The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Big gains for brand Bengal
- Hospitality gets address

The InterContinental brand is coming to town, riding a hospitality boom.

New Town, Rajarhat, is where a '250-to-300 room' five-star InterContinental will be ready to receive guests from 2008.

With over 534,200 rooms in 3,540 properties across 75 countries in six continents, the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is the world's largest luxury hotel chain. Bringing in the IHG expertise and expanse is local partner Shristi Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.

'We had bid with InterContinental for the five-star hotel project tendered by Hidco and have been awarded the contract. Our objective is to create a truly world-class hotel complex, which would significantly buoy the image of the city,' Hemant Kanoria, director, Shristi Infrastructure, told Metro on Wednesday.

While it's Shristi's responsibility to raise the Rs 300 crore required for the super-deluxe five-star property, IHG would come in with its expertise in designing and running the hotel, plus an existing network to attract international business and leisure tourists.

'We are now in the process of identifying the architect from a shortlist of leading names working in the US, the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong,' added Kanoria.

If the architecture firm for the design solution is to be picked in the next couple of months, Shristi and IHG hope to break ground by mid-2006, with a construction timeframe of 20 months.

InterContinental hotels, with an asset value of ' 1 billion-plus and some of the oldest hospitality brands in the world, are positioned as rendezvous for the affluent business traveller.

In Calcutta, it would aim to create a 'preferred place to meet, relax and dream'.

'Our strategy is to use the strength of our brand's portfolio, the breadth of its distribution, the diversity of our business models and the benefits of scale in order to drive growth and returns for our shareholders,' observed Rajiv Sharma, IHG's director of development, south-west Asia.

The New Town InterContinental hotel, to come up opposite the lakes off the Rajarhat expressway, would be a 'landmark infrastructure project, worthy of the gateway to Calcutta', promised Kanoria.

'It would be on a par with any InterContinental property anywhere in the world,' he added.

The design brief going out to the chosen architecture firm would clearly specify the need to be sensitive to the city's heritage and cultural roots. 'We want the property to be a perfect blend of modernity and tradition, with the finest of facilities,' stressed Kanoria.

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