Kochi: Gateway Hotels and Resorts, a part of the Taj Group, will open at least five new contemporary hotels in metro cities in India in the next two years, a top company official has said.
Five Gateway Hotels are in the final stages of construction at Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Faridabad, besides Hubli and will be ready in the next two years, Gateway Hotels and Resorts COO P K Mohankumar told.
The Chennai hotel would be the first one to be opened and will commence operations by March 2013, he said.
"The plan is to have multi-locational presence in each metro city. These hotels would have modern architecture and contemporary design. Also, in the pipeline are more Gateway City Business hotels in Tier-I and Tier-II cities," he said.
Management contracts have been signed for another 10 hotels in various locations, including Kholapur, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Pune, he said.
Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia's largest group of hotels, comprising 99 hotels, including 22 Gateway hotels, in 56 locations across India with an additional 16 International hotels, including in the Maldives, Malaysia, Australia, USA and Sri Lanka.
The 22 Gateway hotels also includes 11 resorts. A new resort is coming up at Shimla.
The Gateway hotels are getting more business class travellers from India and Asian countries, including China, Singapore and the Phillipines.
Mohankumar said Gateway was upbeat about further development in Kerala.
Taj group has eight properties in Kerala and another hotel is expected to be ready in two years time at nearby Kakkanad.      

Stating that Hotel brands are not investing in assets and are providing only technical expertise, he said: "We give them (hotel owners) technical expertise in architecutre, design, interior design. After completion, a management contract is signed. We bring in the brand to manage assets and this is how the future hotel business is going to be".
Mohankumar said Kerala has the potential for more business hotels. The need now was for international class convention centres, he said, adding the state should become a 365-day destination. Like Goa, which is sold out even during off season and has 80-90 per cent occupancy in the monsoon, Kerala should market itself well, he said.
To make the state more attractive destination, government should look at making ground handling charges at airports and taxes more competitive, Mohankumar,also Executive Member of Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association (FHRA) said.
Mohankumar said Kerala should aggresively promote Ayurveda treatments during the monsoon.
"We must make Ayurveda Sukhachikilsa more attractive and government should come up with more packages. It should also bring in stringent measures to ensure that only authentic resorts provide the treatments," he said.
This was an industry with huge employment potential. For every room created, a minimum of 16-18 people are given employment directly or indirectly. India has to recognise the Hotel industry as mainline economic activity, he said.
Mohankumar was here in connection with unveiling of a new Pan Asian restaurant 'Sian' which will cater to connoisseurs of the Orient and bar 'Swirl' at Gateway Hotel at Marine Drive here. This is the third such restaurant of Gateways hotels in the country.
The restaurant brings the original flavours of Japan, Thailand and China. Along with a host of classic Japanese dishes on offer is Sushi and a live Teppanyaki interactive counter, where guests can see their favourite dishes being prepared by the Teppan chef.
'Sake' -- a Japanese rice wine, Jasmine Tea served in canton pour, magic napkins which open up when water is poured and a private dining area are some of the highlights here.
Close to 23 Japanese dishes, 56 Chinese and 18 Thai dishes would be served here, Monica Lakhmana, Director Operations Gateway Hotels, said. Most ingredients used in the dishes are imported from Japan, China and Thailand.
This is the first Taj restaurant in Kerala serving Japanese food, she said.


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