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Taj group expands in Australia

The 100 room, five-year old hotel, located on The Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo Bay, would now be formally known as Blue.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 14:13 IST
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Indian Hotels Co (IHCL) has recently acquired W Hotel, one of the best known hotels in Australia, for 36 million Australian dollars.

The Indian hotel group in the waterside Wooloomooloo as its first acquisition in this part of the world. The purchase marked the entry of IHCL, the owners and operators of prestigious Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, in the country.

The 100 room, five-year old hotel, located on The Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo Bay, would now be formally known as Blue which would also be the name of the four-star hotel chain planned by IHCL.

The iconic Woollomooloo Hotel is considered to be among the top hotels in Australia.

The Mumbai-based Tata Group's hospitality subsidiary is also reported to be interested in acquiring hotels in nearby Fiji and other picturesque Pacific island nations. Tahiti has also figured in the news stories as one of the likely destination for the Tatas

IHCL Managing Director Raymond Bickson said that he has informed the industry circles that the Indian group is also keen in acquiring more properties in Australia. "We are looking for a city hotel in Melbourne," he told reporters yesterday.

"It could either be a luxury hotel for our Taj brand or a second Blue hotel in Australia," he said.

Oberoi Hotels, also of India, already owns perhaps the most prestigious Australian hotel, The Windsor in Melbourne.

IHCL group, which is India's largest hotel operator and has a market capitalisation of 1 billion US dollars (approx 1.35 billion Australian dollars), also plans to expand the Tata group's Taj Exotica Resort & Spa chain in Australia.

"We see Australia as the market for the high-end leisure market and it will open up the South Pacific for us," he said.

"We want to be in Fiji and Tahiti," Mr Bickson told the News Corporation newspapers.

The Taj group is not totally new to this region as they had opened a marketing office here three years ago. With the burgeoning Indo-Australian bilateral trade links, more interest for Indian tourist destinations and improved air services between the two countries, the group sales are rocketing.

Mr Bickson said the group, operator of 73 hotels, also intends to acquire 10 more overseas hotels in 2006.

The IHCL managing director also revealed his plans to increase the total number of rooms under management and owned from 8500 to 20,000 within five years.

The group assumed management rights of the legendary Pierre Hotel in New York.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 14:13 IST