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Chatwal plans 'Dream' debut in India

IANS
Aug 31, 2006 at 10:08am IST

New Delhi: Prominent Indian American Indian hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal will invest Rs 10 billion ($215 million) on bringing his 'Dream' range of boutique hotels to five Indian cities and hopes to have at three least up and running less than two years from now.

"We are looking at properties in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. We should close at least three deals by the end of the year and have them running 18 months from then," Chatwal said. Each hotel will have 200-400 beds.

"We have been working on the project for the last one year and are confident of getting the necessary clearances soon," Chatwal said in a telephonic interview from Bangkok, where he has just opened the first of the 'Dream' range of hotels.

DREAM DEBUT: Sant Singh Chatwal’s son Vikram Chatwal will be helping his father to bring his Dream hotels.

Chatwal's $750 million Hampshire Hotels & Resorts runs 13 hotels offering between them 3,000 rooms in the US, making him the biggest independent operator in the country. The Thailand venture is his first foray into Asia where, apart from India, he also aims to establish a presence in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

The politically active Chatwal is known to rub shoulders with the likes of former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Senator Hillary Clinton. He had made headlines earlier this year when he hosted a series of ostentatious receptions to celebrate the wedding of his son Vikram Chatwal with Delhi socialite Priya Sachdev.

To go by what Chatwal has created in Bangkok, it will truly be a dream experience for guests when the Indian hotels open their doors. "It will be your dream, we'll just provide the room service," he explained tantalisingly.

"As the elevator door opens, you are in a world dedicated to dreams. Indigo blue corridors of soft, washed lights lead you to your room. Plasma TV, iPods, DVD players and Wi-Fi connections make for a business-like atmosphere. And, when it's time to retire, ethereal lighting seeps from under the bed, giving you the impression of floating on a cloud," Chatwal elaborated.

"The blue light therapy makes for a deep sleep," he added. Apart from speciality food outlets and bars, the hotels will also boast a spa offering a luxurious air-conditioned environment and superior treatments suites like steam rooms and showers.

Adjacent to this will be a gymnasium with a full selection of high-quality equipment and personal trainers. Like the US properties, the Indian and other Asian ventures will be built and managed in-house, with the money being raised through a combination of internal resources and market borrowings.

"I don't believe in tie-ups. We have set standards that are greatly appreciated by their guests as is reflected in our return bookings. We will aim to build on this," Chatwal maintained.

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