Dubai-based global infrastructure investment and development firm United World Infrastructure has partnered with India's Royal Orchid scion Arjun Baljee to launch a mid-market hotel start-up in India. The JV will be known as the India Hospitality Investment Company, the Times of India is reporting, and will both lease existing mid-market hotels from independent property owners and invest in upgrading them.
This is the first hotel investment for UWI, which collaborates with global governments to invest, build and operate real estate and infrastructure assets. India Hospitality Investment Company is majority owned by UWI, but Markar did not share the exact details of the ownership.
Arjun Baljee, the elder son of Royal Orchid Hotels founder Chender Baljee, will head the JV in India. He quit his family-run Royal Orchid chain of luxury hotels in 2008 to launch Peppermint Hotels, his own budget chain, in 2010. Over the past year, Arjun Baljee has built a new management team to look at the growth of Peppermint. This team will now focus on the new JV. "We...are now going to create a tech-first, mobile-first hotel brand that caters to the new millennial," Baljee told the paper.
While Peppermint Hotels will function independently and continue to gather properties in the budget segment, the new JV will focus on leasing existing standalone mid-market properties across the country. "We will invest into upgrading the existing properties according to our brand and these will be managed by our own staff and have our own reservation system," Baljee said.
Global investors are "keenly looking" to invest in the hospitality industry in India, which is beginning to see an increase in both demand and business travel, the paper said. Moreover, the rise in domestic travel has led to an increased appetite for hotels in the mid-market and budget space.
Source: Economic Times