ITC-Welcomgroup enters a new phase in its collaboration with Starwood Hotels & Resorts through a new franchise agreement. ITC-Welcomgroup will have an exclusive tie-up and partner Starwood in bringing in its premium brand, the ‘Luxury Collection’, to India. The seven hotels which will be part of this unique brand are: ITC Maurya in Delhi, ITC Maratha in Mumbai, ITC Sonar Bangla in Kolkata, ITC Grand Central in Mumbai, ITC Windsor in Bangalore, ITC Kakatiya in Hyderabad and ITC Mughal in Agra. The agreement further includes the rebranding of WelcomHotel New Delhi as a Sheraton, while the Chola and the Park in Chennai, and the Rajputana in Jaipur, will continue to retain their Sheraton connections.
With this new tie-up, these ITC-Welcomgroup hotels will join the list of exclusive properties that are part of Starwood’s ‘Luxury Collection’. Globally recognized as a unique brand in the world, the Luxury Collection consists of 60 premium properties spread across the globe. The Luxury Collection brand philosophy of offering unique experiences indigenous to their destination complements ITC- Welcomgroup’s own ethos of being rooted in the Indian tradition of warm, personalized service.
Commenting on the new agreement, Mr Y C Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC Limited, said, “A three decade old relationship has been strengthened and enriched in a new partnership. The ITC-Luxury Collection exclusive arrangement recognizes ITC’s leadership in the premium hotel segment and places it amongst the finest hotel chains in the world. A new window to the world is now open to us, and together with our aggressive growth plans in India, ITC is well poised to meet the emerging needs of the discerning global traveller.”
S.S.H.Rehman Executive Director ITC Limited, in charge of Hotels, Travel-Tourism & Foods, expressed his satisfaction, saying, “ We are delighted to partner Starwood in bringing the premium ‘Luxury Collection’ brand to India, while retaining the Sheraton connection. ITC’s tie-up with Sheraton Hotels, came into being at a time when India was just stepping into the sophisticated and virtually unexplored business of hospitality. Lasting over almost three memorable and extremely significant decades, the partnership may be considered to have been an important link to international acceptance and a global presence.”
The tie up with Sheraton Hotels, came into being on January 1st 1979, when the ITC-Welcomgroup chain consisted of just three hotels. These were the Chola in Chennai (then Madras), the Mughal in Agra and the Maurya in New Delhi. With the tie-up, these three hotels added ‘Sheraton’ to their name, while the chain’s burgundy flag with its distinctive ‘namaste’ logo, was thereafter partnered by the blue Sheraton flag.
Mr. Miguel Ko, President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Asia Pacific says, “India is the fastest-growing Asia Pacific market for international visitor spending. Visitor spending in India has grown at a phenomenal rate in the last few years, and this growth is expected to accelerate significantly over the next few years. We are thrilled to introduce the Luxury Collection brand to India and to expand the footprint of the Sheraton brand in India. We are equally excited to continue and expand our relationship with ITC Limited. ITC and Starwood/Sheraton have had a strong and successful nearly 30-year relationship. During that time period, the India market itself has changed and grown significantly. The introduction of the Luxury Collection will offer savvy travelers unique experiences that reflect the true essence of the destinations. The 7 new Luxury Collection hotels will be a great complement to our impressive portfolio of properties globally.”