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Taj Group plans expansion in Delhi and Mumbai

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Involves building new and taking over old hotels

Pinning hopes on a strong post-pandemic recovery, Tata Group’s Taj Hotels is charting a careful growth path and feels that the mega metro regions of Delhi and Mumbai could have at least 25 properties each across its brands. It currently has over 15 properties in Delhi NCR and over 10 in Mumbai.

In Mumbai, Taj parent Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) has begun demolishing its old flight kitchen near the airport’s Terminal 2 to make way for a 371-room flagship Ginger — its “lean lux” brand. “The flagship Ginger will be ready in 20 months and the cost of construction is about Rs 200 crore,” Puneet Chhatwal, MD and CEO of IHCL, told The Times of India.

It is also drawing up plans to build a new hotel on the city’s once-glamorous Sea Rock Hotel. During the pandemic last year, IHCL had raised its stake from 75% to 100%. The hotel was demolished in 2009 when the Bandra Worli sea link had opened. “There is a road between Sea Rock and Taj Lands End that leads to Bandra Fort. Once we redevelop it, the view of the sea will remain uninterrupted. We are drawing up plans for Sea Rock and will propose a small bridge to link the two properties. Once complete with the rebuilt Sea Rock and the bridge, this area can be a landmark for this part of Mumbai. We will work closely with the state government,” Chhatwal said.

The biggest catch, however, could be in Delhi where the government is planning to hand over the management control of the sprawling 25-acre Ashoka Hotel in the heart of Delhi’s prime diplomatic area Shantipath.

“We will carefully evaluate all the options in the market and take an informed decision once the terms (of Ashoka’s management change to private hands) are known,” said Chhatwal, who was in Delhi for the opening of the renovated The Chambers at Taj Mahal, Mansingh Road.

The Modi government is finally planning to implement its old plan for handing over management control of Ashoka to private players. The 1956-era prime property is long past its heyday due to poor upkeep and maintenance.

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