KL NEWS NETWORK
After sitting over an agreement for nearly three decades, ITC has finally decided to revive the deal and construct a 114-room five star hotel in the Nedou’s Hotel premises on M A Road. Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed laid the foundation stone for the new construction that ITC honchos would be completed as early as possible.
The high profile stone-laying ceremony also led to formalization of another agreement between ITC and Ahad Group of Hotels. Under the MoU, the two groups will have a tie-up for two hotels, one each in Srinagar and Pahalgam.
Nedou’s are the pioneers of the hospitality sector in Kashmir. They are running two properties, one each in Srinagar and Gulmarg, on leased land. While the Gulmarg property is operational, the Srinagar hotel was converted into garrison which was partly undone in previous regime led by Omar Abdullah.
“Along the existing heritage property, we will be setting up a 114-room capacity with 25 deluxe rooms,” Nukul Anand, ITC Executive Director said. “It will be a world class facility and a glittering jewel in Srinagar.”
The restoration and renovation of the hotel as an ‘ITC Hotel’, has been planned around the existing building structures, harking back to its glorious past, as a tribute to the rich heritage of Srinagar, he said. The new building blocks are planned to complement and enhance the existing architectural vocabulary of the hotel.
The buildings will be offset by a rich foreground of lush green and flowering gardens resonating the picturesque Srinagar landscape. A mahtab bagh or moon light garden is proposed as part of the landscape, resonating the famous Mughal gardens of the city.
Anand said with their partnership with Nedou’s revived and a new tie-up with Ahad Group of Hotels, ITC will have all its four brands operational and running in Srinagar. The hospitality major has some manufacturing facility in Jammu besides a tie-up with a hotel. Anand said ITC is working with 50,000 retailors across J&K, a position that will improve as the company’s footprints will expand.
ITC has three brands in hospitality: the ITC Luxury, the Welcome and the Fortune. While the Nedou’s premises will have ITC Luxury facility, possibility a 5-star, they have inked a tie-up with Ahad Group – owned Pine and Peaks hotel Pahalgam. In Srinagar, the ITC tied-up with Ahad Group owned Heaven Resorts in under its Welcome basket.
“We have a business tie-up, they will train our people and help us improve and professionalize the services,” Mushtaq A Burza said. “They are already doing it for us and once this facility comes up here, it will be managed by us for the ITC.”
Omar Khaliq Nedou told Kashmir Life that his group’s relationship with the ITC would be a simple rent-issue. “They will use my premises and I will get the rent for it,” Nedou said. “Nothing less, nothing more.”
Appreciating the parties in making early implementation of the project, Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed said Nedou’s for Kashmir is more than a hotel. It is our heritage property, he said. Mufti asked Nedou’s group to revive their second facility in Gulmarg that is closed. “We have to have professionalize the services and the crisis is to the extent that our protocol department lacks professionalism,” Mufti said. “We have to get the best of the high end.”
Interestingly, all the top hospitality brands in the mainland India are seeking their presence in J&K. It all happened after the Khyber group set up its world class facility in Gulmarg. Preceded by Lalit group, Khyber was followed by Taj and many other groups in last few years.