Options: Congratulations on the M Resort & Hotel, your third hotel. Tell us about it.
Tan Sri Teo Chiang Hong: Yes, the M Resort & Hotel’s soft opening was on Aug 31 — Merdeka Day. There are 385 rooms, a spa, gymnasium, coffee house, a grand ballroom that can accommodate 1,000 guests, eight meeting rooms, a children’s club and more. There are also plans for an entertainment block with a bistro, bar and lounge, and sky bar. Our booking engines are up and running and do look out for our opening specials, including room and spa packages.
Tell us more about the location.
We leased the land — about five acres — from Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam Malaysia. I had always wanted to build a hotel with a distinct resort feel and yet be centrally located. I was sitting and talking with a friend one day when the idea just came to me. I came up with the proposal and the KGPA committee loved the idea — so, here we are. I speak for myself but simply being here makes life immediately feel less hectic and more relaxing, what with the 27-hole golf course nearby and the abundant greenery. And yet, the city centre is only a short drive away.
Do you golf then?
I used to, then stopped when the children were growing up. Golf takes up a huge part of the day and I preferred to spend any free time I had with the family. Now that the kids are grown, I have picked up the game again. 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 came to be called ‘M’.
The letter ‘M’ carries a lot of meaning. It could stand for Malaysia or Merdeka but, if you look at the way the logo is designed, the Chinese character ‘ren’, or people, is repeated. And a hotel is meant for people … Its spaces are designed to accommodate people, to welcome them with good hospitality.
Those who can read Chinese may also make out the symbol for the number eight, or ‘ba’, which signifies wealth — another auspicious meaning. So, yes, we chose the name ‘M’ for its multitude of good connotations.
Do you have any particular recommendations for guests?
If you are not staying in but just coming to dine, don’t miss the high tea. Our pastry chef is excellent and you must try the delicious scones and sourdough bread.
What inspired this love of hotels and hospitality?
Previously, I never really saw hotels as anything other than accommodation, especially when travelling for business. But as hotels are a natural extension of property development, I began to learn more about the industry, taking time to learn about the different concepts and offerings around the world.
Hotels have since become a great passion of mine and, now, I take the chance to discover and be inspired by all the different and exciting properties wherever I go.
Which hotel experience has proven particularly memorable?
I must say the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Never once did I feel it was crowded or bustling and the feeling while there was simply idyllic. I enjoyed the location as well as all the facilities, especially the underwater restaurant. That was something really special.
What are your travel plans looking like?
Family holidays will definitely be in and around Malaysia. It’s easier to plan. Also, the horror stories of long-haul travel and chaotic airports are not encouraging. Having said that, I will have to travel to the UK soon to accompany my child, who is returning to university.
Given how hectic the hospitality line can be, how do you relax?
Listening to music is nice. I particularly like Frank Sinatra, although I also listen to Ed Sheeran a lot — owing mainly to the children’s influence. I love his song Perfect. The lyrics are very meaningful.
What are you reading right now?
Nothing much except business news. Oh, and political news!
And what’s your idea of a perfect weekend?
Not venturing out of the house at all … Simply staying in and watching whatever is on TV, be it Netflix or YouTube. Oh, and getting in a spot of exercise, of course. Luckily, I have a cross-trainer at home; so, I really don’t need to go out.
This article first appeared on Aug 29, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.