Finnish company behind first luxury floating hotel built in Southeast Asia

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Sunborn Marine (M) Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian affiliate of Finland’s Sunborn Group, and Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd (BHIC), have completed the construction of the first luxury floating hotel built in Southeast Asia – the Sunborn III.

Called Sunborn III, the RM462 million five-star floating yacht hotel is the first of its kind to be built in Southeast Asia as an alternative to land-based properties and hotels built on water.

The new luxury yacht hotel joins the new trend of offshore hospitality products that are fast gaining popularity worldwide.

Sunborn Marine president Jari Niemi said there is a growing demand for innovative offshore hospitality solutions because the world’s prime waterfront locations have become scarce.

“The situation is worsened by global climate changes and unexpected natural disasters, fluctuating property prices and political instability, which all affect the tourism and travel industry,” Niemi said yesterday at the launch of the luxury boat.

On Wednesday, the floating hotel left the yard of BNS in Lumut for Europe and is expected to arrive in Gibraltar 25 days later for final preparation works. Yacht hotels are constructed to be completely sea-worthy, but are usually operated permanently moored to prime waterfront locations.

Sunborn III is a fully self-propelled five-star grand luxury class vessel, boasting seven hotel floors and one service floor, with a total of 189 guest rooms with balconies, including 22 royal suites.

The project was initially awarded to BNS to construct the super-sized yacht hotel’s hull for RM53mil in 2008, but was raised to a total of RM80mil due to the complexities of the work and parts that took a longer time-frame.

“We are very happy with the work done, and we have actually developed a nice working relationship in the past years. We would want to continue this co-operation, depending on the market situation,” said Sunborn Marine (M) president Jari Niemi.

He said before the contract was awarded to BNS, the company had visited 30 shipyards across 15 countries before settling on BNS.

“At the end of the day, it was not only the facilities but also the infrastructure that won us over to Malaysia. We have made absolutely the correct choice,” he said.

Sunborn Marine president Jari Neimi said with the completion of Sunborn III, the company will focus on the renovation and remodeling of another floating hotel for a client in Myanmar, which is expected to open for business in the third quarter of this year.

Source: thestar.com

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