IHCL Expands Footprint: Taj's Signature Hospitality Coming to Bhutan

IHCL Expands Footprint: Taj's Signature Hospitality Coming to Bhutan

By Author

Published on November 11, 2023

Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) has recently inked agreements for two new Taj-branded hotels in Bhutan, marking a significant expansion in the region. These upcoming hotels, located in Phobjikha and Paro, are both Brownfield projects, emphasizing IHCL's dedication to extending its presence in key leisure destinations. Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and CEO of IHCL, expressed excitement about bringing the iconic Taj brand to the Kingdom of Bhutan, highlighting the country's breathtaking natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

The Taj resort in Paro, featuring 45 keys, sprawls across 7.6 acres surrounded by protected forests, creating a tranquil oasis in harmony with nature. The property, graced by a flowing stream, will offer guests an all-day diner, speciality restaurant, and bar. Additionally, recreational amenities include an indoor swimming pool, gym, spa, and meeting facilities. Paro, steeped in history, presents sacred sites and historical buildings against a backdrop of snow-capped Himalayan peaks.

In the enchanting Phobjikha valley, the Taj resort, with 34 keys, covers 3.5 acres and promises an adventurous retreat. The property will house an all-day diner, alfresco speciality restaurant, bar, along with spa and fitness facilities. Phobjikha offers opportunities for mountain treks and visits to the venerable Gangtey Monastery, all within a serene environment that leaves a lasting impression.

Dr. Binod Chaudhary, Chairman of CG Corp Global and CG Hospitality Global, emphasized the sustainability core of these two Bhutan hotels. The properties aim to showcase a unique blend of traditional Bhutanese charm and Taj's renowned hospitality, providing travelers an unforgettable stay in the Himalayan kingdom. This venture further solidifies the longstanding partnership between IHCL and the CG Group, spanning 25 years and 12 assets across six countries.

Bhutan, celebrated for its natural beauty, also serves as a hub for pilgrim and wellness tourism. The strategic addition of Taj-branded hotels reflects IHCL's commitment to enhancing the leisure and hospitality experience in the region. The company's portfolio, including iconic brands like Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta, and Ginger, continues to offer a fusion of warm Indian hospitality and world-class service.

IHCL's growth trajectory remains robust, with 276 hotels currently under management and 83 more under development globally. The company, founded by Jamsetji Tata, opened its first hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace, in Bombay in 1903. IHCL is recognized as India's largest hospitality company by market capitalization, with a strong presence across continents and a commitment to delivering exceptional experiences to its guests.


TUI Group Expands Hotel Operations into Sub-Saharan Africa

TUI Group Expands Hotel Operations into Sub-Saharan Africa

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 20, 2024

TUI Group, a prominent tourism organization based in Germany, is set to expand its footprint in the hotel industry by venturing into Sub-Saharan Africa. Building upon its robust presence in North Africa where it operates 76 hotels, TUI plans to introduce eight new properties across several key destinations including Cape Verde, The Gambia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Kenya.

The expansion not only signifies TUI's growth strategy but also marks the launch of its new luxury hotel brand, The Mora, with its inaugural property, The Mora Zanzibar, slated to open soon. This luxury brand is designed to offer contemporary luxury and tailored services, setting a new standard in high-end hospitality in the region.

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Artur Gerber, Managing Director of TUI Blue, highlighted the strategic intent behind the expansion: “With our diverse hotel brands, we aim to create novel hotel experiences in Africa for various target groups—from budget-friendly holidays at TUI Suneo to luxury experiences at The Mora. We are excited about contributing to the African hospitality sector and collaborating with local communities.”

In addition to The Mora, TUI is also introducing the TUI BLUE Watamu in Kilifi County, Kenya. This 117-room hotel represents the first TUI Blue branded hotel in Kenya and is being developed in partnership with Sands of Darakasi Resorts.

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Wesam Okasha, Head of Global Development at TUI Blue, emphasized the collaborative efforts: “This project in East Africa is a prime example of our commitment to sharing our expertise and developing new hotels on the African continent in partnership with local entities. We are actively seeking further franchise opportunities to continue our expansion.”

TUI Group’s strategic focus in East Africa includes key destinations like Mauritius, Tanzania, and Kenya, with a current portfolio that boasts over 90 hotels and more than 30,000 rooms across seven countries. This expansion aligns with TUI’s broader goal to diversify its global presence and enhance its offerings in emerging tourism markets.


Extendam Acquires Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla

Extendam Acquires Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on April 18, 2024

Extendam, a prominent player in the hospitality sector, has made waves with its recent acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla Hotel from Aliseda Inmobiliaria, a subsidiary of Blackstone. This strategic move adds another gem to Extendam's portfolio, marking its seventh operation in Spain.

Strategically located in Seville's bustling Torneo Empresarial business district, the 4-star hotel boasts 140 keys, a restaurant, fitness center, and meeting rooms, making it an ideal choice for both business and leisure travelers. Notably, the hotel underwent a refurbishment of its common areas in 2023, ensuring a contemporary and inviting ambiance for guests.

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Partnering with Continuum Hospitality Group for operations, Extendam is poised to offer exceptional services and experiences to patrons of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla. With its prime location adjacent to a bus and metro station, proximity to San Pablo airport and Santa Justa train station, and easy access to Seville's attractions, the hotel caters to a diverse clientele.

Jean-Marc Palhon, President of Extendam, expressed optimism about the investment, citing Seville's robust tourism sector and favorable market conditions. He highlighted Seville's status as the fourth most visited city in Spain, emphasizing its resilience to seasonality and potential for revenue growth.

Continuum Hospitality Group's expertise in the Spanish market further solidifies Extendam's confidence in this venture. The partnership underscores Extendam's commitment to delivering excellence while adhering to stringent ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards set by both Extendam and the Hilton brand.

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In line with Hilton's sustainability initiatives, the hotel management will prioritize environmental conservation, particularly in addressing water scarcity and reducing energy consumption.

The transaction received support from BPCE and CBRE, further underscoring the collaborative efforts behind this successful endeavor.

Extendam's acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla Hotel reflects its strategic vision and commitment to enhancing the hospitality landscape in Spain. With a focus on quality, sustainability, and guest satisfaction, Extendam and its partners are set to elevate the guest experience while driving value for stakeholders in the vibrant city of Seville.


Saudi Arabia Announces Plans for Oxagon, the World’s Largest Floating Structure in Neom

Saudi Arabia Announces Plans for Oxagon, the World’s Largest Floating Structure in Neom

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 17, 2024

Saudi Arabia is set to redefine industrial and economic development with its ambitious project, Oxagon, touted to be the world's largest floating structure. Part of the expansive Neom development in the northeastern region of the Kingdom, Oxagon is strategically positioned on the Red Sea, near the bustling shipping lanes of the Suez Canal.

Designed with a unique octagonal shape, Oxagon will combine onshore and offshore developments with a significant portion extending into the Red Sea. The city is planned to serve as both a port and a logistics hub, enhancing Neom's role as a centre powered by renewable energy within Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative. This initiative aims to diversify the nation’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

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One of the project’s striking features will be the division between the land-connected base and its massive floating counterpart, which is claimed to be the largest of its kind globally. The floating section is expected to feature innovative water-filled squares and small canals, a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, and an oceanographic research centre.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasised that Oxagon will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification in Neom and across the Kingdom. He noted, "Oxagon will contribute to redefining the global approach to industrial development in the future, focusing on environmental protection while simultaneously creating job opportunities and stimulating economic growth."

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The project also aims to enhance Saudi Arabia's role in regional and global trade, positioning Neom as a new key player in international trade flows. This development is part of the broader Neom project, which includes various other futuristic initiatives like The Line, a 170-kilometre-long city designed to house nine million people with minimal environmental impact.

As Oxagon takes shape, it stands as a testament to Saudi Arabia's forward-thinking approach to blending advanced technology with sustainable urban planning. However, the Neom project continues to face scrutiny over sustainability practices and the impacts on local communities, highlighting the challenges of undertaking such transformative developments.

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