Exporting The Datai brand

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on August 6, 2018 - August 12, 2018.
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IN September last year, The Datai Langkawi closed its doors to undergo a US$60 million renovation and refurbishment. Scheduled to reopen next month, the 25-year-old resort located in the northwest of the island will also see new offerings take shape in Teluk Datai, which will not be easily replicated.

“We needed to refresh the property. We wanted to sustain the DNA of Datai and lift the experience. A new nature centre is being created with the marine side and the forest,” says Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn Bhd (TARH) group CEO Amir Hamzah Azizan. He adds that the centre will offer nature walks through the rainforest and facilitate the rejuvenation of coral species.

The number of rooms and villas at the upgraded The Datai will remain at 121.

“We think we will be able to sustain (a) higher room occupancy rate than in previous years and much better rates following this investment. We expect to get up to 80% (of average occupancy) by the end of next year,” Amir remarks.

He declines to comment on the average room rate at The Datai but says, “From what I have seen, I am happy.”

Prior to the renovation, the rates at The Datai were more than RM1,000 per night. An online search shows that rates in November 2018 start at RM1,680 per night.

The Datai only occupies 80 acres of the 1,600-acre Teluk Datai but because the rainforest is a unique selling point, TARH does not plan to fully develop the place.

Currently, it is formalising the master plan for pockets of development in Teluk Datai to include between two and three hotels and to create “experiences” in the area. Apart from hotels, villas and residences could be considered, depending on market sentiment.

Beyond Langkawi, Amir would like to expand The Datai brand globally. “Hopefully, after we have done The Datai refurbishment and the expansion of Teluk Datai, we can look at whether The Datai brand itself can be exported by creating a series. It has a strong brand franchise.” 


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