YTL Hotels, the hospitality arm of Malaysian conglomerates, YTL
Corporation Berhad, is involved in both ownership and management of
properties and operations, ranging from hotels to luxury trains to spa
villages in diverse locations in South-east Asia, Japan, China, Europe,
and the UK.
Its portfolio of heritage hotels contains some of the world’s finest
and includes properties like The Majestic Malacca, Threadneedles in
London and the The Gainsborough Bath Spa in the UK.
And it’s not just hotels in the mix. YTL jointly owns the Eastern
& Oriental Express, the Asian cousin of the Venice Simplon Orient
Luke Hurford, senior vice president, strategy, YTL Hotels, tells
Travel Weekly Asia that the success of managing a diverse portfolio lies
in the company’s ability to deliver an authentic experience for guests –
be that at a beach resort, a ski village in Japan or the former home of
British aristocrats on an island in the River Thames.
Monkey Island Estate, UK.
What attracted YTL to heritage hotels?
Customers want authenticity. Travellers seek for experiences and journeys that can capture their imagination.
Leisure and business travellers like to stay in hotels that excite
them and can remain in their memories. At YTL Hotels we believe we are
uniquely positioned to be custodians of these stories through the
conservation of architectural masterpieces.
We embrace this heritage and try to develop it further, so it stays
as an integral part of the DNA of the experience and the destination
What makes the ones in our portfolio special is precisely the unique
stories they can tell through architecture and the curated experiences
Hotels such as The Majestic Malacca – a restored 1920s Straits
Settlement mansion complete with its original porcelain tile flooring
and teakwood fittings that also holds a restaurant offering Kristang
dishes; The Majestic Hotel KL – its colonial structure was built in
1932; Threadneedles – a former Victorian bank in the heart of London;
Monkey Island Estate in Bray-on-Thames – with an aristocratic history
dating back to 1066 and accessible only by a footbridge or boat - are
some examples of our focus on extraordinary experiences that are
authentic to the destination.
We don’t feel we are ever setting a compromise; we feel we are enhancing and extending the life of these historical sites for travellers to enjoy and create memories for a lifetime just as expressed in our motto Treasured Places, Treasured Moments.
The Orchid Conservatory at The Majestic Kuala Lumpur
YTL has a diverse portfolio, in terms of destination, and property
type (luxury resort, ski village and iconic hotels). What drives YTL’s
acquisition strategy when building the portfolio. Is it purely ROI or do
other factors prevail?
YTL Hotels is always interested in good investments and entering new
segments that can add value to our portfolio. We get involved in
projects when we feel we can add greater value and bring out our own
unique expertise to the property
I think our track record shows that we can work in a variety of
locations, from balmy beach resorts and highland getaways to Japan’s
most popular ski destination as well as city hotels, including KL,
Sydney, London, and The Hague, and always enhance the experience.
Threadneedles Hotel, London.
For travel agents, what should be the big selling points for YTL’s heritage hotels?
Travel agents have a unique role with their customers because they
need to find them a property which is specific and tailored to their
needs and a team who can deliver each experience with passion.
We communicate continuously with our partners to provide this level
of service. One of YTL Hotels’ key traits that sets us apart from other
global hotel brands is our focus on the individuality and uniqueness of
Of course, we have our brand pillars that run through each hotel, and
recognised offerings such as Spa Village. However, from Pangkor Laut
Resort in Malaysia to The Gainsborough Bath Spa and Niseko Village in
Japan, each of the jewels in our crown serve a different purpose and are
encouraged to make their own mark and create their own story.
The crafted experiences such as Chef’s Kitchen, Private Cruises,
Nature Walks and Conservation Programmes, cater to every type of guest,
demonstrate each resort’s expertise in its location and culture.
Our guests really appreciate this when it comes to creating their
dream trip, because they know that each hotel features its own bespoke
offering, rather than replicating the same experience in every