Kolkata: The Great Eastern Hotel in Kolkata is all set to get a makeover as Bharat Hotels decides to rebuild it into a five-star deluxe property, but not sacrificing its Victorian charm.
"We don't want to take away any of the heritage of Great Eastern out of Great Eastern Hotel in Kolkata. So, we want to reuse whatever we find, which has any historic value. It's going to get reused within the hotel and that which cannot get reused, will become part of our heritage gallery," says Chairperson and Managing Director of Bharat Hotels, Jyotsna Suri.
That's going to be the guiding principle for rebuilding The Great Eastern Hotel. While its 166-year old Victorian and Edwardian architecture would be preserved, the hotel would be turned into a deluxe property, six-star by Singapore standards.
And by mid-2008, when it reopens, The Great Eastern's going will have a new look altogether. "We are allowed to dream, aren't we?" says Jyotsna Suri.
Renovation of The Great Eastern is going to cost Rs 120 crore and that's a small sum compared with Bharat Hotels' total planned capex of Rs 1,000.
Four more properties in India already under planning, and negotiations are on for two more. Alongside, Bharat Hotels is also looking to expand overseas.
"Definitely, we are looking at prospects abroad. As and when they come by and over and above these projects, if a good opportunity comes our way, we will go for it," says Suri.
And it might not be too long before a deal is announced. Sources said talks were on for partnership with a group based in West Asia for building a 700-room five star hotel in Dubai, and to fund this massive expansion plan, Bharat Hotels is planning to raise up to Rs 450 crore through a public issue or private placement of shares.