Travel Agent learned that Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts, a luxury hotel chain in India, is acquiring land in Agra and Jaipur to build two properties tentatively set for completion by 2010. Onno Poortier, president of Leela, told us the news during a sit-down interview Wednesday.
The news comes on the heels of Leela’s recent announcement for an aggressive expansion plan that calls for eight new properties in India, all set to open from this year to 2012. Other news coming out of our interview at the New York Palace hotel on Madison Avenue in New York City was that the India hotel giant has not ruled out the possibility of one day expanding outside of the country.
Poortier, who took over as the chain’s president in February, said the company continues to receive phone calls from other regions, mainly the Middle East, inquiring about the possibility of moving the franchise beyond India. Poortier, however, says that India remains the primary focus of the brand and “continuing to build upon and improve the properties in India remains our primary focus before we decide whether to expand beyond the country.”