Accor to launch five Sofitels

The Accor group, one oAcf the global hospitality industry leaders, plans to add to its tally of five five-star hotels in India. For this purpose, the French group has tied up with the Unmed group of India. It will operate these hotels in its Sofitel class.

Four of the five will be operated on management contracts, and the fifth as a franchise. The management contracts, for which the group is collaborating with the Unmed group, will be operational at Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur, all in Rajasthan. The Unmed group will be the franchisee in Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

The Unmed group, headed by managing director Unmed Singh Champawat, was a franchisee of the Oberoi group (East India Hotels) until recently, operating the Ahmedabad property as a Trident hotel.

Accor already has a joint venture with the Mahindra & Mahindra group, better known for its multi-utility vehicles. Ramani Hotels, the Mahindra-Accor joint venture, has hotels at Mumbai, Bangalore and Tirupati.

Accor has ambitious plans for India that go beyond running hotels. Earlier in 1998 the group decided to raise its equity holding in Accor Radhakrishna Meal Services Ltd to 74.9 per cent from 50 per cent earlier. The reason: Sri Ganesh Hospitality, its partner in the joint venture, was unable to bring in the additional funds required for expansion.

Accor Radhakrishna Meal Services provides consulting services in the catering and hospitality industry.