on a 99-year leasehold it bought in a state land auction in 2012. The project was completed in 2016.
The following year, RB Capital received an unsolicited proposal from an unidentified investor to buy the hotel, but Kishin decided not to sell. “We believe in appreciating the long-term value of hotel land in Singapore,” he said. Forbes Asia over the phone, adding that the cost of replacing such properties is extremely high.
Directly connected to the Farrer Park MRT station, the property is strategically located just outside the central business district and close to the Orchard Road shopping area. It is adjacent to Farrer Park Hospital and the 24-hour Mustafa Center shopping mall, popular with Indian tourists.
The Holiday Inn Little India renovation comes as several Singapore hotels, including the Kwee family’s Capella hotel group and the Pan Pacific hotels, are renovating their properties to take advantage of pandemic-induced downtime. Visitor arrivals fell 86% to 2.7 million at the height of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020, dropping hotel revenues by 71% to S $ 1.2 billion ($ 891 million) , according to government data. While arrivals have increased this year, the numbers are far from the levels of 2019, when more than 19 million visitors came to Singapore.
“The new attractions and infrastructure projects planned for 2021 to 2030 bode well for future tourism demand in Singapore,” Kishin said. “The Singapore government’s handling of the Covid crisis with the world’s lowest death toll has won the trust of businesses around the world to explore this city as an attractive hub for themselves and their businesses. ”
Kishin and his father Raj are among the top homeowners in Singapore with their real estate empire Royal Holdings and RB Capital. The duo embarked on a wave of negotiations after a family settlement in 2011 between Raj and his younger brother Asok Kumar Hiranandani, also a billionaire. With a net worth of $ 2.7 billion, Kishin and Raj were ranked No.14 when Singapore’s 50 richest people list was released last month.