Riverside luxury in reborn township

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  • Published 4.10.07

Start your day with nine holes of golf. Have business meetings downtown — a 25-minute drive away; return to the lure of a candle-lit dinner on the river or simply relax on the promenade.

You can do all this at the Holiday Inn resort, set to come up inside Calcutta Riverside, a part of the Rs 1,400-crore Batanagar rejuvenation project. The 200-room property, with 50 serviced apartments along with a golf course, will be the first of the chain in the state, located on the Hooghly.

The Rs 150-crore “international, four-star deluxe” resort is expected to be opened to guests in 40 months. Holiday Inn is owned by the UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which licences it out to franchisees and third parties who operate hotels under management agreements.

The Holiday Inn chain of resorts was founded in 1952 in Memphis, Tennessee, by homebuilder Kemmons Wilson to provide “inexpensive family accommodation” for travellers within the US.

In India, the chain has properties in Goa, Manali, Jaipur, Agra, Khajuraho and Mumbai.

“This will probably be the first resort in the country to have a golf course and a riverfront promenade. The Calcutta Riverside Holiday Inn will also bring to us an experience akin to some the popular waterfront food-and-beverage zones in Bangkok, Singapore, Paris and Amsterdam,” observes a veteran in the hospitality industry.

With an 800-bed multi-speciality hospital also tied up with the Asia Heart Foundation, and international alliances for a “knowledge village” being completed, the contours of the 256.94-acre Batanagar redevelopment are now firmly in place.

Riverbank Holdings (a 50:50 joint venture between Bata India Ltd and Calcutta Metropolitan Group Ltd), implementing Calcutta Riverside, is in the process of tying up with Dulwich College, London, and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, among others, for the knowledge campus.

“We will also be raising $30 million by way of equity for our 25-acre IT SEZ,” says Sumit Dabriwal, the managing director of Riverbank Holdings. The company has cancelled its letter of intent with Reliance Retail for anchoring its 440,000-sq-ft mall. “Instead, Pantaloon Retail will do a large Home Town format and a Big Bazaar,” Dabriwal adds.