In a CNBC-TV18 exclusive, Simon Cooper, president and MD - Asia Pacific, Marriott International said he will participate in Taj Mansingh's auction only with a partner in real estate.
It has been busy two months for hotel giant Marriott International. In Bengaluru, it opened three hotels: the country's first Ritz Carlton, a corporate Hotel Fairfield Inn and a JW Marriott. And on Thursday, the company launched the JW Marriott in New Delhi's aerocity, thereby becoming the first hotel to start operations in the hospitality district of the airport.
In a CNBC-TV18 exclusive, Simon Cooper, president and MD - Asia Pacific, Marriott International said he will participate in Taj Mansingh's auction only with a partner in real estate. The hotel giant has already opened 23 hotels in India and plans to get to 1 list of 100 hotels by 2017-2018, adds Cooper.
Also Read: Ritz Carlton enters India, considers it great opportunity
Below is the verbatim transcript of Simon Cooper's interview on CNBC-TV18
Q: Taj Mansingh is an iconic hotel, you don't get opportunities like that everyday, you are not even considering the auction?
A: I agree, they will never let it go.
Q: But if it is auctioned, would you participate?
A: If we did participate it would be a partner. We would go in with a partner who is in the business of real estate. We are just not in the business of real estate in India or China.
Q: You would not want to put the money down, you would want a partner who puts the money down for you, that is what you are saying?
A: Yes, we are in the business of global hospitality. We are not in the business of global real estate. So, we try to find partners everywhere we go who's business is real estate, they understand real estate.
Q: In case this iconic property was on auction, whom would you partner with, don't tell me the names if you don't want to?
A: I won't tell you any names but it would not be unusual for us when we know a good opportunity is coming up to be partnered.
Q: What is your expansion plan for India, how many new hotels, how many new rooms are you looking at?
A: We have opened 23 hotels, we have about plan for 50 under construction and have published a number of trying to get to a 100 hotels by about 2017-2018. A number of those will be the Fairfield brand because we have also invested in the Fairfield brand. We have a joint venture with SAMHI where Marriott International invests and we don't do that very often because we are not really real estate players. We try to be asset light. We think there is a strong market potential in India for the Fairfield brand for a very crisp, clean corporate hotel that also works well for leisure on the weekends.
Q: Out of the 100 properties that you are going to have in India, how many will be Fairfield?
A: Somewhere around 40 would be Fairfield.
Q: Is there scope for a second Ritz-Carlton in India?
A: There is definitely scope for a second Ritz-Carlton in India. We need to be in Mumbai and we need to be in Delhi.
Q: Are you going to have at least two more?
A: We have at least two more.The Great Diwali Discount!
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