RATES of $1,000 a night and higher have not deterred Formula 1 fans from snapping up trackside hotel rooms for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix.
Hotels ranging from the glitzy Ritz-Carlton Millennia Singapore to the Peninsula-Excelsior Hotel are already fully booked for the Sept 26 to 28 race. This is despite significantly higher than normal room rates of over $1,000 per night for the Ritz (about a 100 per cent increase) and $300 for the Peninsula (about a 50 per cent increase).
Two other hotels - Swissotel The Stamford and Pan Pacific Singapore - anticipate a 100 per cent occupancy rate.
One reason for the higher rates is that the Government will be imposing a special hotel tax on total room revenue from Sept 24 to 28 - the week of the race.
The tax will range from 30 per cent - for the 11 trackside hotels - to 20 per cent for all other hotels.
Trackside hotels such as Marina Mandarin ($1,500 per night) and Fairmont Singapore ($1,830) are still entertaining bookings.
The Fullerton has yet to confirm rates, but will place those interested on a wait-list.
The high take-up rate is not confined to trackside hotels.
The Four Seasons, along Orchard Boulevard, also managed to sell out all of its rooms from Sept 20 to 28.
The race will be held on Sept 28. Qualifying sessions begin on Sept 27.
Tourists are expected to form a significant portion of the 100,000 fans expected for the grand prix, and they are expected to spend around $100 million on hotels, and at food and beverage outlets, nightspots and the like.
Corporate hospitality packages ranging from $3,500 to $7,500 per head have also been selling well. These were put on the market by race organisers Singapore GP in November.
A Singapore GP spokesman declined comment, but it is believed that suites in areas such as the pit area and exclusive Paddock Club are close to being sold out.
Source : Straits Times -21 Jan 2008