Oberoi luxury resort to be named after Mukesh Ambani's son Anant

Anant Ambani | Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar
A real estate corridor in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), owned and operated by Reliance Industries (RIL) and the Maker Group, is not going to get an international hospitality brand like the Nevada-based MGM Resorts International, which runs such super premium resort hotels as the Bellagio and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Instead, it will get a luxury resort hotel by the Oberoi Group. And according to sources, the hotel, which is going to be Oberoi’s first urban resort, will be called Anantvilas — after Anant Ambani, younger son of RIL Chairman, Mukesh Ambani.

The Oberoi Anantvilas will be the hospitality chain’s fifth ultra luxury ‘vilas’ resort. The other four are in Jaipur (Rajvilas), Agra (Amarvilas), Ranthambhore (Vanyavilas), and New Chandigarh (Sukhvilas).RIL came into the Oberoi Group as an investor in 2010. According to the latest annual report, it owns an 18.5 per cent stake in the hospitality chain, while tobacco conglomerate ITC owns around 15 per cent.

The Maker Group holds a 35 per cent stake in the development company that is building the real estate corridor, while its joint venture partner, RIL, owns the remaining 65 per cent. The corridor will also include at least two malls, several movie theatres, and other facilities. EIH, which owns the Oberoi Group, already has a property in the BKC — the Trident Hotel, which is one of the two five-star hotels there, the other one being the Accor-owned Sofitel. It had been widely reported earlier that the developers were considering assets under brands such as the Bellagio or the MGM Grand. But those plans have been shelved, say analysts who track the sector. 

RIL did not respond to an email requesting clarification on this. The Maker Group could also not be reached for comments. An EIH spokesperson in an email statement said that they “declined to comment on speculation”.

A chief executive officer (CEO) of an Indian hotel company said that the BKC area is best-suited for hotel operators, given its existing infrastructure such as large corporate offices, schools, sports stadia and hence a captive consumer audience. 

“The top three performing districts in Mumbai are BKC, which includes Bandra, then north Mumbai or the area around the airport, and finally, the south Mumbai area,” he said, adding Mumbai is the single-best market for hotels in the country.

 The rates for Oberoi’s ‘vilas’ hotels are much higher than its Trident or other city-based hotels. For example, Rajvilas Jaipur starts at Rs 75,000 per night for a premier room and goes up to Rs 11 lakh per evening for a villa with a pool. 

The Oberoi Group won’t be the first to bring a resort destination to a major metro. International luxury hotel chain Aman Resorts International, which has historically used exotic locales for its resorts worldwide, built a resort in the middle of Tokyo. It has plans to build similar hotels in other urban areas such as the heart of Manhattan in New York, and also in London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Singapore. 

EIH attributed its drop in revenue and profit in the first quarter of the current year to a general slowing of business activity, the decline in air travel and reduction in the airline catering business. The quarter resulted in a loss before tax of Rs 11.25 crore, compared to a profit of Rs 16 crore in the same period a year before. Loss after tax was Rs 7 crore, as against a profit in the comparative period of Rs 10.2 crore. Total revenue fell to Rs 303 crore, from Rs 343.5 crore.

While Executive Chairman P R S Oberoi was not present at the company’s annual general meeting recently, his son and managing director and CEO Vikram Oberoi read his speech out to shareholders and indicated that revenue and profit would improve over the next three quarters.

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