Dubai’s UWI to Launch Hotel Startup in India
Co inks JV with Arjun Baljee, to lease mid-market hotels and upgrade them
& Sobia Khan
Mumbai | Bengaluru: Dubai-based global infrastructure investment and development firm United World Infrastructure (UWI) has partnered with Royal Orchid group scion Arjun Baljee to launch a mid-market hotel start-up in the country. The JV — India Hospitality Investment Company — will lease existing mid-market hotels from independent property owners and invest in upgrading them.
This is the maiden hotel investment of UWI, which collaborates with governments worldwide to invest, build and operate real estate and infrastructure assets.
“The initiative will not only provide hotel owners with an ideal opportunity to manage operational risks but additionally, it contributes to economic freedom in the form of assured and stable monthly lease income,” said Imran Markar, principal at UWI. Markar leads strategic relationships with institutional investors, government linked agencies and financi- al institutions for UWI.
Baljee said India Hospitality Investment Company is majority owned by UWI, without divulging the exact details of ownership. Arjun, the elder son of Royal Orchid Hotels founder Chender Baljee, will be heading the JV in India.
Arjun quit his family-run Royal Orchid chain of luxury hotels in 2008 to launch his own budget chain called Peppermint Hotels in 2010. Over the past one year, he has built a new management team to look at
the growth of Peppermint and will now focus on the new JV. “We changed the way budget hospitality was perceived with Peppermint, and are now going to create a techfirst, mobile-first hotel brand that caters to the new millennial,” said Baljee, director, India Hospitality Investment Company.
Baljee did not divulge the brand name of the new chain, but said the first property is expected to be open in the next couple of months.