French multinational hospitality group Accor is set to open two ultra-luxurious Raffles hotels in India – one in Udaipur and another in Jaipur.
Accor, which bought FRHI Hotels & Resorts and its three luxury hotel brands: Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel in 2016, said the first of the two hotels will open in Udaipur in 2020. The property is built on a 21-acre private island on the Udai Sagar lake and will have 101 lake-facing rooms and suites with private pools, Accor said at a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Raffles Jaipur, which will be built as a set of private residences and courtyards adjacent to the larger hotel complex that currently houses the Fairmont Jaipur, will start operations by 2022.
The Raffles brand, which is Accor’s top offering in the luxury segment, currently has only 13 hotels around the globe in buzzing cities like Paris, Singapore and Istanbul.
“We are seeing increasing demand for luxury travel in India and are looking forward to expanding Accor’s globally renowned portfolio of luxury brands in this incredible country,” said Jean-Michel Casse, chief operating officer (COO) of Accor, India and South Asia said.
The announcement of Raffles Udaipur and Raffles Jaipur is only a step in Accor’s larger strategy for India. Accor, which also offers economy brands like Ibis and Novotel, currently has 51 properties in India. Sebastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of Accor said the company is planning to ramp up their presence in the country and is looking to add around 24 hotels in the next two to three years.
It’s not just Accor, but new-age hospitality companies like AirBnB are rapidly expanding their footprint in India as well. However, it doesn’t worry Bazin.
“I thought it would be damaging for the industry some years ago, but now I know that we kept growing and they kept growing. So there is enough space for many people to be successful. And I think they made Accor better,” says Bazin, adding that Accor is also looking to offer a digital platform for its hospitality offerings.