Expanding its luxuriousness to NCR, India, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is working with infrastructure company 3Cs on a hotel and branded residences for HNIs
By: Suman Tarafdar
Posted on: November 7, 2013
Globally, the name Four Seasons has, for nearly half a century, been a byword for luxury. Addresses bearing its name, whether hotels, and later private residences, have attracted the crème de la crème to stay. Come for a night and stay forever, is the promise held out for those with deep pockets.
Well, this Toronto, Canada headquartered luxury hospitality chain is finally making a much anticipated foray in north India. The chain will be part of a 12.5 acre mixed use development project which will see a Four Seasons hotel, besides Four Seasons branded residences, offices and luxury retail space in a nine tower complex that is under construction and expected to open in 2016.
Setting up quite a humungous project, three towers will be residential and five commercial, while the hotel will have its own tower, all of which are to be connected by a skybridge. About 3.5 million square feet of area would be developed in this project, comprising 2 million square feet of office space and 3,00,000 square feet of luxury retail. The 3Cs Company, which is developing the mixed-use project 'Delhi One' at Noida, says it expects the total cost to be around Rs 3,500 crore once completed. The Delhi One project is also funded by Red Fort Capital. It is situated at the Delhi border, and expects easy access to central and south Delhi.
The five star hotel will have 300 keys and will occupy one of the towers in the complex. The hotel is expected to set benchmarks for a city hotel in the region. An 80 year contract has been signed between the partners. The project is also aiming for a LEED Gold certification.
Four Seasons will also offer 180 posh branded residences in this project which will be sold by invitation. Mr Vidur Bhardwaj, Director, 3Cs said the expected cost of the 7,500 square feet apartments would be between Rs 22,000 and Rs 26,000 per square feet. Back of the envelope calculations put the price between Rs 15 and 20 crore for an apartment. Buyers will have a choice between themed interiors like Manhattan, London and Hollywood!
Taking it head on
Mr Chris Hart, President, Asia Pacific Hotel Operation, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, also announced that they will have four hotel properties by 2018 as they are optimistic about the long term growth prospects of the country.
The hospitality chain has only one operational hotel in India, in Mumbai, which opened in 2008. It is working on three more projects in Bangalore and Goa besides Delhi. The Bangalore project is slated to open in 2015, Delhi-NCR by 2016-end, and Goa by 2018. “We have been looking at India for a long time. Now we have one under construction property at Bangalore, one in Delhi-NCR and the third one is in planning and development stage in Goa. So, we now are looking at four tangible projects in India,” said Mr Hart.
He added that India is a long term market with huge growth potential, and Four Seasons was not influenced by the slowdown. “India has a growing middle class, its population is increasing,” he said. He also said there was ample scope for luxury residences. “There is enough room for us (luxury segment) at the top of the bracket.”
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has 92 properties in 38 countries, with 24 of them in Asia. It also has a pipeline of about 60 projects under various stages of development around the world, nearly three quarters of which are in emerging markets. Hart said that out of 92 Four Seasons hotels, 27 have a residential component.
While in most locations around the globe, the hotels and residences are together, there are locations where they are separate as well, a model the company is comfortable with as it looks ahead to consolidating its presence in emerging markets.
Four Seasons started rather humbly in 1961 as a motor hotel, and its turn towards luxury came in 1970 with the opening of the London hotel. While Mr Isadore Sharp, Founder & Chairman, continues to lead the company, the group suffered financially in the previous decade, till a buyout in 2007 changed the ownership structure. Today 47.5 per cent of the shares each are with Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment and Saudi Arabia’s leading company Kingdom Holding Company, while Sharp owns the rest.
Suman Tarafdar is a journalist and writer based in Delhi. He has worked with a number of leading Indian media organisations, and writes on various aspects of luxury, lifestyle and culture. When not writing to earn a living, he likes to travel, read, cook, chat, shop and watch all kinds of soppy stuff on TV. Yes, current politics bothers him.