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Leela scion scripts plan for hotel chain launch

Hospitality major Leela Hotel scion Amruda Nair’s new venture Aiana Hotels & Resorts is scouting for properties in South India as it plans to launch its first hotel chain in the country by early next year.


Aiana Hotels was formed early this year as a joint venture between Nair and Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, chairman of Qatar-based asset management company Al Faisal Holding. It is currently in the process of developing its first flagship hotel in Doha which is expected to be operational by early next year. The 32-year-old granddaughter of Captain Krishnan Nair, founder of the Leela Group of hotels, said the new venture will be completely independent and different in terms of its service and positioning from Leela Hotel, where she was earlier working as head of asset management. While Leela Hotel operates in the super-luxury space, Aiana will be positioned in the mid-to-high-end segment with a mixed portfolio of boutique resorts and hotels targeting younger travellers.

Her move to branch out independently comes at a time when Leela Hotel is struggling to clear a debt of around Rs.4,500 crore. As part of its corporate restructuring programme, the company has adopted an asset light strategy, where it is looking to operate mostly through management contracts with individual property owners. It is also in the process of selling off some of its properties in Chennai and Goa for which it invited expressions of interest in March this year.