Wednesday, February 1

New Town an emerging hub for premium budget hotels in Kolkata

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Perfectly poised between the airport and the city centre, New Town is fast emerging as a hub for premium budget hotels with nearly 1,000 rooms, most of them in service and the rest to be commissioned soon. These rooms are in addition to luxury and deluxe segment where 456 rooms will be added when ITC Royal Bengal is launched later this year.

Speaking to TOI at the launch of French hotel group Accor’s Ibis property in Kolkata, Accor Hotels COO (India and South Asia) Jean-Michel Cassé said the hotel with 189 rooms was the 50th property managed by the group and the 13th Ibis-branded hotel in the country. Kolkata joins 13 other Indian cities and many more across Asia-Pacific, West Asia, Europe, Latin America, Carribean and Africa where the hotel brand is present.

“Though the room inventory has been going up, occupancy has not suffered in Kolkata. Against the all-India average of 60% hotel occupancy, it is at 70% in Kolkata. Average room rent at Rs 6,000 has also not fallen, indicating a steady growth. We believe the market has expanded. After Novotel opened with 350 rooms, many sporting events came to city. Similarly, we hope to contribute to the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) segment,” said Cassé.

At least two other hotels are set to come up in the category later this year: Fairfield with 180 rooms, Lemon Tree with 120 rooms and a second Holiday Inn with 150 rooms.

This is the third Accor group brand in Kolkata after Swissotel opened in 2010 and Novotel in 2014. The company had made a bid for the Great Eastern Hotel in the late 1990s but the deal had fallen through.

JB Singh, president and CEO of InterGlobe Hotels, Accor’s partner to develop the Ibis brand in India, did not rule out more Ibis hotels in Kolkata but said such a development would happen only after the hotels in the pipeline were completed.

“We want to be present in the city centre. A city the size of Kolkata should have more Ibis properties. But the problem is finding land at an afforable price so the hotel is profitable,” he explained.

The Kolkata property, according to Ibis Kolkata general manager Minazuddin, was distinctly different from other Ibis hotels in the country and would act as an archetype for future hotels.

“The rooms have wider windows. We have replaced the desk in the room with a couch. In terms of acoustics, the room in this hotel is right up there among the best in the industry. A guest can sleep peacefully without being disturbed by noise of television next door or people walking down the corridor. Since most our guests are millennials, we have designed the interiors so different places can act as Instagram zones. The food will be seasonal, regional and trendy. And the exterior, unlike the monochrome in other hotels, is colourful,” he said.

Source: Times of India

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