Rooms for improvement: the Lae International Hotel’s multi-million kina upgrade


The Lae International Hotel is in the midst of a multi-year, K30 million refurbishment that will see it consolidate its position as the premier hotel in Papua New Guinea’s second-largest city. General Manager Alok Kedar talks to Business Advantage PNG about the grand plans. Paul Chai reports.

The exterior porte cochère of the upgraded Lae International Hotel. Credit: BAI

Visitors to the Lae International Hotel, a resort-style stay that is a favourite with corporates, will notice a brand-new porte cochère, the covered entrance to the hotel, and lobby. They are the first indications of a K30 million renovation that the hotel is undertaking.

The Lae International Hotel’s Alok Kedar. Credit: BAI.

“We recognised the need for upgrading all the facilities because we have a lot of international travellers,” says Alok Kedar, General Manager of the Lae International Hotel. “Not only people from overseas, but Papua New Guineans who are well-travelled have a growing awareness of hotel star ratings and align their expectations accordingly, no matter where they are staying in the world.”

For the Lae International Hotel, that means its 134 rooms will be getting a complete overhaul, including new furniture, bathroom amenities, safes and smart TVs.

“It’s very uncommon, in my experience, that you are actually allowed to log into Netflix and Amazon in a hotel room Smart TV,” Kedar says. “So, we’ve provided that. We’ve got up to eighty cable TV channels in there and there’s also movies-on-demand free of cost.”

One wing of the hotel has already been completed and the next phases aim to be completed in two years’ time.

Meeting business demand

One of the main drivers for the renovation is the popularity of the hotel with corporate visitors.

Story continues after advertisment...

“We see a lot of conference activity from the government sector because they tend to hold very large conferences and we have the size and capacity,” Kedar says. “The superannuation funds do the same. Typically, if there’s anything large happening in town, it ends up here.”

Lae International Hotel has already upgraded its conference facilities to make sure that the business keeps coming in. The conference room has seen state-of-the-art audio-visual technology installed with brand-new screens, cameras, wireless microphones and Bluetooth speakers. “It is quite possibly the best conference set up in the country,” he adds.

The upgraded lobby of the Lae International Hotel. Credit: BAI.

“It’s not just an expectation from the property, but it’s an expectation from Lae itself”

Corporates also love the hotel’s 64 long-stay units that always sit between 90 to 100 per cent capacity. The apartments have even seen waiting lists due to the property’s comfort and security.

“We’ve got 24-hour security, we’ve got key cards getting in and out,” says Kedar. “You can monitor movement and who’s been in there. We provide housekeeping services as part of the deal. Guests receive housekeeping three times a week, the maids go in and clean the rooms, do the laundry as well. So, it’s very convenient for a lot of people.”

On the food and beverage side of things, the hotel’s popular Aero Bar has also had a complete refit with new furniture and there are plans to reopen the premium Vanda restaurant, which closed during the COVID pandemic.


The renovation shows a confidence in Lae, despite the delay in the commencement of  the long-awaited Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project. Kedar says that the property is not only future-proofing for itself but reflecting the needs of the city.

“It’s not just an expectation from the property, but it’s an expectation from Lae itself because there is nothing to match our hotel in terms of competitors,” he says.

Leave a Reply