Following His Father’s Footsteps As A Hotelier

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When Shariff Shah ventured into the hotel business, he immediately knew that he was going to be a successful entrepreneur like his late father Tan Sri HM Shah.

The elder Shah was the owner of the iconic Shah’s Village Hotel (SVH) in Petaling Jaya (PJ).

Shariff wanted to follow in the footsteps and carve a name in the hospitality business like his father did.

The prominent entrepreneur, whose full name is Habib Mohammed Shah, was always associated with the development of PJ in the early 1970s. It is left to be seen if Shariff can emulate that feat.

However, he is confident since he received all the coaching and was well guided during his younger days to take over the family business when the time comes.

Today, Shariff is the proud owner of a three-storey boutique hotel in PJ, and which is within a stone’s throw away from SVH.

“I always had a penchant to start my own hotel business since my late father made SVH, a name synonymous with the growth of PJ,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

The hotel, which was formerly Habib’s motel, opened its doors way back in 1967 when PJ was still a village surrounded by a jungle, thus the name and almost 50 years later, Shariff followed his dad’s business with the opening of the PJ-Luxe Boutique hotel, off Jalan Sultan.

“My dad was a self-made man. He was a man with many firsts. Among them are the first Malay to be involved in film-making, the first to build a petrol station in PJ, the first to start a drive-in cinema in the country and the first to open a motel in PJ. So many firsts and such were his achievements and I am still a long shot from that,” he said.

Shariff runs the hotel business with his wife Su-Shah, who has been his pillar of success, and his mother Sarina Shah helping out.

It is almost a family enterprise with a humble beginning on May 5. His short stint studying a course in hotel management in Switzerland has also helped him tremendously in the setting up of the hotel.

He is now looking at purchasing an adjacent block of a three-storey shop house to expand his business.

Shariff does not have any anxiety pangs; he was simply a natural at these things.

“Since the opening five months ago, we have been getting an influx of guests, many repeat guests from countries like Thailand, England and other 39 countries to date, simply because of our hospitality and services offered almost similar to five-star neighbours,” he said.

He said the hotel is truly living to its adage “once bitten, forever smitten”. Many guests come back because of the comfort and the feeling they get when staying here.

Shariff has also put a lot of thought into and emphasis on how the lightings in each room should be.

He is passionate about lighting. He has put some thought at lighting up the place to create a pleasant ambience as well as to be environmental friendly.

The kind of bulbs, the kind of fixtures, the power and the habits add up to a significant “greening”.

“While every detail is looked into making the rooms comfortable, the guests are just as important. The staff are always trained on three traits — presence, humility and sincerity. There are the three important traits in a hotel business,” said Shariff.

The hotel has 27 rooms ranging from standard, studio and superior.

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