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Monday, Nov 06, 2006

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Star hotels are all houseful!

Ambar Singh Roy

`All five-star hotels rooms are practically sold out between now and March.'

Kolkata , Nov. 5

Amol Palekar's hosts in Kolkata the Shrachi Group could finally spend a relaxed weekend. Till late on Saturday afternoon, top honchos of the Shrachi Group sweated it out in their efforts to book a hotel room for the star, who is scheduled to fly into the city on November 6 for the prize distribution ceremony of a Shrachi Group-sponsored theatre festival the next day. After much effort, they found a suite at The Oberoi Grand for their star guest.

Hotel rooms in Kolkata are all sold out. Not just for the next few days but for months. Rooms in elite clubs of Kolkata have a long waitlist from now right through December and beyond.

Guesthouses are faring no better. A top executive of a five-star property in the city was serious when he said he was looking for a `reasonably good room' in a guesthouse to put up a regular hotel guest who could not be provided a room at the hotel.

All sold-out!

All 240 rooms at the ITC Shonar Bangla Sheraton Hotel & Towers are sold out. Says its General Manager, Mr Ranvir Bhandari: "All five-star hotels rooms are practically sold out between now and March. This is the time when, traditionally, a lot of activities such as business conferences, meetings and fairs take place in Kolkata. During weekdays, occupancy levels hover in the 90-100 per cent range even as weekends witness occupancy levels in excess of 80 per cent." ITC Shonar Bangla is currently host to a CLSA Investors' Conference. All 213 rooms at the Hyatt Regency are sold out. The Park Hotel, located in the heart of city, is also overbooked. All 149 rooms at the star property are occupied. Sixty-six operational rooms at the Tollygunge Club are booked, by mainly business travellers, many of who prefer to begin their day with a game of golf.

The boom in the IT sector and increased investment interest in the State are some of the reasons for this choc-o-bloc situation in star hotels in the city. Hotels in the three-star category and above in Kolkata have about 1,500 rooms on offer. The need of the hour, say hotel industry sources, is to build more hotels in the city.

"The demand for hotel rooms in Kolkata is there to stay for at least the next three-four years. Even if we start building new properties now, they will not be ready before 2008-09. The crunch for rooms in top-grade hotels is going to continue," said a hotel industry veteran here.

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