Chandigarh gets ready for hotel boom

August 19th, 2011 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Aug 19 (IANS) Chandigarh is all set to roll out the red carpet for visitors with a number of hotels being planned or opening in and around the city, adding nearly 3,000 rooms to the existing 1,000-plus in the next couple of years.

Big names like Sheraton, Taj Gateway, The Lalit, ITC Fortune, Radisson and ITDC Ashok are in the pipeline to open their facilities in and around the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana - which is all of 114 sq km.

These names will add to the existing list of top-end hotels like Taj-GVK, JW Marriot and the government-owned Hotel Mountview and Shivalikview.

“The hotel industry which came here earlier saw a lot of potential in and around the city. Some of the projects like an international airport, amusement park, film city and others have either been delayed or scrapped.

“Things may not be as rosy for new players, but many are still coming,” Taj-Chandigarh general manager Anil Malhotra told IANS.

After creating its brand with the JW Marriott at Juhu-Mumbai, Marriott International, which has 42 JW hotels in 22 countries, came with its second JW of India in Chandigarh.

The five-star luxury hotel, with 170 rooms, started operations in the city in June-end.

Said Rajeev Menon, Marriott International’s area Vice-President India, Australia, Malaysia and Maldives, at the opening of the hotel recently: “The opening of a JW Marriott hotel in Chandigarh is a great milestone for us as Chandigarh is the best-planned city in India with architecture that is world- renowned and a quality of life that is unparalleled.”

With limited space in the city, hotel groups are buying land to set up new hotels in its industrial area, which is closer to the airport. Sheraton, Taj Gateway, Lemon Tree, Hometel and others will all be located in the industrial area.

“Chandigarh has emerged as a commercial and tourism hub for the region,” said Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) general manager-tourism Arvind Malhotra.

“There is scope for big luxury hotels. Big names like JW Marriot, Taj and Sheraton have invested here,” he added.

Residents and visitors from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are also excited about the newer hotels.

They say they would no longer have to compromise with limited options like government-owned hotels.

“With new hotels, Chandigarh will certainly become more happening. The competition will ensure that people will get best services,” said Chandigarh-based author Khushwant Singh whose book “Turbaned Tornado” was formally launched in July.

The number of hotels in the one- to three-star category is also rapidly increasing in and around the city. With budget tourists coming to Le Corbusier’s planned city all the year around, these hotels offer facilities to them.

Some of the hotels are coming up in the vicinity of Chandigarh, including at Zirakpur, which is well-known in the region as the wedding capital of Punjab given the large number of marriage palaces there.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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