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The Grand plans expansion of resort

The Grand’s second tower in the intergrated resort is expected to be completed by next year

The Ho Tram Project Company – the developer behind the $4.2-billion The Grand Ho Tram Strip integrated resort and casino in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, is jumpstarting the construction of the resort’s second hotel tower and additional amenities.

Last week the company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with construction company CotecCons on the $75-million expansion. The signing ceremony was conducted during US President Barack Obama’s three-day official trip to Vietnam and witnessed by numerous members of the president’s delegation.

The second hotel tower will consist of 599 rooms, raising the number of rooms in the integrated resort to over 1,100.

The expansion also includes entertainment amenities, including two movie theatres with a capacity of 70 people per screening room, a retail area, restaurants, a rooftop lounge, karaoke bars, a 2,000-seater amphitheatre, and a water park. The Ho Tram Project Company has spent and has in construction announced projects of approximately $1 billion to date.

Speaking to VIR on the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Michael Kelly, executive chairman of The Grand Ho Tram Strip, said that the second hotel tower would be complete and operational by late next year.

The Grand was opened in mid-2013. To date, the majority of the resort’s international guests are from China, followed by customers from South Korea.

According to Kelly, even though the government has yet to raise the ban on gambling for Vietnamese citizens, The Grand is still popular with the Vietnamese thanks to its other entertainment options.

“What we’re marketing is not a casino. We’re marketing a resort that happens to have a casino inside. We have a lot of family attractions and we’re continuing to expand to attract families and international tourists,” Kelly said, adding that The Grand was also looking to increase its meeting and convention business. This was the main reason why The Grand was expanding its room capacity.

“In order to attract more people, we need more rooms,” he explained. “Also, this fulfills our commitment to the Vietnamese government to build a large, integrated resort.”

Like other hotels and resorts in Vietnam which house a casino, The Grand looks forward to the government’s decree that will permit Vietnamese people aged over 21 to gamble. “The casino is just one aspect of our resort, but we believe this aspect will open up another demographic that does not currently frequent our establishment,” said Kelly.

In March, the Ho Tram Project Company announced that it had launched its latest residential project, Gallery Villas, which are set to become one of Vietnam’s premier vacation residences. At the moment, a lot of other projects are being developed in the area. However, according to Kelly, The Grand will be the most attractive. “The Gallery Villas project has the added benefits of the award winning golf course. The hotel and restaurants, and other amenties of the Grand are already in place. None of these benefits exist at any other projects”, he explained.

The Grand currently has 541 rooms and features 11 restaurants and bars, an award-winning spa, three swimming pools as well as the nation’s first international-standard casino. The resort also includes The Bluffs – the 18-hole Greg Norman-designed championship golf course. This is the first course in Vietnam to be featured in Golf Digest’s Top 100 courses in the world. The first phase of the resort was completed in 2013, while The Bluffs teed off in early 2014.

By Hong Anh

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