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Foreign investment in Pakistan’s hotel industry

Published on 10th Feb, Edition 6, 2014


Movenpick hotels & resorts plans 100 hotels open around the world by 2015

Movenpick Hotels & Resorts, which has acquired Sheraton Hotel Karachi, has unveiled a major renovation and refurbishment plan for the Karachi property, which was reflagged as Movenpick Hotel Karachi on January 1, 2014.

The announcement was made at a press conference addressed by Mr. Andreas Matmoller, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East and Asia, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts along with Mr. Sikander Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer, Arabian Sea Enterprises Limited, the owning company and Mr. Mirza Mansoor Ahmad, General Manager of the hotel.

“We are delighted to have entered Pakistan with the Movenpick Hotel Karachi and understand the legacy of this hotel, which goes back to 32 years. The renovation plan will usher a new and exciting phase of the hotel and will add value to the service and product quality while preserving the soul of the property,” said Mr. Matmoller.

“These are exciting times for Movenpick Hotels & Resorts and we look forward to building on our reputation of quality, reliability and care with a personal touch in Pakistan,” he added.

The renovation of the property will be undertaken in phases, with the first phase of work to start immediately. This includes the entire renovation of the ground floor, entry points, restaurants and public areas.

The several stages of the refurbishment will overlap over the next two years and cover almost 100 percent of the hotel giving it a refreshing new look. Renovation of the hotel’s suites and rooms, mezzanine level restaurants, meeting rooms, the ballroom, the makeover of the building faoade and landscaping are part of the project.

Mr. Sikander Mahmood, CEO, Arabian Sea Enterprises Limited commented, “We are proud to be associated with Movenpick Hotels & Resorts and have selected the hotel company as our partner based on quality of service and product. The Movenpick brand has grown phenomenally in the past decade in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and we look forward to working together to give a unique experience to our guests in Pakistan.”

Earlier, the General Manager of the hotel, Mr. Mirza Mansoor Ahmad, while welcoming the media said that the key focus of the operations would be training and development of local talent to supplement service standards and excellence in gastronomy.

Andreas Matmoller while highlighting the success story of Movenpick said” A plant is only as good as its implementation” that speaks about his focus on perfection on his business plans. He played a key role in successfully implementing business plans since he joined the company in 2001. At that time there were just a handful of Movenpick hotels in the Middle East. Now under his management, the upscale hotel company of Swiss heritage has over 25 hotels in the region. Across Asia there are now seven hotels and resorts and two more scheduled to open this year.

When asked to comment on the timings of coming to Pakistan so late and what attracted to invest in hotel industry of Pakistan at this point of time, Andreas Matmoller with a pause remarked that it was the opportunity of investment, which attracted his company and it is not only in Karachi but we have plans to take positions in other cities like Lahore and Islamabad besides resorts locations in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Mirza Mansoor Ahmad, General Manager Movenpick Hotel Karachi said ” As Movenpick enters Pakistan, we are aiming to take the best from the past and presenting it with a distinguish Swiss sense of hospitality, the new. We are passionate about delivering premium service and culinary enjoyment with a personal touch, he remarked.

Replying to a question regarding fate of the existing employees of the hotel under previous management, he categorically said that we have no plan to lay off any one associated with the hotel provided he is determined to deliver for the good of the hotel and the company. At the moment we are in the process of phased renovation of all segments, restaurants, rooms to the level of the best of a five star hotel, however Pakistani restaurant, which is much popular among the guest would continue to carry on, however, with definite improvement in food and service, he remarked.

Regarding his role as the first general manager of a Movenpick Hotel in Pakistan, Mansoor said he is proud to have this opportunity of introducing the upscale Movenpick standards of hospitality for the first time in Pakistan. Although it is going to be a challenge but he loves to accept challenges and feels confident of making it a great success story.


Company’s Profile

For the late Ueli Prager, the founder of Movenpick, they key to successful business was a simple idea. “We are not doing anything extraordinary” he was fond of saying “We are simply successful because we are doing quite normal things in an extraordinary manner.”

It was a philosophy that revolutionalized the European restaurant business and inspired a completely new generation of hospitality. Today Prager’s words continue to resonate throughout Movenpick Hotels & Resorts as the company prepares to have 100 hotels open by 2015.

It has been an astonishing journey that started when Prager and a friend were strolling the shores of LakeZurich more than 60 years ago. He had been searching for a name for his new restaurant concept. It was another simple idea, serving the highest quality food at affordable prices in the fasted possible time. As he considered possibilities, a seagull swooped down to skillfully pick up food mid-flight. That one elegant movement encapsulated everything Prager was working towards and Movenpick was born.

Prager’s first restaurant Caridenhof opened in Zurich in July 1948. The concept of simple dishes to be ordered a la cartel, instead of set menus, was the first of many innovations, and two years later his second restaurant in Zurich was open.

There will be new landmarks in the future to celebrate. In 2015 Movenpick Hotels and Resorts aims to have 100 properties open and is by the end of 2015. The company’s innovation continues. A simple promise that began more than 60 years ago has become a genuine success.


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