ITC today launched its imposing Grand Chola, a 600-key luxury hotel in Chennai. Inaugurated by J. Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, this hotel is the company’s biggest property in the country and “the world’s largest LEED Platinum green hotel (an eco certificate).”

Third largest hotel in India

In terms of room inventory, this will be the third largest hotel in the country, after Renaissance (759 keys) and Grand Hyatt (694 keys) — both in Mumbai.

The company has invested over Rs 1,200 crore in the property which spreads over eight acres of land.

Designed to “recall the grandeur and lifestyle of the imperial Chola dynasty,” the integrated upmarket hotel complex also houses one lakh sq.ft. of conference and exhibition facilities, which, according to the company, is by far the biggest in the country — 10 food and beverage outlets, a spa, a preview theatre and 40,000 sq.ft. of retail space. It will carry the tag of ‘Luxury Collection’ — one of the brands franchised from the US-based international hospitality group, Starwood Hotels. This is the ninth ‘Luxury Collection’ hotel of the group.

Addressing the media at a conference organised here to mark the launch of the property today, Y.C. Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC Ltd, said this kind of banqueting space will market Chennai in a big way, and will bring in a lot of new businesses.

Though at present, Chennai seems to be a little “over-supplied market,” the city needs such a product, “as we see greater demand in the months to come,” he said. According to industry experts, with 0.55 rooms per every 1,000 people, Chennai has the lowest hotel room penetration among the major cities. For example, Mumbai has 0.57 rooms, New Delhi has 0.59; Hyderabad 0.62 and Bangalore 0.84 room per 1,000 people.

Intended to be a game-changer, will Grand Chola cannibalise ITC’s other properties in the city, and eat into the market share of other brands for the time being? “Yes, it will. But, every brand has to compete,” said Deveshwar.

ravikumar.ramanujam@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 15, 2012)
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