The much-awaited groundbreaking for Crowne Plaza Resort was held yesterday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, about 10 months after TanHoldings CEO Jerry Tan first announced that the company has inked a contract with InterContinental Hotel Group to manage the Garapan property.
Fiesta Resort & Spa’s metamorphosis to Crowne Plaza Resort is expected to be completed by 2022, giving the CNMI another international hotel brand.
Speaking in front of elected officials, government employees and business people present in the ceremony, Tan said the first phase of the project was initially estimated to cost $25 million. “…But the latest update is we are actually going to spend $38 million. …When you talk about hotel investment…$25 million…$30 million, that’s a lot of money and you would want to be able to recover quickly. So if you want to go into the hotel business like the Tan family, it is a long term investment, which shows that our commitment in the CNMI is a long-term commitment,” he said.
“…Then COVID-19 happened…but this does not discourage us because we know that the hotel business is a long-term investment and we are in business in the CNMI for the long run and this is our home, this is where I live, I am the Tan family representative in the region and we are not going anywhere.. so whether it is COVID-19 or not, our commitment continues,” he added.
Tan announced in May last year that the company had inked a contract with InterContinental Hotel Group to manage the Fiesta Resort & Spa in Garapan. Yesterday’s event came almost a year after, signifying the first day of renovation and construction and solidifies the commitment of the Tan family to put into action their vision for the CNMI.
According to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, this management contract that TanHoldings has inked with IHG is a lifetime investment, considering that its new lease is for 40 years. “…This is important for all of us…not just for those who are here but also for those people outside looking in that, while the rest of the world is on a downtime, the Tan family and the CNMI continue to move forward,” he said.
Thomas Mayrhofer, regional general manager of Fiesta Resort Guam, expressed gratitude to the Tan family for choosing IHG and its Crowne Plaza to rebrand the Fiesta property and remake it into a world-class hotel in the CNMI. “Today, there are 429 Crowne Plaza Hotels operating worldwide. …In Paris, Hamburg, Sydney, everywhere in the world there is a Crowne Plaza and we are so excited to be the first Crowne Plaza in the Pacific, which will probably open in August or September of this year and we are absolutely delighted,” he said.
“The Tan family has just been absolutely stellar, they have supported us all the way and…there are many hotel projects that have slowed down but not Saipan, not the CNMI and not the Tan family, because we continue to move forward and this is truly the vision,” he added.
Jens Von Gierke, principal and founder of Wave Hospitality Advisors Inc., that is leading this renovation project, said it took them two years to get to this point and start this endeavor. “…We established the scope, selected a project team, and it took a while…to figure out how to make this place a truly world-class hotel with the IHG brand on it. Our project is really the best of both worlds, international design and project management paired with local expertise,” he said.
The overall concept for the project means all-new designs in the guest rooms, an all-new lobby, reception, a sports bar indoors and outside, and upgrade the other areas. “…The outdoor will have a new pool experience, new pool infrastructure… new air-conditioning and RO system,” he added.
Tan said he and the rest of his family believe in this destination. “I live here so I know how beautiful the CNMI is. …That’s why we believe in transforming the CNMI into a world-class destination. We have what it takes and we know we are going to be a part of developing that potential , we want to see the entire hotel industry improve the product and we are doing our part and this is something that we are excited about. We want to help elevate and improve this destination.”