PENANG is expected to see another five-star hotel in the state next year.
Set to open in 2024, the five-star Iconic Marjorie Hotel will be Marriot International’s second Tribute Portfolio hotel in Penang, with the first – Lone Pine in Batu Ferringhi – opened its doors in July this year.
Located in Bayan Lepas, the 298-room Iconic Marjorie Hotel will be part of Marriot International’s illustrious range of brands, travel programmes and experiential offerings.
Both partners – Iconic Penang Sdn Bhd and Marriot International – signed the franchise agreement at Iconic Hotel this morning to mark the momentous occasion. The total investment for the hotel is RM180 million.
Witnessing the signing ceremony between Iconic Group chairman Datuk Seri Tan Kean Tet and Marriot International (Development, Asia Pacific excluding China) senior vice-president Kevin Chen was Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
Chow was accompanied by state Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai, Penang Housing and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Seri Sundarajoo Somu, state Local Government, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jason H’ng Mooi Lye, and Bukit Tengah assemblyman Gooi Hsiao-Leung.
Iconic Group executive director James Tan said the agreement brought Iconic Penang and Marriot International into a partnership that promises to redefine the hospitality experience in Penang.
“It signifies a dedication to delivering more than just a hotel stay; it embodies a world-class experience defined by unparalleled service, elegance, and sophistication.
“We are also thrilled to introduce our partnership with Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), globally acclaimed as the number one Hospitality Design Firm.
“HBA has been setting the standard in hotel design since 1965 and enjoys global recognition for their unmatched expertise.
“Through our collaboration with HBA, Iconic Marjorie Hotel does not just aim to offer luxurious accommodations; we aspire to redefine hospitality itself through unparalleled design excellence,” he said.
James said the Iconic Marjorie Hotel was also on track to become the first hotel in Penang to achieve the Gold standard in sustainability, as per the Green Building Index (GBI) rating system.
“This commitment underscores our responsibility to our environment and community, aligning perfectly with our dedication to the Penang2030 vision.
“We believe that by leading the way in sustainable practices, we can contribute to the long-term well-being of both our local community and the broader region,” he said.
Regarding the hotel’s features and amenities, James highlighted that the grand ballroom has the capacity to host up to 850 guests.
“Furthermore, the hotel boasts an all-day dining restaurant, an inviting lobby lounge, a rejuvenating poolside bar, and a delightful outdoor swimming pool. In addition, it offers a range of versatile event spaces and meeting rooms, ideal for hosting seminars, workshops, and conferences.”
He emphasised that the Iconic Marjorie Hotel pays homage to Penang’s beloved Baba-Nyonya culture, a celebration of love and family that extends a heartfelt invitation to guests from all backgrounds to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of warmth and beauty that has been woven through generations.
James also thanked Rubicube Creative for shaping the brand identity of the hotel.
Chen looked forward to growing and fostering a close and long-term relationship with Iconic Group.
“Each Tribute Portfolio hotel celebrates individuality.
“I have no doubt that Iconic Marjorie Hotel will exceed expectations in offering both leisure and business travellers a thoroughly enjoyable stay and a fresh, colourful, and deeply meaningful perspective of Penang,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wong emphasised that the partnership aligns seamlessly with the state government’s commitment to supporting projects geared towards enhancing the overall tourism experience in the region.
“We firmly believe that collaborations between the private sector and the government play a pivotal role in achieving sustainable growth and development,” Wong stated.
He went on to highlight the hotel’s strategic location, ensuring both the local community and visiting guests enjoy convenient access to some of Penang’s most renowned attractions.
“Furthermore, for our esteemed business travelers, the Iconic Marjorie Hotel’s proximity to the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone underscores our dedication to convenience. This zone houses numerous multinational high-tech manufacturing firms, making it an ideal location for those here for work,” Wong added.
In his speech, Chow said the hotel would not only serve as a gateway to Bayan Lepas but also a bridge to the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site and the beautiful Batu Ferringhi.
“What excites me further is the fusion of Penang’s vibrant Peranakan culture with contemporary design in the blueprint of the Iconic Marjorie Hotel.
“This blend will not only elevate the hospitality experience but also pay homage to Penang’s cultural tapestry, thereby positioning it as a premium destination for travellers and investors,” he said.
Chow added that the state aspires to diversify investment inflows in Penang beyond manufacturing foreign direct investments (FDI), venturing into other thriving economic sectors, including the high-end tourism industry.
“Our vision is to ascend the value chain, targeting discerning tourists and travellers with higher spending power.
“Recent studies, such as one by Circulo Fortuny conducted on Spain, one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, have shed light on the immense potential of high-end tourism.
“The discerning high-end tourists exhibit substantial spending capacity compared to traditional travellers.
“They spend three times more on accommodation and transport, four times more on restaurants and five times more in total.
“This presents a tremendous opportunity for tourist destinations including Penang, and to seize this, our industry must raise its standards by offering bespoke experiences, products and services,” he said.
Chow added that Marriott stands as a true global powerhouse within the luxury hotel industry.
“In my view, its expanding footprint in this region serves as a testament to Penang’s paramount role as Malaysia’s primary tourism gateway.
“Penang is a treasure trove of attractions that captivate tourists from across the globe.
“Our cherished Penang proudly showcases a vibrant mosaic of culture, a tantalising array of cuisines, and distinctive architectural marvels, all grounded in an unwavering dedication to safeguarding our rich heritage,” he said.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Alissala Thian
Video by Ahmad Adil Muhamad