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Goa next in list for Sun-n-Sand — Pune operations commence

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PUNE, Nov. 28

THE Mumbai-based Sun-n-Sand Hotels is on the lookout for a running property in Goa to complement its existing properties in western India and is likely to tie up a deal in this direction in the next one year.

Talking to newspersons here, Sun-n-Sand Director, Mr Rajesh Advani, said the company, which already has two running five-star properties in Mumbai and Shirdi, was on expansion mode and had recently commenced operations in Pune at a 115-room property (erstwhile Holiday Inn, Pune) which it acquired recently.

Mr Advani said the Sun-n-Sand management would now work towards re-branding the hotel with a series of events, which would seek to retain the erstwhile hotel's existing clientele and bring in new ones. "We have begun with undertaking to honour the commitment made to all members of the Holiday Inn's First Choice Club loyalty programme," Mr Advani said, adding that Sun-N-Sand would kick off its own loyalty programme, Sun Shine Club, in the Pune hotel in a phased manner.

The hotel, which has one of Mumbai's finest banqueting facilities and is known for its Indian and continental food, was toying with the idea of introducing its popular `Kebab Hut' restaurant in the Pune property, but would only take the final decision on this after a series of food festivals which would leverage the Mumbai hotel's reputation for serving fine food, Mr Advani said. Over the next few months the hotel would hold a series of food festivals beginning with a kebab festival, he said.

"The Pune property already has an ethnic Indian food restaurant and there is no point in shutting it down just so that we can bring in a new brand," he said. Mr Advani, however, said the hotel's F&B outlets would possibly have a new menu soon with help from chefs from the Mumbai Sun-n-Sand. The group, incidentally, runs Jewel of India, a dining restaurant at Worli in Mumbai, which is a favourite with the city's party people.

Sun-n-Sand, it may be recalled, is equal partners in Classic City Investments which recently bought the erstwhile Holiday Inn property for Rs 29.80 crore at an auction after its original owners, Ram Laxman Hotels, ran into trouble with the IndusInd Bank whose dues it failed to clear.

The new management is now gearing up with plans for the hotel, which includes a total revamp and upgradation of its existing gym. Sun-n-Sand, Mumbai is partners in F2Fun to Fitness, a company that acquired the master franchise for the world's largest gym chain, Gold's gym, in March this year. The management will now leverage its expertise in the fitness business to set up a world-class gym at the hotel, Mr Advani said.

Mr Juzer Latif, Sun-n-Sand's Executive Assistant Manager, said the hotel has already transferred banqueting bookings from the original hotel and has retained all its 200-plus staff in the new set-up. In addition it has also retained all its corporate bookings and is now working on a room loyalty programme to complement its F&B loyalty programme.

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