Not only an emerging market in terms of its telecommunications and high-tech industries, the up-and-coming country of India is also creating an eager new class of luxury-loving consumers.
When it comes to staking out new markets for private island hotels and resorts, there is always an element of risk – but at least to luxury developer Banyan Tree, India seems like a good chance to take. Perhaps after noting the throngs of upper-class Indians travelling to the famous island destinations of the Maldives – including top Bollywood celebrities – Banyan Tree has made a move on India’s own lush tourism district of Kerala to create a stunning resort on the private island of Nediyathuruthu.
As the first resort that Banyan Tree has opened in India, the venture has caused a substantial buzz in the global media. Slated to begin accepting visitors in the first quarter of 2013, the offerings will include a level of luxury not often seen in the remote backwaters of India’s southern state. The resort will have 59 traditionally-decorated villas, each with its own private swimming pool, in addition to lavish common areas and facilities.
Designed to appeal to tourists from within India as well as compete on the international market, traditional Ayurvedic treatments and yoga will be provided in the spa’s Wellness Center, sure to appeal to wealthy Indians and Western “Eat Pray Love” fanatics alike. In an unusual move, Banyan Tree Kerala has also developed a nearby island into a dedicated sporting playground, where guests can enjoy climbing, archery and other activities.
The group has also overcome one of the main challenges with creating a resort in a remote tropical area – namely, accessibility. Despite being secluded in the beautiful and little-developed district of Alleppey, Banyan Tree Kerala is just an hour to the south of the thriving port city of Cochin, home to an international airport with flights from hubs like Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and all major Indian cities.
Abid Butt, the Global CEO of Banyan Tree Resorts and Hotels, seemed optimistic about forging a place for the luxury brand in India, with new offerings to come – as soon as the Kerala project is off the ground and running, however. “Since we follow stringent criteria while choosing the location of a Banyan Tree resort, we are currently focusing on the upcoming property in Kerala, but Delhi and Mumbai are also on the charts,” he said. “We are definitely going to set a new market in Southern India.”
Read more about this story: The Hindu Business Line