Monorom Hotel Restructures, Will Reopen

When the Monorom Hotel opened in Phnom Penh in 1962, it was the country’s premier luxury hotel. But after years of neg­lect and a string of insolvent owners, the hotel is now more associated with chronic financial problems than with glamour.

According to the hotel’s current owners, all of that will change in December, when the city landmark, renamed the Monorom Holiday Villa Hotel, opens after a three-year closure.

However, since Kuala Lumpur-based Asbina Hotel & Property purchased the building from the Municipality in January 1996, the hotel’s reopening has been de­layed at least three times, prompting suspicions the company was having cash-flow problems.

Under a new plan, Ken Grou­ting System Specialist BHD will purchase a 23 percent interest in Asbina Hotel and Property Bhd. The move would help cash flow and enable the company to complete Mono­rom’s renovation. Chris Ho, general manager of Monorom Holiday Villa Hotel, said 30 Malaysians are working at the site and vowed the renovation “will be completed on time.”

by hook and crook.”

On Tuesday, work was still clearly in progress at the hotel, which has been stripped and rewired. Workers scurried ac­ross floors stacked with construction materials and covered with plaster dust.

Chris Ho, general manager of Monorom Holiday Villa Hotel, said 30 Malaysians are working at the site and vowed the renovation “will be completed on time, by hook and crook.”

Ho downplayed the Malaysian news report, saying there merely had been “a shift in equity from one sister company to another” that would have “little impact” on the hotel project. He also cited “bad timing” and “political uncertainty” as chief contributing factors to delays in Monorom’s reopening.

He said an earlier target date of April 1997 was abandoned after July 1997 factional fighting and a regional economic crisis.

 

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