NEW DELHI: Hospitality major InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) wellness and sustainability brand Six Senses — which is making its foray into the Indian market by “sensitively” converting a 14th-century fort in Ranthambore into a luxury hotel that opens Saturday (Oct 16) — has big plans for the country. Six Senses CEO Neil Jacobs has told TOI he plans to have 5-6 properties in the next 10 years and the proposed locations include Delhi and Mumbai. “The Six Senses Fort Barwara in Ranthambore is the first of the several properties we will have in India. This property has set the bar very high for our future properties in India. The 14th-century fort has been very sensitively restored,” Jacobs said. Asked about the investment, Jacobs did not give a figure but said restoring the fort to house a luxury hotel cost a lot more than building a new property. “Suffice to say it is a lot cheaper to build a hotel from the ground up. The real commitment is in terms of the intention. It is not unusual for (our) property to cost $70,000-80,000 per room. We have a long lease of about 25-30 years with the possibility of extension (at Barwara),” Jacobs, whose global career included leadership roles at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Starwood Capital Group, said. The timing for launch coincides with the pandemic leading to more people travelling within their country than before due to continued restrictions on international trips. “In a lot of places like the US and Asia, the domestic travel market is buoyant. They are seeing more domestic travellers than they ever did before.” Asked about the Indian plans materialising, he said it is important to find the right location or property. “We are willing to take over existing hotels that have a magical quality and are at great locations. In Mumbai that is likely to be a ground-up (new) property. In Delhi, we will look for the right property. We are open to all opportunities,” he said. The Six Senses Fort Barwara, 30 minutes for the tiger reserve, will open to guests from October 16. The original Barwara Fort was constructed in the 14th century by the Chauhans. The 700-year-old fort’s restoration took more than a decade, incorporating two palaces and as many temples within the walled fort. Now converted into a hotel, it has 48 one-bedroom suites designed in a contemporary Rajasthani style. The resort has three restaurants with a bar and lounge, apart from a Six Senses Spa and fitness centre and two swimming pools, banqueting areas, a lifestyle boutique and a children’s club.
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