Sutera Resort a 'catalyst' for local economy

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KOTA KINABALU, Sabah, Malaysia -- A dedication ceremony was held for the Sutera Harbour Resort here in July, nearly six years after the official groundbreaking.

Created to operate both as a traditional resort and a private club, the 384-acre complex is situated in Kota Kinabalu in the Malaysian state of Sabah overlooking the South China Sea.

The total cost of the development, which began in 1994 and was carried out in several stages, was in excess of $500 million.

Future plans call for the construction of luxury condominiums and beach bungalows.

The Sutera Harbour Resort consists of 956 rooms, five swimming pools, a 27-hole golf course, three fitness centers, a 12-lane bowling alley, and a 100-seat movie theater, among other facilities. The resort serves as a "catalyst" for growth within Sabah's tourism industry and the local economy, said Ybhg Encik Edward Ong, the resort's chief executive officer, during the dedication ceremony.

Ong said the resort employs approximately 1,300 workers, 99% of whom are Malaysians.

Designed to function as a self-contained village, the resort consists of two separate hotels, the 500-room Pacific Sutera and the 456-room Magellan Sutera; a convention center; a spa (see sidebar); a golf and country club that serves a 27-hole golf course, and a 104-slip marina.

Resort officials said they have been able to keep both hotels near capacity by marketing them to different audiences.

The Pacific Sutera markets itself to business travelers, both local and international. Rooms feature such business amenities as computer hook-ups for laptops, work desks with ergonomic chairs and task lighting, two-line phones and coffeemakers.

The resort's top two floors are classified as Club Room floors. They are serviced by a dedicated business center and offer guests free breakfast and evening cocktails.

Rates at the Pacific Sutera start at $50 for ground-floor rooms that overlook the golf course.

The Magellan Sutera markets itself to leisure travelers with its more traditional resort facilities. Chief among these are the spa and the Magellan Club, which features rooms with butler service and a private lounge that serves free breakfast and evening cocktails.

No matter where a client stays, the resort allows guests signing privileges at all restaurants (there are a total of 15 restaurants and bars) and entertainment and recreational facilities (including five swimming pools, three fitness centers, a 12-lane bowling alley and a 100-seat movie theater).

Guests can get around the property by walking along the marina boardwalk or by hopping on a shuttle service to access the various facilities.

For information or reservations, call the Pacific Sutera at (011) 60-88 318-888 or the Magellan Sutera at (011) 60-88 312-222.

You can also visit the resort's Web site at www.suteraharbour.com.

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