— to feature over 240 rooms, 50+ shops and create over 200 direct jobs
WORK on the US$25 million (Over G$5B) “Royal Orchid” Hotel and Mall at Mandela Avenue is progressing well, Investor, Jason Wang has said, noting that if all goes well, the mega facility will be opened officially in 2022.
Interest in the local economy is at an all-time high, with investors, both foreign and local, looking to channel their resources into mega projects across the various economic sectors.
And, while the idea to construct the Royal Orchid Hotel and Mall was birthed in 2007, its completion, though delayed due to minor setbacks, is expected to be timely and strategic because of the potential advancements expected in the coming years. Work on this project started with the land preparation in 2014 and then moved to actual construction in 2016.
The hotel and mall is equipped to cater for every segment of the local population and foreigners, said Wang during an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle on Wednesday.
For the hotel aspect of the facility, the investor explained that the initial plan was to have 150 rooms, but, due to additional interest from other hotel investors, the aim is now to have over 240 rooms.
“We found another hotel investor who will join us… they were expected in last year but have been delayed because of COVID-19… with this partnership, we will increase the rooms to 248,” Wang said, adding that the rooms will range from presidential suites to standard rooms.
More details on the plans for the hotel will be released at a later date, but, for now, the investor said it will feature all the amenities of a four-star hotel, such as a restaurant, bar, conference hall, among other things.
The features of the hotel will be supplemented by those of the mall which include wi-fi, over 50 shops, a food court, two movie theatres and an electronic gaming section. Additionally, there will be a pool, roof garden, tennis court and gym atop the building.
According to Wang, Space Gym, located at Status Hotel, has already signed up with Royal Orchid to open a second branch there.
“Even though we are looking to open officially in 2022, the shopping mall side will start to open for tenders so stall owners could come in and start their work. Whoever finishes early will open by the end of this year or early next year, before we have the complete opening,” Wang said.
When completed, the facility will create over 200 direct jobs, while the shops and other spin-off operations are expected to create over 200 more.
As it is now, the ongoing work includes the expansion of the access road which runs aside of the facility, internal work and the completion of the central air conditioning unit.
Most of the remaining work, as said by Wang, was affected by the proliferation of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We almost finished all the structure and started working internally… we had some difficulties because of COVID-19… the technician and management team has been stuck in China since 2019 because of travel restrictions, but we are assessing the situation,” Wang said.
Among some of the technical work which has been completed so far is retrofitting of the facility’s roof to accommodate solar panels. This, according to Wang, is in keeping with the global shift towards green energy and sustainable development.
“We have a solid roof to hold all the solar… we have a design for over one meg [megawatt] of solar power, but we do not have backup batter storage, so we will only use solar power during the day and switch over to GPL during the night or when it rains,” Wang explained.
There is also a standby generator and a state-of-the-art central AC unit, which has the capacity to switch from solar power to power supplied by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) without an inverter.
As work progresses on both the technical and construction aspect of the project, Wang remains optimistic that the facility will be completed soon, and just in time to contribute to the country’s economic expansion.
It was reported that close to US$1 billion (G$215B) will soon be injected into Guyana’s economy in the form of world-class hotels which will be constructed across the country to cater for the anticipated increase in visitors, who are being attracted by the nation’s burgeoning oil and gas sector and its spill-off benefits.
A business-friendly climate supplemented by the anticipated economic ascension is being credited for the attraction of major players in the hotel industry, such as Sheraton, The Element, Delta Marriott, Best Western Hotels and Resorts, the H-Tower Luxury Hotel, the Marriott Courtyard, the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, the Radisson Hotels, and the Hilton Hotels and Resorts, among others. According to a study by Oxford Economics, hotel operations and guest spending support eight million jobs across the US alone.
The same study found that a typical hotel with 100 occupied rooms per night supports 230 local jobs every year. And the nation’s hotel and lodging industry bring other important benefits to local communities.
These businesses are a cornerstone for local economic activity, providing increased tax revenue, capital investment, tourism-related development and promotion, civic leadership, charitable contributions and sponsorship.