FOXTROTS Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 

2005 December 10

Deluxe in Hong Kong’s Mongkok? New Langham hotelIn deepest darkest Mongkok near Boundary Street in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district stirs something big – very big. It’s the 42-floor 665-room Langham Place Hotel.  There may be nothing special about a hotel in Mongkok; it is not the first hotel in Mongkok, although it is the first of the new wave of hotels being built in Kowloon, and the first for almost 10 years. But this one is different from those other hotels in Mongkok.  It calls itself a 5-star hotel. A 5-star hotel in Mongkok; isn’t that an oxymoron?  It thus invites comparison not only with hotels like the Sheraton down Nathan Road in Tsimshatsui, but even, yes, the Shangri-La’s in Hong Kong, and other top hotels.  And the Langham Place holds up well. In terms of room facilities and in service, the hotel is comparable. In some fields it is ahead; for instance, probably in in-room technology, and in culture – in-hotel art (paintings and statues, contemporary and modernist Chinese from Hong Kong and China). And in its three floors of ‘wellness’ facilities including fitness centre, saunas, etc, plus spa rooms, treatment rooms, rooftop pool and deck.  Probably the other surprise is that business is not only good, it is better than expected. Opened a year ago, the Langham Place is 10-15% ahead of its projections. Some thought its location would be disadvantage, but for some target clients it is turning into an advantage – including the business traveller market, now getting close to 60% of the total.   Targets for this year were for a room occupancy rate of 75-80%, and an average just over US$100 per occupied room per night. Having achieved over US$130 in one particular month, that will be the new target level. By way of comparison, it is achieving room rates that are closer to 80% of the group’s hotel in Tsimshatsui, the Langham, than the 60% in its first six months of operations.  Langham Hotels itself, part of Hong Kong’s Great Eagle group and named after the 140-year-old Langham hotel in London, is looking to add more hotels, close to home, in Beijing and Shanghai.