The former Sheraton and Ruposhi Bangla hotel in Ramna will finally reopen for guests as the InterContinental Hotel Dhaka from February 2018, boasting the city’s “most comprehensive and largest facility to host events”.
InterContinental Hotel General Manager James P McDonald told the Dhaka Tribune that all the plumbing works and around 90% of the package civil work, façade and glazing are now complete, and that the project is currently in line with original cost estimates of $63m.
“Keeping in mind all the economic factors while investing in this renovation project there is no doubt that it will be a highly profitable venture,” he said.
“Other new entrants into the market have invested nearly $100m and are making a very good amount of revenue. I think they are having good returns.”
McDonald said the new Project Management Consultant (PMC) has now taken over the responsibilities of the project.
“We are expecting they will be able to deliver the project by the end of October 2017 and hand over to the operator, InterContinental, who will then commence their activities alongside testing, simulation and commissioning,” he said.
“To complete all the process, it will take three more months. Then, we will be able to launch the operation formally in February next year,” said McDonald.
On February 19, 2012, Bangladesh Services Limited (BSL) signed a management deal with InterContinental Hotels Group to operate the former Ruposhi Bangla hotel for a period of 30 years.
InterContinental was supposed to start the operation from November 1, 2014 but this was delayed due to Bangladesh’s hosting of the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup that year.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of the Civil Aviation and Tourism has recommended punitive actions against the Hong Kong-based contractor of the Ruposhi Bangla hotel, after it pulled out of the country with the work incomplete in August 2016.
Later, the project evaluation and negotiation committee comprising a consultant, who is a Buet teacher, took the charge of the work.
InterContinental was expected to reopen in August 2017, but this target date will be missed due to delays in renovation work.
The InterContinental GM promised to deliver “the most desired destination for business and leisure travellers in Dhaka”.
“It will have the latest technology, chic design, modern furniture and amenities, the most sophisticated security systems and a long legacy of superior hospitality service,” McDonald said.
There will be a total of 226 rooms after the renovation, reducing from the previous 272.
Of them, there will be 201 executive rooms, five superior suites, 10 deluxe suites, five diplomatic suites and five presidential suites.
The size of one executive room will be 40 square meters and the presidential suite will be 150 square meters – larger than many three-bedroomed houses.
The health club features a temperature-controlled swimming pool, fully equipped gymnasium, steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi, and spa treatment rooms.
“Currently all our human resources are engaged in three of our operations which include InterContinental pre-opening office, Bangabandhu International Conference Centre and Balaka Executive Lounge at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport,” said James McDonald.
“However, most of our colleagues will return to InterContinental prior to its opening. Some colleagues will remain at the BICC and Balaka to run the show smoothly,” he added.