Choice: Congratulations on M Resort & Hotel, your third hotel. Tell us about it.
Tan Sri Teo Chiang Hong: Yes, the soft opening of M Resort & Hotel was on August 31 — Merdeka Day. There are 385 rooms, a spa, a gymnasium, a cafe, a grand ballroom that can accommodate 1,000 guests, eight meeting rooms, a kids’ club and more. There are also plans for an entertainment block with a bistro, bar and lounge and a sky bar. Our booking engines are operational and monitoring our opening promotions, including room and spa packages.
Tell us more about the location.
We leased the land – around five acres – from Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam Malaysia. I always wanted to build a hotel with a distinct resort feel while being centrally located. I was sitting and talking with a friend one day when the idea came to me. I proposed the proposal and the KGPA committee loved the idea – so here we are. I speak for myself, but just being here immediately makes life less hectic and more relaxing, with the nearby 27-hole golf course and abundant greenery. And yet, the city center is only a few minutes away by car.
Do you play golf then?
I used to do that, then I stopped when the kids were growing up. Golf occupies a large part of the day and I preferred to spend all my free time with my family. Now that the kids are grown, I’m back in the game. Officially my handicap is 20 but unofficially I’d say it’s 36!
Your other hotels are called One World and Avante, both in Bandar Utama. Tell us about this new concept and how it’s called “M”.
The letter ‘M’ has a lot of meaning. It could represent Malaysia or Merdeka but, if you look at the way the logo is designed, the Chinese character ‘ren‘, or people, repeats itself. And a hotel is made for people… Its spaces are designed to welcome people, to welcome them with good hospitality.
Those who can read Chinese can also distinguish the symbol of the number eight, or ‘ba‘, meaning wealth – another auspicious meaning. So, yes, we chose the name ‘M’ for its multitude of good connotations.
Do you have any special recommendations for customers?
If you are not staying home but are just coming for dinner, don’t miss the afternoon tea. Our pastry chef is excellent and you must try the delicious scones and sourdough bread.
What inspired this love for hotels and hospitality?
I had never really considered hotels as anything other than lodging before, especially when I was traveling for business. But since hotels are a natural extension of real estate development, I started to learn more about the industry, taking the time to learn about the different concepts and offerings around the world.
Hotels have since become a big passion for me and now I take the opportunity to experience and be inspired by all the different and exciting properties wherever I go.
Which hotel experience was particularly memorable?
I have to say the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. I never felt it was crowded or lively and the feeling was just idyllic. I enjoyed the location as well as all the facilities especially the underwater restaurant. It was something really special.
What do your travel plans look like?
Family vacations will definitely be in Malaysia and the surrounding area. It’s easier to plan. Plus, the horror stories of long-haul travel and chaotic airports aren’t encouraging. That said, I will soon have to travel to the UK to accompany my child back to university.
Given how hectic the queue can be, how do you relax?
Listening to music is fun. I particularly like Frank Sinatra, although I also listen to Ed Sheeran a lot, mainly due to the influence of children. i love his song Perfect. The lyrics are very meaningful.
What are you reading right now?
Not much except economic news. Oh, and the political news!
And what is your idea of a perfect weekend?
Don’t leave the house at all… Just stay inside and watch whatever’s on TV, whether it’s Netflix or YouTube. Oh, and exercise, of course. Fortunately, I have an elliptical trainer at home; so I really don’t need to go out.
This article was first published on August 29, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.