Hilton, Leela & ITC eye Raj Mahal Palace
Raj Mahal Palace in Jaipur, belonging to Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh, is in talks with domestic and international hotel majors to lease out the palace.
Informed sources said The Leela, ITC Welcomgroup and Hilton are in the race to manage the heritage property, which boasted of guests such as Queen Elizabeth II, Princes Charles and Lady Diana, and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Confirming the development, Raj Mahal Palace GM R D Singh said, “We are in talks with several players for a leasing agreement.” Sources said players such as Leela and ITC could look at co-owning the property as they need to invest in upgrading and significantly increasing the room inventory at the Palace, sources added.
Raj Mahal Palace spread over 13 acre with an inventory of 20 rooms was managed by the Taj hotels from 1984 to 2001. The palace was built way back in 1729 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and it was converted into a hotel by Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh in 1979.
Currently, it is managed by the royal family. Industry observers claimed that the property once ranked amongst most luxurious hospitality assets in the country.
Repeated attempts to contact ITC and Hilton did not evince any response. ITC operates the luxury hotel Rajputana in Jaipur. Leela confirmed that it was looking at a heritage asset in Jaipur, but declined to identify the property.
“Currently the negotiations are on and we are evaluating a palace in Jaipur,” said Hotel Leelaventure vice-chairman Vivek Nair. “Considering that we have acquired a land in Delhi and are setting up hotels in Gurgaon and Udaipur, we need to be in Jaipur to complete the circuit,” Mr Nair added.