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Sarovar Hotels aims to hit century by 2020

The Sarovar group, has 4,895 rooms in operational hotels across various destinations.

Chandigarh: With a portfolio of 60 hotels across 40 destinations in India and abroad, the Sarovar hotels and resorts group is all set to scale up its expansion plans to target 100 properties by 2020 even as it focusses on the growing religious tourism market.

The Sarovar group, which has 4,895 rooms in operational hotels across various destinations, is aiming to add another 1,673 rooms within the next two years.

"With a portfolio of 60 hotels across 40 destinations, Sarovar Hotels is strongly rooted in the Indian hospitality scene today. The company aspires to achieve the 100-hotel target by 2020," group managing director Anil Madhok told IANS.

In 2011, Sarovar Hotels launched 12 hotels across India. They were in Navi Mumbai, Delhi(two), Jaipur, Faridabad, Hyderabad, Rajkot, Roorkee, Pune, Ahmedabad, Ghaziabad and Bengaluru. Four hotels were launched this year in Chandigarh, Vayalar (Kerala), Koramangala (Bengaluru) and Naraina in New Delhi.

Two more hotels, The Heron Portico in Nairobi(Kenya) and one in Delhi's Shahadra area will be launched in November and December. This will be followed by six more hotels to be launched in 2013 in Santiniketan, Solapur, Thekkady, Bhiwadi, Jaisalmer and Jalandhar.

The group has two properties operational outside India at present. These include the New Africa hotel and Casino in Dar-e-Salaam, Tanzania, and Ole-Sereni Hotel in Nairobi(Kenya).

The Sarovar group manages hotels in the 3-star, 4-star and 5-star categories. Its brands include the Premiere, Portico, Hometel, Park Plaza and Park Inn. It also manages corporate hospitality services at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, Hindustan Unilever Limited's training centre in Mumbai and the new campus of the Indian School of Business (ISB) at Mohali.

It also owns 'Geoffrey's', the popular English pub brand at multiple destinations across the country.

Culturally rich and spiritual destinations in the country will also now be the focus of the Sarovar group. It has announced that it will be ready with a hotel in Amritsar, home to the holiest of Sikh shrines 'Harmandar Sahib', popularly known as the Golden Temple, in 2014.

Sensing the gap in demand and supply of hotel rooms, the Sarovar group is looking at setting up 3-star and 4-star hotels in religious and culturally rich towns across India.

While the group has set up hotels in Badrinath, Haridwar, Rajkot and Nashik, new ones are coming up in Amritsar, Bodh Gaya, Tirupati and Rishikesh.

The 50-room hotel in the Sikh holy city will cater to the growing demand of millions of tourists coming there annually from all over the world.

"This will be our first hotel in Amritsar and we will cater to the growing number of tourists and pilgrims who visit the city for Golden Temple and the nearby Attari-Wagah border. We believe that brands like Portico have maximum potential to grow in this market as it is an ideal combination of quality and hospitality," Madhok said.

The Sarovar group has a strong presence in northern India and has plans for further expansion in the region.

"Out of 60 Sarovar hotels, our maximum presence is in northern India, which continues to be our potentially strong base. We already have a presence in Punjab with two hotels in Chandigarh. We also manage corporate hospitality services at ISB at Mohali and have upcoming hotel projects at Zirakpur and Derabassi (both adjoining Chandigarh). The most recent addition is Amritsar which is an important tourist destination," Pradeep Kalra, senior vice president, sales and marketing, of the group, told reporters.

The Sarovar group is also looking to cater to the huge NRI market that Punjab has to offer.

"Punjab is one of the most progressive states in India and is on a high growth path. Punjab also has a large NRI population that keeps coming back home. This offers a great opportunity for weddings, social gatherings and hotel business in this region," Kalra added.