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Hotel to bring sea change in Ocean Park bid to stay afloat

Ocean Park aims to open the doors of its first hotel on June 13, which will not only cater to tourists but business travelers and wedding banquets as well. Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel will consist of three towers, offering 471 guest rooms at an average price of HK$2,000. A minute's walk from the MTR station, the hotel will have a lush green look as plants will adorn its exterior. With nature as the theme, there will be green rooftops and a smoking ban. Visitors will be greeted by a 16-meter aquarium in the main lobby. Rooms at both Pier Wing and Marina Wing will be 258 to 312 square feet, while a suite will be 635 sq ft. At the Club Wing - a tower of executive floors - rooms will be 301 to 355 sq ft, while the presidential suite will be 1,646 sq ft. There will be an outdoor pool, spa, restaurants, nine meeting rooms and a grand ballroom that can fit 80 tables. More projects are in the pipeline as the year-round, all-weather Water World will launch next year, while The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong will be completed by 2021. Edmond Hung Hin-wing, general manager of Ocean Park Marriott Hotel, said the opening date may be pushed back as it has yet to receive all its permits. The hotel allows guests to spend multiple days at the park, which will be transformed from a day attraction into a premier resort destination, he added. Several factors will make the hotel competitive, Hung said. It is conveniently located within walking distance of an MTR station, making it easier to fill rooms both on weekdays and weekends. Ocean Park appeals to a wide age range of visitors from different demographics, Hung said. Drawing on the park's conservation ideology, the hotel will offer packages that include educational programs about the ocean and animals. The hotel is also training its sights on MICE - meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions - and weddings. Hung said the hotel and park, which have different peak periods, can complement each other. For the hotel industry, the summer period is the off-season, while October is the peak period. Numerous people visit the park in the summer. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, 5.8 million guests visited the park, a 4 percent drop from the previous year's six million. Of these, about 40 percent were locals, while 40 percent were mainlanders. The other 20 percent comprised overseas visitors, similar to last year. In a new price scheme implemented on New Year's Day, tourists now have to pay HK$42 more, with adult fares increased by 9 percent from HK$438 to HK$480. Hong Kong residents can pay the old fare until the end of the month, while prices for SmartFun annual passes remain unchanged. amy.nip@singtaonewscorp.com