New Delhi: State-owned India Tourism Development Corp. Ltd (ITDC) has embarked on a makeover worth Rs170 crore at more than half of its 15 properties ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, a senior executive said.
Renovation at ITDC’s flagship hotel, The Ashok, and its other two properties, Samrat Hotel and Hotel Janpath in the city include doing up the interiors and rooms, cobbled drive-ins, the presence of exclusive brands, new-age restaurants, spas and a digital art gallery. The three hotels have around 1,000 rooms.
New look: A renovated regular room at The Ashok in New Delhi. Photograph: Ramesh Pathania / Mint
“The focus of the entire renovation and upgradation drive is the 2010 Commonwealth Games. We will transform the three hotels into a food and beverages as well as a culture hub,” said Sudhir Sibal, vice-president (hotels) at ITDC, adding that the company was looking for private partners to drive the initiative.
The private partnerships ITDC is forging includes a tie-up with restaurateur A.D. Singh, who runs the Olive bar and restaurant here and in Mumbai.
Hotel Janpath, he added, will open a restaurant with fashion designer Rohit Bal. Singh said the outlet would be a lounge bar, to be opened in partnership with Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal and not branded Olive. Bal said his outlet would focus on Mediterranean cuisine.
Sibal said Hotel Janpath will be rebranded as a spa hotel, with 40 spa rooms of its total 210, and a seafood restaurant added at the property on one of the Capital’s main streets.
ITDC expects to lease space for the restaurant by end-September to the likes of Trishna, or Mahesh Lunch Home, popular seafood eateries in Mumbai. “We have heard from Janpath hotel late last week and if the proposal is good, we would like to come to Delhi,” said Praful Takle, manager at Trishna in Colaba, Mumbai. Mahendra Karkera, proprietor of Mahesh Lunch Home, who was travelling in London, was unreachable for comment.
The last time The Ashok was renovated was in 1998; the other two have never had an upgrade on such a scale.
Most of the Rs170 crore renovation budget will be spent at The Ashok, which will soak Rs146 crore in renovating around 250 rooms (of a total of 550), the convention centre, lobby and open spaces.
Half of this amount will come in form of a grant from the ministry of tourism and the remaining from ITDC’s own profits.
The project is expected to be ready by 2009-end, with the projected revenues at the property pegged at between Rs180 crore and Rs200 crore, up from an unaudited Rs140 crore in the fiscal year that ended on 31 March 2008.
ITDC plans to lease out space at The Ashok to premium international clothes and accessories brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Bulgari, and has asked shop owners at the property, who sell handicraft, to vacate the premises. Spokespersons for Louis Vuitton and Chanel said they were not in talks with ITDC yet.
Besides New Delhi’s three properties, 40 rooms at the Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok in Guwahati have been renovated as also 60 rooms at Hotel Jaipur Ashok. At both Hotel Patliputra Ashok in Patna and Hotel Kalinga Ashok in Bhubaneswar, a floor each is being upgraded to five-star standards and a banquet hall added.
Additional rooms are being added at Hotel Donyi Polo in Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) and one floor at Hotel Ranchi Ashok is being upgraded. At Hotel Pondicherry Ashok, plans have been approved for 10 cottage rooms and a wellness centre, which will include a swimming pool.
For the first quarter of fiscal 2009, ITDC reported a profit of Rs10.51 crore on revenues of Rs106.82 crore, most of which came from its hotels division.