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Le Meridien, a French hotel chain, plans to enter the Penang hospitality industry in 2026, opening Le Meridien Penang Airport in Bayan Lepas, near the Penang International Airport.

The 200-room hotel is part of the Penang Gateway mixed-development by Rackson Group, an up-and-coming developer.

This urban development will include a designated office tower, serviced suites, wellness apartments, medical suites, and a wellness centre, and is billed as the state’s first Transport-Oriented Development (TOD).

A link bridge will connect it to the upcoming Light Rail Transit (LRT) station at Penang International Airport and the airport’s future development.

Penang Gateway is expected to generate RM1.5 billion in gross development value (GDV) and will be developed in two phases.

Phase 1 will see the construction of the hotel. Construction is set to start in the middle of this year.

Rackson has entered into a hotel management agreement (HMA) with Marriott International Inc, the hotel brand’s owner, to develop the hotel.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim were present at the signing ceremony.

In his speech, Chow stated that the award-winning brand would undoubtedly add excitement to the state’s already vibrant and dynamic landscape, especially in the island’s southwest district.

“In the vicinity is the Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone where over 300 multi-national companies operate. Penang was once a traditional seaport economy before gradually evolving into the Silicon Valley of the East, and this year, we celebrate the golden jubilee of our industrialisation journey.

“As part of Penang Gateway, this part of the world will be booming with plenty of activities and opportunities,” he said.

The first phase development components of the Penang Gateway include serviced suites and retail components.

Rackson’s chief executive officer Kelvin Lor said the group is proud to be associated with a prestigious brand like Le Meridien for Penang Gateway.

“This means a lot to us and represents a big leap forward for an up-and-coming developer like us,” he said yesterday after the signing ceremony.

Lor believes the mixed-use project can become an iconic landmark in the heart of Bayan Lepas, raising the city’s economic and architectural standards.

Marriott International was represented by Yeoh Soo Hin, vice president (asset management).

Yeoh said that the signing demonstrates the hotel group’s commitment to expanding its footprint in Malaysia, which currently stands at 35 opened hotels and 17 brands.

Source: New Straits Times, Kathy B./January, 2022

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