Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur has been all the rage on social media since October 7th thanks to a story you can read about here.
This made us curious about Banyan Tree's start up as a hotel chain and found that it has a pretty rich history.
For one, the founder of Banyan Tree Holdings, Ho Kwon Ping, is a Singaporean national who was once trapped.
The prison humiliated him & Changed his life
"You realize who you are and who you are not in solitary confinement," he said in an interview with BBC News.
As a student at Stanford University in California (although he was later expelled for protesting the Vietnam War), he began working as a journalist for the Far Eastern Economic Review in 1977.
Ho & # 39; s controversy surrounding his job as a business editor sent him to prison for two months, which he described as a sobering experience in an interview with BBC News.
“I realized I wasn't a Nelson Mandela. I would never be The causes I may have been jailed for weren't the causes I could really identify with, ”he told BBC News.
This time in solitary confinement prompted him to propose to his wife. When he was finally released, the couple settled on a barrier island in Hong Kong.
He lived in a small fishing village called Banyan Tree Bay, where the company got its name, and said in the same interview that it was an idyllic time for both of them.
View from the Phuket Villa of Banyan Tree / Photo credit: Banyan Tree
While vacationing at Bang Tao Bay on Phuket's west coast in the Andaman Sea, the couple stumbled upon property and thought it would be an ideal location for a resort.
Without much research, Ho and his wife Claire Chiang bought the land.
However, they later discovered that it was an abandoned tin mine that was too toxic to support vegetation or other development.
After starting a regeneration program, they reintroduced native plants and built 7,000 trees for the first Banyan Tree Resort in Phuket that we know today.
However, this wasn't his first deal.
He almost bankrupted the family business
Ho's entry into the business world came a few years later when he decided to join the family business after his father suffered a stroke in 1981.
As the eldest son, it was his duty to continue running the Wah Chang group of companies.
After joining Wah Chang, Ho made a business decision that nearly bankrupted the company, he said in an interview with IPE.
To shape the company, he had built a lifting system to harness China's potential oil reserves in the South China Sea.
He had practically no technical background, but he got it anyway and had a handshake agreement to sell the rig to the Department of Drilling.
Unfortunately the timing was terrible because by the time they were done the global offshore drilling rig market collapsed.
And instead of oil, China found gas in the South China Sea.
Ho gave up the company, but his father did not allow him to resign. He had to stay and make up for the losses.
Ho then distinguished himself as a businessman and made the cover of Fortune International magazine in 1990.
The first banyan tree was a resort with no beach
The first Banyan Tree Resort & Hotel in Phuket / Photo credit: Banyan Tree
Building a hotel on the property in Phuket proved difficult as there was no beach.
To attract guests, Ho and his wife decided to build villas instead of rooms, each with its own pool.
In an interview with BBC News, he described the decision: "Necessity is really the mother of all creativity and we are a living example of it."
The Banyan Tree Resort & Hotel in Phuket opened in 1995. In the same year it expanded into the Maldives, followed by another expansion in Bintan, Indonesia.
Banyan Tree Holdings Limited now has a chain of 48 resorts and hotels, 64 spas, 74 retail galleries and three championship golf courses in 28 countries.
The company currently has 4 brands under its name: Banyan Tree and Angsana as well as the newly founded Cassia and Dhawa companies.
What leads us to …
Malaysia's first Banyan Tree Resorts & Hotels opened on January 15, 2018 in the "Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur," which describes the city's shopping, entertainment and commercial centers.
The hotel is located on the top seven floors of the Banyan Tree Signatures Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, the residential building in partnership with the Pavilion KL shopping mall and Banyan Tree, the global hotel brand.
In Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur's room / Photo credit: Banyan Tree
On the 58th floor is the Horizon Grill, which is home to the famous Angus burger RM460 (actually RM88) that the memes started with.
Usually not a common name on the news, by now most internet users would have heard of it.
The demand for a true RM460 burger eventually grew so great that Banyan Tree revealed last night that he had indeed created one.
Ho Kwon Ping made a name for himself in the hospitality industry with Banyan Tree, and the hotel's sudden virality made its story all the more memorable.
- You can find out more about Banyan Tree here.
- More information on other Malaysian startups can be found here.
Selected image source: Banyan Tree