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Taj to operate hotel in Saraya Islands

business Updated: Jan 11, 2008 21:25 IST
Lalatendu Mishra
Lalatendu Mishra
Hindustan Times
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A day after the Tata group made international headlines for developing the world's cheapest car, their hospitality wing, Taj Hotels, was chosen by Saraya Islands to manage one its six world-class five-star hotels scheduled to be operational in 2011. While Taj is one of the world's best hotel brands, Saraya Islands is an upcoming mixed-use resort destination in the Emirates of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE.



An agreement to this effect was signed on Friday between the management of Saraya Islands and Indian Hotels Company, which owns the Taj group of hotels. According to the agreement Taj will operate a Taj Exotica resort and spa in Saraya Islands. This hotel will include 180 guest rooms and suits, 30 bungalows, two restaurants, conference facilities, a spa and a health club. This property is expected to attract top-end leisure and business travelers across the globe.



"The project is at the planning stage and will be operational in three years. We decided to partner with the Taj group as they are one of the most renowned hospitality providers in the world and we wanted to provide the best to our visitors," said Mahdhar Al Tamimi, general manager, Saraya Islands.



"This is a part of our global strategy to expand in emerging markets and we are looking for right opportunities across the globe. Leisure and hospitality in the Gulf region is growing exponentially and in line with our strategic intent. It is important for Taj to be present in this region, which is rapidly growing into a tourism hub of the future," said Raymond N Bickson, MD and CEO, Indian Hotels Company.



Saraya Islands, occupying two-thirds of a pristine 7 km long island running parallel to the Ras Al Khaimah coastline, comprises 1.4 million square metres of which 65 per cent is developable. A consortium is developing the island.



The Taj group is developing several projects in West Asia, including projects in Palm Island and Doha. It is also looking for opportunities to set up hotels in China, Vietnam, the Philippines and other Asian countries.



"This year, we will add 15-20 hotels in all categories with an additional inventory of 10,000 rooms. The hospitality sector is growing and the country can support double the existing 86,000 hotel room inventory," Bickson said. The company will launch a rights issue this quarter to raise $600 million to meet aggressive capital investment plans.