India’s first luxury hotel, the 171-year-old Great Eastern Hotel, is set for a comeback in a modern avatar next year.
Bharat Hotels, under The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, which owns the hotel has announced today that Great Eastern will be reopened by 2013, two years behind schedule.
“We are delighted to bring back the Great Eastern Kolkata, which is expected to reopen by 2013. We have commissioned experts from various fields for the project and we look forward to providing a memorable experience to our guests,” said Jyotsna Suri, chairperson and managing director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group.
The Lalit Suri group took control of the hotel in 2005, following a disinvestment drive started by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government of sick public sector undertakings. The state government had a 10 per cent stake during divestment, however, the company spokesperson refused to comment on the current shareholding.
The promoters have invested about Rs 260 crore in Great Eastern . The highlights of the hotel include, 221 rooms, 21 deluxe suites and two presidential suites. Spread across 2.3 acres of land in Kolkata central business district, near the governor’s house — the hotel will also have a ballroom, five conference rooms, two specialty restaurants and a bakery - Maxim.
According to the group, the ancient and damaged parts of the erstwhile hotel are metamorphosing into niches, corners, vaults and pillars. The hotel architecture will also represent two distinct styles. While ‘the heritage block’ will have the charm of the colonial era, the Great Eastern façade, the living accommodation and services, has been restored with a blend of modernity.
Commissioned in 1840, the hotel is closely associated with the history of South East Asia and the British empire.
The firm today conducted a puja at the hotel, to mark the birth anniversary of Lalit Suri, founder chairman of the Lalit Group. It was kept low-profile.