Commercial operations of InterContinental Dhaka, formerly known as Sheraton and then as Ruposhi Bangla, may start in early November though the hotel is set to reopen today after four years of closure for renovation.
At a press briefing civil aviation and tourism minister AKM Shajahan Kamal on Wednesday said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina was expected to inaugurate the hotel today after completion of renovation activities.
It usually took some times to become fully operational after such huge renovation works, he said.
The ministry arranged the briefing in its conference room on occasion of inauguration ceremony.
Civil aviation secretary Md Mohibul Haque said that the hotel might resume commercial operation in the first week of November as the operator would need some more time to conduct accuracy test of service procedures.
‘Everything of the hotel, except ceiling and wall, has been changed as per international standards,’ he said.
So, staff and employees need time and practice to cope with the new situation, he added.
In September 2014, the operation of state-owned Ruposhi Bangla Hotel was shut down for renovation work after the government singed a 30-year management agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd. (IHG).
Earlier, the group had run the hotel from 1966 to 1983, and then US-based Starwood ran the hotel with brand name Sheraton until April 2011.
Mohibul said that after the renovation at a cost of Tk 620 crore, the size of the rooms was extended to 40 square meters from previous 26sqm.
The number of rooms also decreased to 226 from previous 272, he informed.
Of the total rooms, 201 are premium or deluxe rooms, 10 deluxe suites, five superior suites, five diplomatic suites and five presidential suites, according to the state-run Bangladesh Services Limited, the owner of the hotel.
There are also two ballrooms and seven meeting rooms provide more than 21,000 square feet for conferences and exhibitions.
Now one ballroom can accommodate 1,000 people, double the previous capacity.
The initial estimation of refurbishment was Tk 371 crore. But it almost doubled because of delay in implementation of renovation process, extension of work components and adjustment of inflation, officials said.
Initially, the renovation work was scheduled to end by December 2016.
Mohibul said that the government assessed the profitability before making investment in the renovation.
According to the management agreement, the IHG will get 8 per cent of profit if gross profit remains within 40 per cent. The share of IHG will be 9 per cent of profit if the gross profit remains within 40 per cent and 50 per cent. The company will get 10 per cent of profit if it exceeds 50 per cent.
State-owned BSL owns 99.68 per cent of ownership of renamed Intercontinental and Pan Pacific Sonargaon.
At the briefing, BSL managing director Md Mokabbir Hossain, company secretary Md Abul Monsur, chief engineer Ashrafur Rahim and project director for renovation works Jitendra Singh, among others, were present.
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