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NEWS| Raymond N. Bickson Named Corporate Hotelier of the World

Raymond N. Bickson, managing director and CEO of Mumbai-based Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, has been named 2007 Corporate Hotelier of The World by HOTELS magazine. The award, determined by votes cast by the magazine''s 62,000 readers in 170 countries, was presented yesterday during a reception at The Pierre in New York.


Source: Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

· Raymond Bickson named 2007 Corporate Hotelier of the World · Click Here to Download Image In its November cover story, HOTELS magazine notes Bickson is "a model of luxury hotel keeping" and celebrates his "attention to personal service and global experience" and "years of honing his leadership with dignity and grace."

Editor-in-chief Jeff Weinstein profiles Bickson, who grew up as a surfer in Honolulu in the 1970s when Hawaii tourism was booming and was inspired by hotel legends and founders of Regent International, Georg Rafael, Bob Burns and Adrian Zecha, to pursue a career in hospitality. "He remains true to what he learned in the surf and from his mentors: be patient, be genuine, ... and be there for your guests and your staff."

Bickson, whose hospitality career spans more than 30 years and four continents, joined Taj Hotels in January 2003 to oversee all luxury property operations. In July 2003, he was named managing director and chief executive officer of The Indian Hotels Company Limited, a division of India''s Tata Group, with responsibility for all Taj Hotels management and operations of its hospitality and travel subsidiary companies.

Under his leadership, the Taj Group has seen rapid global expansion, with new developments and acquisitions in key world markets, including Africa, Australia, Bhutan, Dubai, India, Maldives, Malaysia and the U.S., and has plans to add 8,000 additional rooms in 54 new hotels within the next 36 to 48 months. The company''s gateway city strategy includes expanded reach within India, the Indian Ocean rim, South East Asia and the Middle East, with robust plans in all segments, from luxury, five-star, and four-star premium to three-star and budget.

Taj U.S. properties include the brand''s U.S. flagship, the iconic 200-room Pierre on New York''s Central Park, acquired in 2005 and slated for $100 million in enhancements in a second phase of renovations that begin in January 2008. The U.S. luxury division also includes the 273-room Taj Boston, at Arlington and Newbury streets overlooking the Public Garden, purchased in January 2006 for $170 million, and the European-style 110-room Campton Place, a Taj Hotel, on San Francisco''s Union Square, acquired in April 2006 for $58 million.

With Bickson at the helm, the Taj Group has also formed strategic partnerships with other luxury hotel chains and cruise lines; developed innovative new products, including India''s first luxury safari lodges and tours, and steadily increased revenues, with FY2006 profits estimated at 40% more than 2005.

Previously, Bickson spent 15 years as vice president and general manager of The Mark in New York for The Rafael Group Hoteliers Monaco and with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. His prior experience includes management positions with Regent International Hotels in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Puerto Rico, Melbourne and Shanghai, and training positions with Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris, Le Montreux Palace Switzerland and the Kahala Hilton Hawaii.

An American national, Bickson attended the Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne and advanced management program at Harvard Business School, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in hospitality management by Johnson & Wales University, Rhode Island. He is a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council; the International Business Leaders Forum; and the advisory boards of The Leading Hotels of the World, Cornell Hotel School Center for Hospitality Research and Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne.

NEWS| Taj has big plans for Delhi

This big plan is the only one for hotel room-starved Delhi that the Taj group has at present. Yannick Poupon, Taj Luxury hotels’ area director told TNN that Taj has bought land for building a 400-room property in Noida at a cost of nearly $2.5 lakh per room (inclusive of land cost).

It has entered into a management contract with a player in Gurgaon and will run that new property. The group has Taj Mansingh, Palace and Ambassador hotels in Delhi.

Even the Ginger Hotel, the group’s small 100-room budget hotels with tariffs in range of Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000, are being planned for the NCR and not Delhi at present, he added. The Ginger hotels are no frills properties with the USP of offering neat and clean rooms at low rates.

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NEWS| The Taj Group launches Gateway Hotel in Vijayawada

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, today unveiled a new Gateway Hotel at Vijayawada.

Key Points:
> Located on MG Road
> Largest Rooms in the City
>Promoted by Vijay Agro Products
>108 rooms including 12 suites

Conveniently located on MG Road, the Hotel is easily accessible from the railway station and the airport. Extremely stylish and modern, The Gateway Hotel, MG Road, Vijayawada is clearly the best option in the city for the business traveler.

The hotel offers the largest room size in the city and combines the full suite of contemporary facilities to make every customers stay a refreshingly enjoyable experience.

Announcing the launch of The Gateway Hotel, MG Road, Vijayawada, Mr. Jamshed Daboo, Chief Operating Officer, Taj Business Hotels said, "A key component of our domestic growth strategy is to tap prominent economic, commercial and industrial centers. Vijayawada fits well into this strategy as it is a hub of commercial activity across critical industry sectors. Further, this regional hub is also a convenient location from where further travel can be planned. Keeping these aspects in mind, The Gateway Hotel brings world class hospitality to the city."

Sri. Mallineni Rajaiah, Chairman of Vijay Agro Products is the chief promoter of the project. The group has interests in refining & extraction, agricultural products, power & has now diversified into hospitality. Sri Rajaiah is currently the President of the Andhra Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Vijayawada as well as the AP Solvent Extractors Association.

The Gateway Hotel, Vijayawada is the tallest structure in the city and offers its guests 108 rooms including 12 suites with the most up-to-date facilities and amenities. All rooms feature modern amenities such as LCD TV's, shower cubicles, electronic safes, tea and coffee makers and mini bars.

For its Business clientele, the hotel makes available a 24-hour Business Centre, wireless (wi-fi) connectivity throughout the hotel, travel desk and a Board Room. For their recreation and well being, the hotel has a roof top swimming pool, Health Club and a saloon.

The hotel offers 16000 sq.ft of conference and banqueting space including the Grand Central, the largest pillar-less banquet hall in the city. Other spaces such as The Deck and The Summit along with other smaller venues make the Gateway Hotel the ideal venue for business meetings, events, social functions and marriages.

The hotel also offers international dining options, be it JADE, the city's first authentic Chinese restaurant & STIR the all day dining restaurant that serves a multi-cuisine menu featuring Indian and Continental cuisines. G Bar, the stylish bar offers various exotic wines, spirits and liqueurs and Sugar & Spice, the bake shop and deli offers a wide variety of delicacies.

Sourced From: Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Pvt Ltd

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NEWS| Taj Group| The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. Honours Taj

Global Leader in Luxury Hospitality, the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. recently announced the winners of a series of prestigious awards during its 2007 International Convention, held in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Mr. Pravin Bancharam, Training Manager, Learning & Development, at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Mauritius was declared the winner of the prestigious Fifth Annual Juan Gaspart Award, which recognizes an outstanding employee of a Leading Hotel pursuing a career in the hospitality industry. Mr Bancharam’s 500 – word essay on “What are some of the ways in which hotels and their employees can demonstrate social responsibility?”was voted the best from the entries submitted from around the world. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces takes great pride to offer a platform to budding professionals.

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NEWS| Sayaji Hotels develops Rs 135 crore property in Pune

Key Points
>setting up a four-star category property in Pune
>247 rooms and 30 serviced apartments
>set-up 100 restaurants, 'Barbeque Nation'

Indore-based Sayaji Hotels Ltd. is setting up a four-star category property in Pune with an investment of Rs 135 crore. Targeted at business travellers, the property is expected to become operational by December, 2008. It will have 247 rooms - 128 grande rooms, 86 standard rooms, two junior rooms, one presidential suite and 30 serviced apartments. The hotel will also house a club and a banquet hall. The company is targeting Rs 50 crore of business within one year of commencement of operations, according to Sajid Dhanani, Managing Director, Sayaji Hotels. He added that the hotel's Average Room Rate (ARR) will be Rs 3,500.

Also, the company is planning to set-up 100 restaurants under its standalone restaurant chain, 'Barbeque Nation' by 2010 in India. It is also considering an international presence for the brand and plans to adopt the franchise route for further consolidation in India. It currently has two properties, one each in Indore and Baroda. Talking about the Indore property, Dhanani said that the 210-room hotel sees 90 per cent occupancy, with 93 per cent of it coming from business travellers. To attract more leisure travellers, the company is planning to offer weekend tours and pilgrimage packages for the guests from next month.

source: TravelBiz Monitor