Monday, November 22, 2010

Coimbatore to get first 5-star hotel

The high-end hospitality sector in Coimbatore is set to establish a new benchmark with the opening of the Rs 300-crore five-star deluxe hotel from the PGP Group under the ‘Le Royal Meridien' brand on Avinashi road near the airport on December 12.

While the city is geared to witness a rush of star hotels being launched in the next year or two, this may not result in a glut in view of the hectic industrial activity in the region and as its population profile and spending habits are different from cities like Chennai.

Speaking to The Hindu group here on Saturday, Dr Palani G. Periasamy, Chairman, Le Royal Meridien, Chennai (owned by Appu Hotels Ltd), said the nine-storey hotel has been established on 6.75 acres of land with a built up area of 7,00,000 sq ft.

It would be a very service-intensive hotel, having 256 rooms, employing about 600 people and managed by the Starwood Hotels group.

Coimbatore's advantages
Asked about the potential of the top-end hospitality sector in Coimbatore, particularly when the city may see nearly 1,000 star-category rooms being added within a short span, he said he wanted to create demand by providing the facility first.
Mr Periasamy pointed out that major towns surrounding Coimbatore — Karur, Erode, Tirupur, Pollachi, Udhagamandalam, etc. — had major and minor industries with international business transactions.
For these international customers quality accommodation was not available in Coimbatore and they had to stay in Bangalore or Chennai.
He said Coimbatore also enjoyed a crucial advantage in terms of spending population compared to even Chennai, where the big spenders are corporates, foreign tourists and high net-worth individuals.
The upper middle class population in Chennai was less in number, because the city had more salaried professionals, who had limited propensity to spend money on five-star comforts.
But in the Coimbatore region, because of extensive industrialisation, the upper middle income segment was very large with high spending potential, but till now they did not have an opportunity to spend.
He reasoned that the entry of a string of star hotels with high brand value, including the Taj Group, in the coming year or two into the city would “instead of diluting the market…strengthen the market”, particularly for promotion of the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) market. As the region has a good mix of consumers, creation of luxury products would meet the needs.
Expansion of the Coimbatore airport would be the icing on the cake.
Mr Periasamy said the hospitality sector which had earlier remained focused on the metros has started looking at tier-II cities such as Coimbatore, Kochi, Chandigarh, etc. Coimbatore is emerging as another Pune that has grown from a tier-II city into a metro.
As part of Le Royal Meridien, Chennai, there are now two hotels — at Chennai and Coimbatore — and another one on the ECR in Chennai was at the planning stage.
The holding company, Appu Hotels Ltd, manages a heritage luxury hotel at Kumbakonam, which belonged to Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation.
All group star hotels were under the same hotel brand because of operational advantages.

He said the Coimbatore hotel would have an exclusive entertainment centre designed by a company from Thailand that would be launched later in the hotel complex.
The hotel sports the latest LED technology designed by an Australian lighting consultant.
It would have a very large swimming pool built on the terrace and would be an intensively landscaped hotel.
The hotel ballroom would be the largest in Tamil Nadu with a seating capacity of 2,000.
The spa and health club would be family-centric with 30,000 sq ft space.
There would be three restaurants serving different cuisines like Italian, Chinese, Thai and Indian.
Asked about the tariff, Mr Periasamy observed “it will be compatible with what is ruling in Bangalore, Chennai” and it “would not be less expensive” and pricing-wise “definitely it would not be cheap”.
The management's emphasis was on quality and it would bring five-star comfort, luxury and resources to Coimbatore to enjoy which the people here now are going to Mumbai, Bangalore or Chennai.
He said the Coimbatore hotel would be the first hotel, since the Le Meridien brand was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc, in November 2005, to be launched in India under Le Meridien brand with new brand standards.
The hotel would be formally inaugurated by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr Mr M. Karunanidhi.

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