Jungle Lodges and Resorts set to take over Lalitha Mahal Palace

Considered to be one among the most opulent hotels in the country, Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel is all set to be handed over Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR), a unit of Government of Karnataka’s Tourism Department, which runs resorts across the State.

After the Union government decided against the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) running any hotel outside the national capital, and decided to transfer the hotel to the State government, an order was issued on February 7 to entrust the hotel to JLR.

The hotel will be transferred to JLR by March 31. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed between ITDC and the State government over the transfer. “Only the transactional agreement is pending as the State government is yet to pay the ₹7.45 crore to the Centre for the handover,” said officials familiar with the developments.

The hotel’s transfer of ownership is taking place months after the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 20, 2017, approved transfer of the hotel, being run by ITDC, to the State government.

Joseph Mathias, general manager of Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, who confirmed the transfer of the property to JLR, said the hotel had begun making profits in the last two years and was profitable “as on date”.

Over the last two years, the hotel has been promoted and marketed as a “destination for weddings and conferences”. “We had started offering packages to visitors, and opening the hotel to the public and tourists during the day,” Mr. Mathias said.

“Several members of the public and tourists had begun visiting the palatial hotel after we offered a lunch, use of swimming pool, a tour of the hotel, and tea for a fee of ₹1,200 per head. If rooms are available between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., we offer them at 75% discount,” Mr. Mathias added.

In view of the imminent transfer to JLR, the ITDC staff had been offered the option of either a transfer or Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS). “There are about 20 staff members, besides three officials,” Mr. Mathias said.

The Lalitha Mahal Palace was originally built in 1931 to serve the special guests of the maharajas. In 1974, it was taken over by ITDC to be run as a hotel, which soon became a preferred choice for filmstars and politicians, besides foreign tourists.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 4:18:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/jungle-lodges-and-resorts-set-to-take-over-lalitha-mahal-palace/article22810394.ece

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