Singapore Billionaire Unveils London Hotel amid Travel Recovery Hopes
UOL Group—controlled by banking and real estate billionaire Wee Cho Yaw—has completed the construction of a 43-story hotel and residential tower at the heart of London’s financial district, betting on a post-pandemic travel recovery.
One Bishopsgate Plaza is an integrated development comprising the 237-room Pan Pacific London hotel on the first 20 floors of the skyscraper, and the Sky Residences from the 21st to the 41st level. The property—which also includes Devonshire Row, a two-story heritage building of offices and retail shops—is strategically located next to the Liverpool Street station, providing quick access to Canary Wharf as well as the London City and Heathrow airports.
While the hospitality industry has been hit hard by travel restrictions that governments around the world enforced to curb the spread of Covid-19, increasing vaccination rates are expected to lead to the gradual reopening of international borders.
“The opening of the hotel will benefit from regional and domestic travel following the reopening of borders to allow safe travel,” Choe Peng Sum, CEO of UOL unit Pan Pacific Hotels Group, said. The hotel—Pan Pacific’s first in the U.K.—offers five levels of amenities including a double-height ballroom that can host banquets for up to 370 guests. “The hotel’s interior blends elements of an English manor with Southeast Asia flair,” Choe said.
Part of the UOL Group, Pan Pacific owns and manages over 30 hotels, resorts and serviced apartments with more than 12,000 rooms across Asia, Oceania and North America, the Singapore-listed real estate company said in August when it announced its first-half results. It plans to add over 4,000 rooms from projects in the pipeline.
One the biggest property developers in Singapore, UOL is controlled by veteran banker Wee Cho Yaw, 92, chairman emeritus of United Overseas Bank, the nation’s third-largest bank by assets. The bank was founded by his father Wee Khiang Cheng in 1935 as United Chinese Bank. With a net worth of $6.8 billion, Wee ranked No. 9 on the list of Singapore’s 50 Richest that was published last month.