New budget hotel lunching

Tune Hotels Sdn Bhd is expected to open at least five no-frills hotels this year, according to founder and director Datuk Tony Fernandes.

“We will open as many hotels as possible. We hope to have at least one Tune Hotels in every city in Malaysia,” he said at the media launch of Tune Hotels’ mock-up room at the company’s corporate office yesterday.

From left: Tune Hotels chief operating officer Andy Song, Dennis Melka, director Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, director Datuk Kalimullah Hassan and Datuk Tony Fernandes at the media launch of Tune Hotels’ mock-up room
“We want to locate our hotels in city centres or tourist belts, not miles away where land costs may be lower,” he said, adding that the group was on constant lookout for properties.

Tune Hotels’ first hotel, which is currently being refurbished, is located at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, and is scheduled to open next month.

Kota Kinabalu, Johor Baru, Kuching and Penang were some of the major cities identified by Fernandes as locations for the group’s hotel chain.

He said the group, which had so far acquired five properties, spent an average of RM20mil for each property that it acquired.

Fernandes expressed confidence that its hotel chain would be able to break even “fairly quickly.”

To a question, he said Tune Hotels would like to solidify its position locally before venturing overseas.

Tune Hotels was also in talks with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd to explore the possibility of setting up no-frills hotels at airports in the country, Fernandes said.

Tune Hotels director Dennis Melka said all its hotels would have the same attributes – good location and chic, clean rooms in a safe environment, but no swimming pool, minibar, sofa or wardrobe.

“We are not skimping on the bed, the shower, the security and cleanliness. Those things are going to be a five-star experience. We are just cutting out the unnecessary items,” he added.

The promise of Tune Hotels rooms, Melka said, was that they would come with a “five-star” mattress, a “power shower”, air-conditioning, clean sheets, a high-quality duvet and thick high-grade towels. There would also be an electronic-based key card system and closed-circuit television surveillance in the hallways to ensure safety.

“Tune Hotels will offer rooms at rates from RM9.90 per night if bookings are made in advance and at non-peak times. The average room rate will, however, be about RM59.90,” Melka said.

On a separate issue, Fernandes said AirAsia Bhd was constantly monitoring fuel price movements, and would revise its current fuel surcharge only if there was a consistent declining trend in global fuel prices.

“The oil price trend is still rather volatile. We will only review it once it (oil price) reaches our target level,” said Fernandes, who is AirAsia group chief executive officer.

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