IHCL Picks Up Two Heritage Properties

Mumbai, October 22: | Updated: Oct 23 2002, 05:30am hrs
Tata Group company Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) has added two more feathers to its cap - two leisure heritage properties from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. On leave and licence to the Taj group are, the Scindia family-owned Usha Kiran Palace in Gwalior, and a Kothi in Jaisalmer.

Both these properties are small and elegant. Neither of them have more than 28 rooms, yet have large amounts of land. And with the historical value that they bring with them, are great additions to our portfolio, said an IHCL source.

Both properties are on leave and licence arrangements and the cost of their addition to the company is completely linked to each propertys turnover, said IHCL senior vice-president (corporate affairs/projects) Ravi Dubey.

The recently-added 28-room Usha Kiran Palace in Gwalior comes with 7.5 acres of land. The 100-year old palace was built to house the King and Queen of England and is located in close proximity to the Jai Vilas Palace. The 25-room Kothi in Jaisalmer, has also been acquired on leave and licence arrangement. The Kothi, according to Mr Dubey will undergo renovation and additions. The branding for these two hotels have yet not been decided, since arrangements have just been finalised. We have yet not been able to finalise any of the marketing details. But since these properties fall into leisure destinations and have heritage value, they will be marketed as leisure heritage properties, Mr Dubey said. Unwilling to commit to the price bracket of these two properties in terms of room rate, Mr Dubey said that the company was largely the recipient of international traffic for such properties. The destinations and the style of the property has usually meant a largely international clientele, but we are now targeting domestic traffic as well, he said.

IHCL had announced in its annual report for the fiscal 2001-02, a focused growth by acquisition plan, where-in, the company would follow an asset light strategy.

The company has been looking to expand its domestic and international portfolio, but had clearly stated that any such investments would not be asset intensive.