By Ruchika Chitravanshi

Dubai-based Emaar Hospitality Group is scouting for partners to make its India foray. The company plans to bring in its five star hotel brand ‘The Address’ in the Indian market. “We are at discussion stage with some companies,” Marc Francois-Dardenne, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Hospitality told Business Standard.

The company is interested in opening the first hotel in Delhi, the national capital. “The first hotel has to really represent the brand. It has to be at a great location, that is why it is called ‘The Address,” Dardenne said.

Currently, there are five ‘The Address’ hotels in Dubai and the company is planning to open three more in France, Bali and Morocco. “Its like a resort within a city with 200-250 rooms. We do a mix of both business and leisure,” Dardenne added.

While in Dubai the company owns all its properties, outside the preferred model is to get into a management contract only. The primary reason behind the strategy is that the company has the expertise of development in Dubai but not in every country.

Emaar Hospitality sees big potential in the Indian market because of the rising inbound travel from the country. With good airline connectivity, Dubai has become accessible to Indian travellers. The company, in order to build awareness about its hotel brands, set up its sales and marketing office in Delhi recently.

Emaar Hospitality Group will join several international brands which have entered the hospitality market in India in recent times. With companies like Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, Accor etc setting foot in India, the hotel business is witnessing increased competition. “Entry of the big boys in India is the biggest change that has come, they can expand really quickly with a big bouquet of brands. We offer only two brands — The Address and Armani. We bring in a different positioning in five star lifestyle,” said Dardenne.

Currently, the company has no plans of introducing its Armani brand in India. The first Armani hotel outside of Dubai is going to be opened in Milan by this September, opposite the designer’s residence.

On whether the company got bogged down by the slowdown which had Dubai in its grip Dardenne, said, “We opened our first hotel in 2008 during the crisis. We were scaling up at that time. Business has been good for us from the beginning.”