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NRI to build new hotel near Heathrow

world Updated: Sep 04, 2007 15:37 IST
UK Indian

Surinder Arora, who arrived in the UK from India in 1972 woefully short of money, went on to become a property developer and is now building a new hotel that will link directly to Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport.

The hotel, called Sofitel London Heathrow, will cost 180 million pounds and will feature a bridge connecting one of its five steel-and-glass atriums to the terminal building, which is due to open in March next year.

It will be one of the largest high-end airport hotels in Europe. The Sofitel, due to open in the spring, will house more than 1,300 people in 600 rooms and is the largest new hotel planned for London before the Olympics in 2012.

As Arora grew up in Britain, he invested family savings in property, buying a row of derelict houses opposite Heathrow. He eventually bulldozed them to make way for his first hotel, according to the Evening Standard.

He now has two hotels at Gatwick, two at Heathrow and one in Manchester city centre. He is also building one at the Oval cricket ground.

Arora told the newspaper: "Sofitel London Heathrow at Terminal 5 is set to become the gateway to the world. As the world focuses its attention more on our capital city and Heathrow airport in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games, the new Sofitel will represent world-class hospitality, with the luxury and comfort you'd expect from the Sofitel brand, along with the convenience and ease the modern-day traveller needs and expects."

It will become the third largest convention space in Europe, with conference facilities for up to 1,700 delegates or banqueting facilities for up to 1,000. Sections of the hotel have been designed on the theme of continents of the world.

The reception area will aim to evoke Antarctica, with a fountain cascading from a mirrored ceiling into the centre of a block of chiselled rock in a raised pool. The entrance hall will include a huge ice cube, lit from within, with a mirrored chandelier above.

Public areas next to the reception will be decorated to look like Africa, Europe and the Americas, while the lobby lounge will feature a floating fireplace and an ice bar. Wall hangings in each of the bedrooms will feature views of London's historic landmarks.