Excitement is building amongst me and my tuition students over the imminent grand opening of the Zenith Hotel in Kuantan on 1st December, 2010. The Zenith Hotel has been rising from the ground since April 2009 and is set to significantly increase the popularity of Kuantan in Malaysia and abroad.
We have enjoyed lengthy discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of the Zenith Hotel for Kuantan, ranging from the well-thought-out points to the ridiculous, like the Zenith Hotel will increase suicides as disturbed individuals will slide themselves down the magnificent arch attached to the Zenith Hotel!
We are hopeful that it will give the Kuantan economy a good boost. This will be achieved through the arrival of more tourists and visitors from other parts of Malaysia. These in turn will spend more money at the Zenith Hotel and the nearby East Coast Mall, China Town, Malay Town and Indian Town shops which is now known as Putra Square.
However, a drawback of this is that crime may increase, we concluded, as more wealthy people come to stay at the Zenith Hotel and a greater number of tourists walk around with large souvenirs cash on hand.
Another popular disadvantage that popped up over and over again was the threat of traffic jams around the Putra Square area. The roads are short and narrow, and with a bustling Zenith Hotel alongside East Coast Mall, with limited parking spaces, this could be a recipe for chaos.
Environmental factors were mentioned as a disadvantage of the building of the Zenith Hotel, but creating extra jobs was a great plus point for all.
My only concern is that Malaysia is not doing enough to really promote Kuantan to an international audience. Perhaps with the opening of the Zenith Hotel and Sultan Ahmad Shah International Convention Centre (SASICC), it may be slightly easier as the attractions will be in place. But as it stands I'm just a little worried about who, exactly, will be filling up 515 rooms each night at the Zenith Hotel? I doubt that most local Kuantanites could afford the expensive prices of this 5-star hotel (the cheapest opening rates being RM450 per night) and with minimal amounts of tourists around Kuantan, I just wonder if the Zenith Hotel is too much, too soon; a sparkling structure in a still small town that is just beginning to experience a significant degree of development.
The key will be how well the adjusted Kuantan skyline can promote itself to local and international tourists as the beautiful, beachside place it surely is.
The setting sun reflects off the windows of the Zenith Hotel
An entrance wall is erected as the Zenith Hotel's surroundings begin to materialise
The entrance of the Zenith Hotel is being modelled
A close-up of the unique 'steps' design of the Zenith Hotel
The Zenith Hotel swimming pool will be located on this ledge
Another image of the Zenith Hotel flanked by the SASICC
The white antenna sits in the sky above the 24th floor
Work goes on as materials are stacked up on the swimming pool ledge
From rubble to realisation: the Zenith Hotel and SASICC rise from the mud to re-shape the Kuantan skyline
The SASICC will soon be ready for action, guarded by the Zenith Hotel on the left, and the Putra Office block still a way behind, on the right
View of Zenith Hotel from the east
View of Zenith Hotel from the south
View of Zenith Hotel from the south-west, with East Coast Mall's distinguished yellow walls close by