Sunil Mathur, COO, Choice Hotels India, confirmed the development. Heritage is an existing property in the final stages of renovation. The Pune property is a brand new construction and will take a month to get fully operational.
However, he could not divulge any further information on the agreement or the property details saying that it was too early to talk about it.
According to industry sources, the Pune property is a 53-room hotel located close to the Shivaji Nagar railway station. Its facilities include a multi-cuisine restaurant, dedicated executive floor, business centre and modern conference facility to cater to 25-125 people.
The 96-room Hotel Heritage in Mumbai is owned by the Maredia family. The family was in talks with Choice Hotels India for almost a year. They had already started renovating the entire hotel in a phased manner to ready it for the new branding.
Both parties inked the franchise agreement towards the end of January 2004. The Maredia family also owns the Fariyas hotel in Colaba, Mumbai, and another five-star hotel by the similar name in Lonavala.
To start with, two floors with 16 rooms each of Hotel Heritage will bear the Comfort Inn branding. One floor will be launched in phase I, which is expected to be in March, while the other floor will be open for guests in phase II. Of the two floors, 16 rooms on the seventh floor have already been renovated to meet up with the international standards and are now ready to be marketed as Comfort Inn rooms. Work on the sixth floor is under way and will be launched in due course as part of the Phase II plans. The rooms on these floors are a good mix of twin rooms, large bedded rooms, deluxe rooms and executive rooms and will offer guests all the amenities that a guestroom in a four-star category hotel should offer.
The new branding is expected to have no impact on the pricing of the Comfort Inn rooms in the hotel. Sources said, This is because hotels in Mumbai usually announce hike in room rates in September, which gets implemented from October 1 every year. As a result, the owners want to use this opportunity to make their guests get a taste of the new offerings at prevalent rates. After analysing the response and customer feedback over the next few months the promoters will get a fair idea with respect to pricing the Comfort Inn rooms.
Express Hotelier & Caterer