Le Meridien expands Indian presence

CHENNAI, JULY 12. India's booming economy and the rising demand for hospitality services especially with the emergence of a new breed of business customers, offers good potential for growth of the hotel industry, according to Mr. Bernard Lambert, President and Managing Director of Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts.

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday during his first visit to the city after the alliance with Appu Hotels of the PGP group, he said Le Meridien was increasing its presence in India and by 2001 it would be managing eight hotels in different parts of the country. Already four hotels were under its management, with the Chennai property run under the Le Royal Meridien brand name. The other three hotels are located in New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune.

The fifth will open soon in Mumbai followed by one each in Kochi and Goa, Mr. Lambert said.

He said Le Meridien had recently entered into a strategic alliance with Nikko Hotels International of Japan for jointly managing 125 Le Meridien and 22 Nikko hotels with a total of 45,000 rooms in the areas of sales, marketing and reservations.

Dr. P. G. Periasamy, Chairman of the PGP group and Appu Hotels, said an amount of Rs. 125 crores had been invested in developing the Chennai hotel.

The hotel set in 3.5 acres of landscaped gardens, had 243 rooms of which 112 were standard and 57 deluxe. The hotel had been designed to exude architectural elegance and an unmatched European finesse.

He claimed the spacious ballroom, without a single intrusive pillar, was the largest in Chennai with a pre-function area that could accommodate 1,200 guests.