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May 13, 2002 | 1350 IST
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Hilton checks out of Sanjay Khan's Golden Palms

Parul Gupta

Sanjay Khan About one and a half years after announcing a tie up with the Sanjay Khan-owned Golden Palms Resort and Spa near Bangalore, where Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan got married to Khan's daughter Susanne, Hilton International has pulled out of the property.

While the hotel is at present being managed by World Resorts, which is the holding company for the 148-rooms hotel property, the company is in talks with about five Indian and international hotel majors for a possible tie-up.

Confirming the development, World Resorts chief executive officer Hormuz Davar said, "It was a mutual decision to part ways." He also said that the company was at present negotiating with some hotel chains for the management of the property and that the final decision is likely to be taken within the next three months. He, however, refused to divulge any further details.

The resort and Spa has been constructed with an investment of about Rs 1.40 billion and is spread over 14 acre.

The company officials said that the project had never reached the hard launch phase and that the Hilton never actually promoted the resort under its brand name since the property was not completely operational.

"Only the soft launch had taken place," they said.

Hilton officials refused to speak on the matter.

The international hotel chain had a year back announced that it will open ten five-star hotels in the country within the next ten years. The greenfield hotel projects at Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai were expected to come up till 2004.

According to the industry sources, the company had to rethink its expansion plans in wake of major losses suffered by the industry after September 11 terror attacks on US.

Hilton International has already finalised space at Gurgaon near Delhi and at Sahar in Mumbai for greenfield projects in July last year.

The company was also considering a project in Chennai which was later postponed. No construction activity has, however, started in Delhi or Mumbai.

The hotel chain had said that it was open to various options including management franchisees, investments, at least 26 per cent equity participation depending upon the strategic importance and financial returns, joint ventures, lease or contracts.

While it was targetting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore in the first phase, Hilton International was planning to target secondary cities including Agra, Jaipur, Calcutta and Kochi in the second phase.

Earlier also, Hilton was running a five star hotel in Delhi on contract which ended in 1998.

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