Archives for category: India

TripAdvisor, the travel site announced the launch of holiday rentals on TripAdvisor Holiday Rentals India, allowing travellers to search and compare more than 550,000 properties around the world. Available properties are wide-ranging and can accommodate single travellers up to large groups in villas, ski chalets, apartments, houseboats, castles, treehouses and more.

“We are excited to introduce holiday rentals to our Indian audience as it will open a whole new world of accommodation options for the ardent Indian travelers especially ones who love to travel with their family. According to our estimates, an average Indian family (two adults + two children) can save up to 57 per cent in a destination like Venice by opting for holiday rental versus a regular hotel stay. We are confident that this new offering from TripAdvisor will see a tremendous uptake among the avid travelers in the country” commented Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India.TripAdvisor India

“We’re thrilled to give Indians access to our vast and growing collection of holiday homes around the world. Travellers can now find pictures, reviews, descriptions and booking information on 550,000+ properties, while homeowners can list their properties for free and benefit from TripAdvisor’s unsurpassed audience of 260 million users per month,” commented Dermot Halpin, President, TripAdvisor Holiday Rentals.

TripAdvisor Holiday Rentals for travellers

Booking a holiday rental property is easy: through the ‘Holiday Rentals’ tab on TripAdvisor, travellers will find pictures and extensive details on available properties. Users can filter properties by date of stay, destination, size, amenities/options such as ‘private pool’ or ‘pet-friendly’, and more. When a suitable property is found, travellers can quickly and easily arrange payment and/or contact the owner with more questions.

Travellers consistently cite value as one of the greatest benefits to holiday rentals. Particularly for families or groups planning a holiday of a week or more, the savings offered by holiday rentals can be significant. For instance, Indians taking a trip during the upcoming school break could save up to 57 per cent in popular destinations worldwide by choosing a holiday rental



Delhi-based Oravel Stays Pvt Ltd, the company behind the online short-stay accommodation portal, has received an undisclosed amount in funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, according to Medianama report, citing Oravel’s founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal.ORAVEL

This funding comes a little over a year after the firm secured funding from a consortium of investors, including startup accelerator Venture Nursery, Everest Flavours’ MD and active angel investor Anand Ladsariya and Nirvana Venture Advisors co-founder Amit Patni.

Founded by Ritesh Agarwal when he was just 16, Oravel connects home owners and property managers with travellers who seek clean, comfortable, affordable places or holiday rental homes. The portal has currently listed more than 3,000 boutique guest homes, inns, bed and breakfasts, serviced apartments, holiday rental and palaces, across multiple locations. The portal is free-to-use for travellers and also features listing reviews. Oravel was incubated at Venture Nursery in 2012

Last May, Agarwal had won 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship for 2013. The fellowship, which picks 20 individuals who are aged under 20, provides $100,000 each to the selected ones besides mentorship from a host of entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Napster founder Sean Parker and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk.

Late last year, Lightspeed had invested $550,000 in New Delhi-based Phone Warrior Pvt Ltd which offers a mobile spam control app.

Assotech Realty, a real estate development company, has announced their foray into the hospitality industry with the initiation of its first serviced apartment in Shirdi recently. To be built with an investment of about Rs 100 cr, the 142-room serviced apartment with five-star facilities will be the first in the series of similar projects the real estate developer intends to take up in pilgrim and business destinations across the country. These serviced apartments will be managed and operated by Sandal Suites, a subsidiary company of Assotech Realty.

Assotech Realty

Talking to Hospitality Biz during the foundation laying ceremony of their Shirdi property, Neeraj Gulati, Managing Director, Assotech Realty said that the company is now focused on expanding their offerings in the serviced apartment segment by offering the next level of ‘living experience’ and coming up with a chain of high-end serviced residences targeting pilgrim sector. “Our sites are located at Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, and Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

The first phase of expansion also includes cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Noida (under construction), Lucknow and Indore for business segment. Assotech also has plans to set up serviced apartments in leisure destinations like Goa and Kochi at a later stage, Gulati said.

“We entered the hospitality industry with serviced apartments in 2007. When I visited Shirdi first, I instantly fell in love with the place and thought of investing in the pilgrim town. This is our first project out of NCR, Delhi.” Commenting on hospitality investments, Gulati said returns are higher in hospitality industry than commercial investments. “Returns in commercial segment is around eight to nine per cent, while it starts around 12 percent in the hospitality industry. This is the reason we ventured into hospitality segment which is filled with great opportunities and has lots of potential. ”

Commenting on the Shirdi project, Gulati said that Sandal Suites will help the devotees to continuously connect with Shirdi Sai’s divine presence even after the completion of darshan at the Shrine through the in-house Satsang Hall and meditation centres.

All suites at the serviced apartment in Shirdi will comprise of kitchenette, dining area, living room and bedroom. The suides will be full furnishing with all modern amenities. Other facilities includes library with lounge, a swimming pool, state of the art gymnasium. The property will house a pure-vegetarian multi-cuisine restaurant, banqueting and conferencing facility, souvenir shop, concierge and a travel desk. Just walking distance from Shirdi Shrine, the project will also have a small Sai Temple and Satsang Hall along with Pooja area and meditation centres. The property is to be operational by the end of 2016.

Sandal Suites offer a unique opportunity for investors. The fully-furnished suites are available on ‘Operational Return Basis’, which means, the customer buys the suite and Sandal Suites manages the entire facility of the complex and shares the profit. At the same time, the owner enjoys a host of privileges along with free stay and special discounts on services.

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The company which provides residences, serviced apartments and suites has entered into a 20 year tri-party agreement with JNB Group, LLC (JNB), a privately owned real estate investment and development consortium renowned for franchising and management, and Homestead, a real estate development company specializing in boutique branded residences. BridgeStreet’s latest venture further expands to encompassing property and facilities management for two new luxury residences by Homestead – Michael Schumacher World Tower and Ballet by Sharapova. The agreement also entails a comprehensive long-term commitment to exclusively collaborate on future Homestead serviced apartment developments throughout the world.bridgstreet

“As India globalizes and its economy expands, a number of business and tourism opportunities emerge, prompting long-term demand for upscale residential developments, associated property management expertise and serviced apartment offerings. BridgeStreet looks forward to meeting the growing demands of residential buyers and incoming business and leisure travelers with JNB and Homestead, reputable investment and development companies with a successful track record in the region. Our newest brand extension ‘Exclusive by BridgeStreet’ is the perfect fit for these two stellar properties,” says Sean Worker, chief executive officer of BridgeStreet.

Exclusive by BridgeStreet is the brand’s recently introduced line of luxury, signature residences. Located in key international locations, these developments will feature celebrity-designed and endorsed lifestyle experiences with exquisite six-star quality furnishings, fittings and finishes.

BridgeStreet JNB Management, a to-be-formed India Private Limited entity, will oversee all management aspects and maintenance services for the Michael Schumacher World Tower in Gurgaon in the vicinity of IGI airport and Delhi, and Ballet by Sharapova, located in Sector 73 of Gurgaon. The properties are inspired by Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher and tennis player Maria Sharapova.

“We’re thrilled to continue expansion of our existing relationship, as both BridgeStreet and JNB Group are global leaders in their respective sectors. With more than 50,000 apartments spanning 60 countries, BridgeStreet boasts vast expertise in the hospitality, property management and serviced apartment industries and when coupled with JNB’s vision to identify and execute lucrative opportunities in existing and emerging markets, it yields a mutually beneficial relationship,” stated TJ Barring, president of JNB Group.

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“The extended relationship with BridgeStreet and JNB is a gateway to the future, especially as India continues its pattern of steady growth in the hospitality sector. With the help of BridgeStreet’s international expertise and JNB’s proven operational background, we envision a future where people will live, work and play in spaces that ultimately enhance their quality of life at both Michael Schumacher World Tower and Ballet by Sharapova,” said Manoj Shrivastava, Chief Operating Officer of Homestead.

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CapitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited, has secured a contract to manage its first Ascott-branded serviced residence in India. Slated to open by 2016, the 160-unit Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon is also Ascott’s first serviced residence in Gurgaon. The management contract was awarded by Ireo Private Limited, the flagship Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of the IREO Funds, India’s first and largest private equity fund dedicated to the Indian real estate sector.

scott  in India

Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Ascott has recently expanded into Nanjing and Wuxi in China, and Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon has added yet another city to our global footprint of over 70 cities across more than 20 countries. We remain confident in India’s long-term economic fundamentals and continue to see potential for serviced residences in the emerging country. With the addition of Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon, we now have nine properties with more than 1,900 apartment units in India. Our premier Ascott-branded properties provide guests with discreet and unmatched personalised services in an exclusive environment. When Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon opens in 2016, expatriates and travellers to India will be able to choose from all three of our award-winning brands of serviced residences – Ascott, Citadines and Somerset.”

Mr Alfred Ong, Ascott’s Managing Director for Strategic Development who oversees the company’s business in India, said: “Gurgaon, New Delhi’s flourishing satellite city, is one of India’s most promising hospitality markets. We are delighted to bring our premium brand into Gurgaon and to partner Ireo to offer Ascott’s impeccable service to business travellers in Gurgaon.”

Mr Lalit Goyal, Ireo’s Vice Chairman and Managing Director, added: “Our partnership with Ascott is in keeping with our vision to bring world class living standards to India. Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon brings together the design excellence of Ireo and the impeccable service of the internationally renowned Ascott brand. Gurgaon has emerged as a fast growing commercial hub on the international map, attracting business travellers from across the globe. Residents will enjoy superior comfort in the luxurious Ascott Ireo City Gurgaon.”

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serviced apartment indiaServiced apartments might seem to be a new concept in India, but the fact is, that these are around for quite some time now. A serviced apartment is like any other apartment with the basic difference being that it gives back assured returns to the buyer, sometimes as high as 50%, after deducting the maintenance charges.

According to Neeraj Gulati, Managing Director, Assotech Realty Pvt Ltd, “Serviced apartments provide services like a hotel, such as housekeeping and room service. But, unlike a hotel, a person using a serviced apartment can cook his own food too.” Gulati has one of the finest serviced apartments in NCR called Cabana, at Indirapuram.

So, serviced apartments can be owned by you while the client servicing is provided by the seller. The seller also takes the responsibility of getting you tenants. Gulati remarked that mostly people from foreign countries on work visas stay in the serviced apartments for a duration ranging from a month to even six months or more. “Usually corporate guests or those working for companies here hire serviced apartments.

The benefits vis-à-vis a luxury hotel are that firstly, serviced apartments give you the feel of a home and secondly, any conference or seminar or business meets can be done in the nearby facilities that are often clubbed with the service apartment projects. Also, these are cheaper than a good hotel,” Gulati said.

According to Sanjay Rastogi, Director, Saviour Builders Pvt, Ltd, “A serviced apartment is often a fully-furnished accommodation which is available for short-term or long-term stays. These apartments come with basic amenities for daily use, which include a kitchen with cooking range, kettle, microwave, a washing machine etc.” Rastogi remarked that if you don’t want to cook or do the routine chores, you can even sign up for a complimentary breakfast, laundry, among other things.

He pointed out that the concept of serviced apartments works very well in the metros and larger tier-II cities, where starred hotels are notoriously overpriced. “Serviced apartments are the emerging trend in the corporate hospitality sector. Often, the executive traffic of many MNCs and domestic companies is too erratic to justify a standalone company guesthouse. And people find service apartment a good investment avenue,” Rastogi elaborated. His group is coming up with a project at Crossings Republik called Saviour Street.

Source : Prasoon Pant, Property Plus

Bangalore serviced apartment

Serviced apartments are gaining popularity at a fast pace in Bangalore. Serviced apartment offers fully-furnished accommodation for either short-term or long-term stays. It gives you the experience of staying at a home away from home. Serviced apartments are mainly popular among people who travels frequently as these apartments are less expensive than hotel stays. One can rent out such apartments for longer as well as shorter time period.

With the flourishing corporate culture across metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, Serviced apartments are becoming a best option for many. Besides, serviced apartments are gaining huge response in Bangalore, mainly among corporate people and business traveler.

“People are opting for serviced apartments than a five-star hotel for its homely environment, individual attention and better facilities,” said Harish of city-based Hruday Constructions, reports

Adding to it, “Mostly corporates opt for serviced apartments. Families also come and stay here during vacations. Students from abroad who come on assignments to India also rent serviced apartments,” added Harish.

These apartments come with facilities like personal chef, wifi, air-conditioning, housekeeping and so on.

“The rent is on daily basis and the rent for 1BHK is around 2,000 per day and for 2BHK it is 2,500 per day,” updates Sheela Rangarajan of Malarchy Serviced Apartments.

However, the rent for these apartments varies on the location. And, serviced apartments are more popular in places which are in close proximity to commercial hubs.

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Homemaker Adria Swarney, 50, from Australia scheduled her knee replacement surgery with a leading hospital in Delhi. As it would have taken Swarney and her husband over a month in Delhi, they wanted a place near the hospital and also did not want to spend on a hotel. They preferred a service apartments and were satisfied with their experience with leading service apartment player. They ended up staying for 2 months.medical tourism

Patients with their families coming from other countries like US, UK, etc usually opt for service apartments for long stays, say industry players. “In the past two years we have had almost 40% business from the guest visiting city (Delhi and Gurgaon) for medical issues. Annual increase for medical tourism in India has been observed by 25% every year,” says Mohini Tripathi, reservation manager at Rated Apartments. The company has witnessed a mix of 60-40 of medical and leisure travellers.

Others like Alacurity, less than two-year old player, caters only to medical tourists. Shyam Znwar, CEO of Alacurity says, “We don’t seek leisure travellers coming for anywhere between 2 and 7 days. We prefer only those who come to stay for 2 weeks or more.”

Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon and Chennai are the hot spots for medical tourism. Medical tourists prefer serviced apartments over hotels mainly because serviced apartments are more cost effective than hotels. Tourists have their own privacy. Their family can stay together under the same roof and they can cook as per their own requirement.

Many serviced apartments are close to hospitals, making it convenient to commute without spending much on transportation. Most of the serviced apartments are professionally managed with a 24-hour concierge and assistance in case of an emergency.

Both Rated Aprtaments and Alacurity are e-commerce companies, which act as an intermediaries between the apartment owners and the tourist. Rated Apartments has tied up with companies like Escorts and Fraser for service apartments and has an inventory of 110 apartments. Alacurity has an inventory of 15 apartments in the National Capital Region only.

You can choose between a studio serviced apartment to a 4-BHK penthouse. The apartments generally provide 1 double bed, 1 sofa-cum-bed, a well equipped kitchen, breakfast, a cook if need be for which you need to pay separately. Alacurity also offers specialised services like personal physiotherapist, nurses, medical equipment(s) and so on.

Tripathi says for a 1-BHK apartment in South Delhi you will have to shell out Rs 5,000 a night, where 3-4 people can stay. A penthouse with 4 beds and for 10 people will cost Rs 15,000 in a posh locality with good parking and porch. Znwar says a 1-BHK will cost Rs 40,000-45,000 a month going up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh for other sizes of apartment with Alacurity. These firms see more expat tourists than Indian ones.

Medical tourism boom is being witnessed across Asian countries including Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. But, India loses out becuase of few shortcomings say industry players, like no transparency in billing system, low patient flow, no platform to promote India’s medical tourism, inadequate and limited patient documentation and most importantly availability of accommodation for the patients’ relatives.

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serviced apartment Hyederabad

Cities such as Gurgaon, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune offering employment opportunities due to the strong presence of IT companies, have become the centre of real estate activity too. Of the entire configuration of properties, service apartments have generated enough interest. And Hyderabad seems to be fast catching up with the trend.

Here, service apartments are often popular where there are commercial office spaces in proximity. Hyderabad’s areas such as Gopanhalli, Madhapur, Gachibowli, Kondapur and Hi-Tech City are some of the IT hubs where the developers are showing their interest. “Recently Hyderabad-based firm PBEL Property Development (India) Pvt. Ltd., has unveiled two towers within its larger PBEL City township project, comprising a total of 13 towers, at APPA Junction on the periphery of the city,” says Padma Reddy from a brokerage firm Venkateshwara Swamy Realtors. PBEL is a global joint venture between three construction majors- PBC, Israel (Property and Building Corporation), Electra and INCOR India.

“The towers, Argentum and Aurum will offer 2BHK and 3BHK apartments that come in sizes upwards of 1,094 sq ft and will have 400 units,” she added. The towers Argentum and Aurum offer 2BHK and 3BHK apartments that come in sizes upwards of 1,094 sq ft and will have 400 units. Each of these towers will have 20 floors and the company is offering the units at Rs 3,300-Rs 3,400 per sq ft. These would be fully furnished apartments and owners will have the option to rent it out to prospective tenants.

The demand for serviced apartments is increasing. And this is putting pressure on the rental markets too. “As there are more people coming to the city for employment, there are more requirements of the serviced apartments in Hyderabad because of the IT-centric developments. Citing the need, developers too are now planning new projects for the segment. And it is expected that rents would further increase. Rents of a 2/3 BHK, 1,700 sq. ft serviced apartment in Gachibowli is between Rs.20,000 and Rs 24,000,” says Ganesh Swamy from Raju Consultancy. Similarly, HI-Tech City has a rental range of Rs 14,000-18,000 per month for serviced apartments. Realtors in the region believe that rents would further increase in coming months.

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StayWell Hospitality Group (StayWell) has today announced the latest in its global expansion plans with three additional properties in India joining its network. The properties are currently under development in various key areas of India and will be launched under StayWell’s Leisure Inn brand with opening dates expected from mid 2013.

The new properties comprise an 82 room hotel located in the city centre of Hyderabad which is proposed to open inMay 2013, a 192 room serviced apartment hotel in Greater Noida scheduled to open by early 2014 and a 99 room property located in Raipur which is part of the largest retail mall in the region and is expected to open in 2014.

The expansion into India complements StayWell’s growth in Southern Asia and China as well as leveraging off its established Leisure Inn and Park Regis properties in Australia,Singapore,Dubai and the UK.

MrSimon Wan, CEO of StayWell has commented that the group’s Indian expansion has been a work in progress for some time with the latest announcements being a well timed fit with StayWell’s growth strategies.

“We are thrilled to further expand our portfolio into one of the biggest emerging markets in the world. Our growing reputation and brand presence in India will place us well for further property developments in the region – of which we currently have four more deals in Jaipur,Goa,Mumbai and NCR nearing finalisation. Based on our current business plan, we aim to increase our portfolio in India to a total of 25 hotels by the end of 2014 and 50 hotels by 2016,” he said.

Mr Rohit Vig, Managing Director for India, has stated that the country is a high growth accommodation market, particularly for mid to upper scale hotel products.

“India has a growing annual travelling population of 650 million travellers and one of the largest growing middle class in the world, meaning opportunities for accommodation providers are very apparent. The growth of domestic leisure and business travel and increasing capacities provide unprecedented travel opportunities within India, further creating high demand, with at present, low supply. StayWell offers recognised brands in the 3 and 4 star hotel space with established systems and hotel networks; something that is lacking in the Indian market,” he said.

This latest addition brings StayWell Hospitality Group’s portfolio to 35 including the further upcoming announcement of properties launching in Bali,Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai.

StayWell Hospitality Group’s head office is based inSydney, Australia

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