Aerial view of Worli. Image courtesy: BCCL
Ultra-luxury hotel brands Bulgari, Waldorf Astoria and Raffles have joined the race for Oberoi Realty's new luxury hotel in Worli, Mumbai after talks with the original suitor Mandarin Oriental did not make much headway.
The three luxury hotel brands are seeking to make an India entry through a management tie-up with Oberoi Realty.
Vikas Oberoi, managing director of Oberoi Realty said he is talking to three hotel companies, but did not reveal their names and did not comment on the talks with Mandarin Oriental. "We have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and are under a confidentiality agreement and cannot comment on this," said Oberoi.
Mandarin, which began talks with Oberoi Realty for a management contract a year ago, did not specifically comment on talks falling through, but said it is still looking for an entry into India.
What These International Hotel Groups Are Aiming For
Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, which owns the Raffles brand already has two brands - Fairmont and Swissotel - in India and is looking at bringing in the Raffles brand to the country soon. "India is surely on the development map of Raffles. We would like to do two hotels in the country," said Vivek Narain, director for development for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, but declined to comment on talks with Oberoi Realty.
Marriott, which has a joint venture with jeweller and luxury goods designer Bvlgari SpA for the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts brand is already present in Indian through its other brands like Courtyard, Marriott and Ritz Carlton. Waldorf Astoria's parent Hilton also has its other brands like DoubleTree, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton in India.
Rajesh Punjabi, vice-president, development - India, Hilton Worldwide did not confirm if the company was talking to Oberoi Realty for a management contract for the Waldorf Astoria brand.
Asha Langdown, marketing and external relations director, South East Asia & India for Bulgari Hotels & Resorts said the company does not comment on potential or in course negotiations worldwide.
What to Expect
The hotel in Mumbai that Oberoi Realty is building will have between 200 and 225 rooms. Construction is underway and the hotel is expected to be operational by early 2015. The hotel is part of a larger 3.1 million sq ft mixed-use development. Apart from the contract for the hotel, the developer might also engage the same hotel company to manage the 200 branded residences being planned at the site.
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Author: Ravi Teja Sharma
Source: The Economic Times
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