Leisure Hotels, a Uttar Pradesh-based boutique hotel group, with 27 properties pan India, is setting up a 84-bed hostel facility in Rishikesh. The group started off with a hospitality business 30 years ago. Speaking to Express Food & Hospitality, Vibhas Prasad, director, Leisure Hotels, said, “We had a summer residence in Pilibit which we converted into a hotel in 1989. We now have 27 properties, 80 per cent of these are owned by us. Rest are managed. We currently own a property in Corbett which is managed by the Taj group of hotels – the Taj Corbett Resort & Spa. We also have two hotels which are managed by Club Mahindra. In Naukuchiatal we have 30 rooms, we are adding 70 more. We have another nine properties in the pipeline in the next 18 months, which will take our total to 36 properties.”
Elucidating on future plans, he said, “Largely our focus has been in Uttarakhand and Himachal. But we are soon opening a business hotel in Greater Noida in the next three months. We are also expanding into the boutique luxury leisure space. Business hotels, resorts, luxury camps and villas and the fifth category which we will be launching soon is the hostel category. Our first hostel in Rishikesh will have 84 beds and is 28 minutes from the airport. It will target the pilgrim traveller, the yoga traveller from all across the world who travel on a budget.”
Commenting on the leisure market segment, Prabhas stated, “There is still a lot of gap in the leisure segment. The leisure space has a lot of boutique properties. Our Kasauli property has 12 rooms, we are adding eight more, Dharamshala has 15 rooms and we are adding there too. Not many large hotel chains can build viability. So that’s the gap that we see and we are building it, either through the pipeline of our own properties or though the management vertical. We also manage properties for other asset owners and currently we manage seven properties where we do not have ownership of the asset. And the model is working very well for us.”
What about spreading to other regions of India? “We have a small presence in north Goa but we have not got the right product as yet. We don’t want to open just for the sake of opening a hotel. Delhi NCR is a huge source market for us. We have looked at places near Mumbai too like Alibaug, Mahableshwar, Lonavla, etc. But we will wait for the pipeline in the north to materialise which will take a year and then evaluate other regions. North East we have not looked at yet. We have already soft launched a pure wellness product near the Dehradun airport called Naturowell. Adivaha is also launching in Dharamshala next month. Manali too we are looking at. A second property with the Taj will be opening in Haridwar next year in June under the Seleqtions brand. This will be on the franchise model which is a first for the Taj group,” informed Prabhas.