Hilton Hotel opening in Port Moresby a ‘key story’ for Papua New Guinea says MD


All eyes this week are on Port Moresby in general and the capital’s new Hilton Hotel in particular. Business Advantage PNG takes a look at the site that will host the APEC Leaders’ Gala Dinner and Cultural Performance.

Port Moresby’s new Hilton Hotel opened for business in late October

The long-awaited Port Moresby Hilton opened for business late last month. It is only the third global chain-branded hotel in PNG (the other two being the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza).

Together with the distinctive adjacent Kutubu Convention Centre, it is the first part of the Star Mountain Plaza project, a joint venture between the government and three major provincial landowner companies: Petroleum Resources Kutubu Limited (PRK), Mineral Resource Star Mountain (MRSM) and Mineral Resource Ok Tedi (MROT). It is under the trusteeship of state-owned Mineral Resource Development Company (MRDC).

Hilton is operating the hotel under licence.

‘APEC benefits us as a brand.’

‘Being able to say that a company like Hilton is investing in the region is a key story for the country,‘ the hotel’s General Manager John Lucas tells Business Advantage PNG.


The Hilton Hotel’s John Lucas

Lucas says hosting key APEC events will give the hotel ‘exposure and profile.’

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‘I certainly think that [APEC] benefits us as a brand and I also think that it benefits Papua New Guinea as well.

The Hilton will be hosting delegates from Russia, Chile and Indonesia during APEC.

He says the two major events are expected to have more than 300 guests.

‘The hotel has four restaurants: Copper, Feast, Mumu and a whisky bar.’

‘There will be a mix of local business community and CEOs who have been invited.

‘Obviously, for the Leaders Dinner there will be the leaders and all the parties who come with them.’


The executive lounge at the new Hilton Hotel, Port Moresby Source: BAI

In addition to 212 rooms, the hotel has four food and beverage locations: Copper in the lobby, Feast Restaurant on level 1, Mumu (its signature restaurant) and a whisky bar with views of surrounding Waigani at the top of the hotel, adjacent to a smart Executive Lounge.

Mumu restaurant is inspired by traditional mumu-style of PNG cooking, which is roasted in an oven in the ground.

‘The key elements will be big pieces of meat: roasting pigs, nice suckling pigs,’ says Lucas.

‘There is a number of private dining rooms over there as well so guests can sit in groups of four or six and pretty much have a whole space to themselves.

‘It is not a traditional inside restaurant. There are some outdoor areas.

‘It is about understanding what is local.

‘Hilton always like to do some sort of signature feature according to where we are in the world.

‘It will still have a Western slant on it to make it sure it suits all palates.’

Work force

A suite  the Hilton Hotel Source: BAI

Lucas adds that, in keeping with the theme of trying to support the local work force, expat numbers have been kept low.

‘I had no expectations when I started; I was employee number one.

‘I put a fairly innocent posting on what was not even a Hilton web site; it was a Star Mountain Plaza web site.

‘I got swamped. I have never seen anything like it. They are all good capable and qualified people willing to work.

‘Those who didn’t have backgrounds were happy to just come along and learn the ropes.

‘Getting them up to that Hilton standard is something we have worked hard on in the background.

‘Many of the Hilton executives who have been through have been really surprised by the quality of the hotel.

‘They were probably thinking “it is Papua New Guinea—it will be what it is”, but they have come in and said “wow, this has taken us a bit by surprise.”

Stage two of Star Mountain Plaza will include Hilton residences: 160 luxury apartments, a club and restaurant facilities. Stage three is expected to include a retail precinct, commercial offices and a four star business hotel.


  1. Alphonse Wapa says

    Very impressive feat & congratulations MRDC Group. However there needs to be clarity & transparency in the investment decisions made by the board & management.The 4mile casino hotel and investments in Fiji were bad investments with nil returns wasting a lot of landowner funds.Therefore there needs to be a overhaul of the general MRDC structure to realise its full potential.

  2. Keryn Hargreaves says

    Congratulations on the new Hilton Hotel in PNG. The brand name itself elevates PNG’s image and profile. Hilton’s presence in PNG speaks a thousand words to the rest of the world. I live in Goroka and will look at business opportunitis that Hilton Hotel can offer.

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