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The Ashok Hotel divestment: 1956-built hotel to undergo a structural audit

Ashok's divestment has drawn interest from all the big hospitality players, including Taj Hotels, Hilton, DLF, JLL, Brookfield-backed HLV Ltd and Wyndham Hotels

'The Ashok', 7 other ITDC hotels to be monetised in next 4 years

The Ashok Hotel

BS Web Team New Delhi

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NITI Aayog has asked the tourism ministry for a structural audit of The Ashok Hotel, The Times of India (TOI) has reported. The hotel was built in 1956, and the government plans to lease the five-star real estate to a private hospitality firm for 60 years.

Quoting people aware of the development, the report said that the government wants more than Rs 500 crore from the successful bidder to revamp the central Delhi hotel. Additionally, the government expects to pay around Rs 10,000 crore in the first 30 years of its lease. 

However, it remains to be seen if the divestment of this prime property in Delhi will be completed in the remaining one-year Modi's second tenure.

Sources said in the TOI report that "NITI Aayog has sought a structural audit of the almost seven-decade-old building. Work on the request for proposal and other bid documents is on."

The Ashok's divestment has drawn interest from all the big hospitality players, including Taj Hotels, Hilton, DLF, JLL, Brookfield-backed HLV Ltd and Wyndham Hotels.

The hotel has 550 rooms, including 389 rooms, 161 suites, and a presidential suite. The plan is to lease the property for 30 years, which may later be extended for another 30 years. A provision allows the successful bidder to develop a 1.8-acre land parcel commercially.

The Ashok Hotel has attracted the hospitality industry due to its key location in the capital's diplomatic enclave. The world's largest hotel company, Marriott International, has also shown interest in the divestment and is monitoring the developments closely, TOI reported.

The Ashok Hotel was built in 1956 on 25 acres of parkland. The Modi government has been trying to divest from The Ashok since its first tenure.

The plan is to keep the ownership of the hotel and the land while transferring the hotel's management. The arrangement will look like what the government has with the Delhi Airport, which has been given on lease to a private player for 30 years while the state maintains ownership.

The history of The Ashok Hotel

The hotel was built in 1956 on land donated by the prince regent of Jammu and Kashmir, Karan Singh, with architect E B Doctor designing the building.

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi hosted guests in Ashok Hotel to celebrate her son Rajiv's wedding to Sonia Gandhi in 1968. In the 1970s, Ashok had one of the first nightclubs in New Delhi, known as the Supper Club.

Favourite of the VIPs

Speaking of VIPs who stayed at the hotel, Queen Elizabeth II, Marshall Tito, Margaret Thatcher, and Prince Aga Khan are just a few names that come to mind instantly. Ashok remained a favourite place for the innumerable heads of state who came to India for a very long time.

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First Published: Apr 17 2023 | 12:28 PM IST

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