Tata takes over Ritz

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, part of India`s premier business house, the Tata Group, with 76 luxury hotels worldwide, unfurled its distinctive white-and-gold flag over the 80-year-old classic Beaux Arts hotel facing the Boston Public Garden.

Houston, Jan 13: Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, part of India's premier business house, the Tata Group, with 76 luxury hotels worldwide, unfurled its distinctive white-and-gold flag over the 80-year-old classic Beaux Arts hotel facing the Boston Public Garden.

Taj Group bought the Ritz from Millennium Partners in a USD 170 million deal which officially closed on Thursday. The landmark property is Taj Hotels' second US hotel and is part of the company's highly selective global expansion plan.

In 2005, Taj Hotels entered into a lease agreement to operate and manage The Pierre, the luxurious landmark hotel on New York's Fifth Avenue.

The 273-room hotel officially became the Taj Boston at the ceremonial handover. Attending were Taj Hotels CEO Raymond Bickson, General Manager David Gibbons, numerous business, hospitality and neighborhood representatives, and a large contingent of the hotel's employees.

"We believe this is New England's finest hotel and Boston's premier social address, and we are honoured to continue its 80-year tradition of unrivalled hospitality with Taj's 100-year-plus commitment to elegant hotels and quintessential service," said Raymond Bickson, Managing Director and CEO, Indian Hotels Company Ltd, which operates Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

Gibbons said that apart from new signage, new employee uniforms, and various esthetic Taj touches, guests will immediately notice the legendary Taj service and style. The hotel underwent a $60 million restoration in 2002.

"This is a very exciting time to be entering the luxury hotel market in Boston," Gibbons noted. "The city is experiencing a strong economic resurgence and is attracting new business and leisure travelers. We look forward to providing a tradition of international hospitality and pampering that discerning travelers expect and deserve."

Pat Moscaritolo, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, attended the noon flagging event and welcomed Taj to Boston.

"It is a great benefit for Boston and Massachusetts to have a company as renowned as Taj to be the new stewards of this legendary building. Taj runs some of the most magnificent properties in the world. I can't think of a better fit for the city and state," Moscaritolo said.

In addition to the noon flagging ceremony, Bickson hosted an evening reception for over 200 guests at the Taj Boston Dining Room. With a legacy dating back to the launch of its landmark hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Mumbai, in 1903, the Taj portfolio worldwide today encompasses luxury and business hotels, and distinctive leisure resorts, including the award winning Taj Exotica Resort & Spa at Mauritius and the Maldives, 51 Buckingham Gate in London, and Blue, Woolloomooloo Bay in Sydney, amongst others.

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