Leela Hotels and Resorts, the Indian chain established by self-made businessman Capt C P Krishnan Nair, intends to strengthen its presence on the sub-continent before expanding overseas.
“Since we aim to become the leading luxury hotel group, we don’t want to start cutting corners on our service standards and quality,” said Onno Poortier, the Group’s president.
To further this goal, the company is investing nearly US$500 million over the next three years to develop high-end properties and refurbish its existing hotels, bringing them in line with contemporary tastes. Kicking off the activity is the 300-room Leela Kempinski Gurgaon Delhi, set to open in November, which veteran hotelier Poortier believed was “the first city’s first luxury hotel in nearly 20 years”.
The Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur and Leela Palace Kempinski Chennai follow suit in 2009, with properties in Hyderabad, Pune and again in New Delhi in the year after. Kerala and Jaipur are also in the pipeline.
Capitalising on the unique Indian style of hospitality, the Leela Group has a training school near its flagship Leela Kempinski Mumbai. Says Poortier: “The Indian people are enormously willing to serve, and that’s our advantage.”
Margie T Logarta