Malaysian hotel development poised for digital nomad supercharge

by | 27 Sep 2022 | Pipeline

Pictured: the forthcoming Merdeka 118 skyscraper which will house Oakwood Premier Kuala Lumpur and Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur.

Hotel chains looking at Malaysia for further expansion are likely to welcome the country’s push to attract more digital nomads.

The south east Asian nation’s digital economy agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) recently announced a visa scheme to boost remote worker numbers.

Accommodation hubs

The DE Rantau programme aims at establishing Malaysia as the preferred digital nomad destination in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region, while boosting digital adoption and promoting digital professional mobility and tourism across the country.

The scheme is aimed at both national and international workers and involves creating DE Rantau Hubs, accommodations which are certified to be fit for the digital nomad lifestyle – self-contained fully equipped facilities with high speed internet and able to host remote worker gatherings, located in vibrant neighbourhoods. Applications for these three- to 12-month DE Rantau Nomad Passes will open on 1 October 2022.

Already underway

Hub certification could prove a tempting prospect for hotel groups, and according to the TOPHOTELPROJECTS database, at least 72 high end hotels are already under development. Collectively this represents 21,499 keys.

In terms of segment, 63% or 45 sites are in the upscale four star category, while the remaining 27 projects/37% will add to Malaysia’s luxury five star portfolio.

KL focus

Capital city Kuala Lumpur is proving the most popular location, with at least 27 hotel builds underway. Second on the list is Kota Kinabalu on Malaysia’s section of Borneo island, with seven developments, followed by Georgetown on Penang island with four.

Next year is proving the pipeline peak, with 19 completions, representing 26% of the total. There are still 22 hotels to be delivered this year, while 2024 sees 11 hotels scheduled. The remaining 29 projects are either slated for 2025 and beyond or have yet to formally receive an opening date.

Apartment advances

Especial beneficiaries of the digital nomad boom are likely to be aparthotels and serviced residences, and it is these types of brands which are topping the development table. Two of The Ascott’s marques are at the head of the list: Citadines apart’hotels, with seven pipeline projects, and Somerset Serviced Residence in runner-up spot with four. Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts share third place with three sites apiece.

One Somerset extended stay build is Somerset Sri Hartamas Kuala Lumpur which will land in upscale suburb Desa Sri Hartamas in Q3 2023. Key facilities for the 308 room property include F&B outlets, swimming pool, children’s playroom, meeting facilities, residents’ lounge and rooftop gymnasium.

In the same segment, Oakwood Worldwide, now part of The Ascott after July’s acquisition, is also heading to the capital city with Oakwood Premier Kuala Lumpur. This 348-room site will be part of the Merdeka 118 skyscraper, set to become the world’s second tallest and Southeast Asia’s tallest building when it launches by the end of this year. The 232-key Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur will also occupy the top 17 floors of the 118-floor tower.

Many TOPHOTELNEWS articles draw on exclusive information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database. This subscription-based product includes details of thousands of hotel projects around the world, along with the key decision-makers behind them. Please note, our data may differ from records held by other organisations. Generally, the database focuses on four- and five-star schemes of significant scale; tracks projects in either the vision, pre-planning, planning, under-construction, pre-opening or newly opened phase; and covers newbuilds, extensions, refurbishments and conversions.

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