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The prestigious Raffles Hotels & Resorts s expected to be the most expensive hotel in Kuala Lumpur when it opens at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in 2011

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The luxury hotel brand Raffles will have its first hotel in Malaysia - The Raffles Kuala Lumpur - which is expected to open its doors in 2011.

The Raffles Kuala Lumpur will be at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, along Jalan Bukit Bintang. Featuring 200 rooms and suites, each with a minimum of 50 sq m (about 538 sq ft), it will offer the most spacious hotel in the city.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts' signed an agreement on May 28 with Harmoni Perkasa Sdn Bhd. Harmoni Perkasa is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Urusharta Cermerlang Sdn Bhd.

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is 51 per cent owned by Urusharta and 49 per cent by the Qatar Investment Authority.

"The name Raffles is associated with exceptional standards of service, hospitality and cuisine. We look forward to working with Raffles Hotels and Resorts to bring a luxurious lifestyle experience to Kuala Lumpur," said Harmoni Perkasa chairman Tan Sri Zainol Mahmood.

Owned by Fairmont Raffles Hotel International (FRHI), Raffles Hotels & Resorts is expected to expand from seven Raffles hotels now to 23 hotels worldwide by 2012.

When opened, the Raffles hotel will compliment the luxurious Pavilion mall.

Raffles is now the rate leader in seven out of the eight markets it is in. In Dubai, the rate leader is the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. In Singapore, Raffles last year closed at an average room rate (ARR) of S$1,000 (RM2,420) per night.

FRHI executive vice-president David Roberts expects the KL hotel to have an ARR that is a fifth higher than the leader at that time.

Currently, the rate leader in the capital is Mandarin Oriental at over RM600 per night.

The "6-star" Pavilion KL Residences were completed recently.

Meanwhile, Chris Cahill, COO of FRHI said the group had always wanted to extend the Raffles portfolio to Kuala Lumpur.

"Now we have an ideal strategic partner and an unrivalled location."

The group also owns Fairmont and Swissotel brands of hotels and resorts.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts' public relations and communications manager Vivian Koh said Raffles Kuala Lumpur will offer six restaurants and bars including a specialty restaurant, an all-day dining restaurant, a lobby lounge, a lobby bar, a pool bar and a Cafe Stelle located at the Couture Pavilion precinct.

The cafe which will be a showcase of Raffles' service prior to the opening of the hotel, opened its doors today. The Raffles Amrita Spa, a signature component of Raffles hotels and resorts worldwide, will feature 10 treatment rooms and an extensive range of massage and wellness treatments.

News report written by Rachael Lee (TheEdge) and Vasantha Ganesan (BTimes).

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