Sant Singh Chatwal speaking during Dream Hotel Group 2020 Holiday Party on Tuesday, December 17 2019. Dream Hotel Group includes "The Chatwal, Dream Hotels, Time Hotels and Unscripted Hotels, which operate in the United States and internationally ,having hotels worth $1.5 billion with a major chunk assigned for the Indian market in places like Jaipur and Goa where he had already invested in buying land he said.
Engaging with local developers in these markets, he wants to play it safe and invest behind equity rather than debt to stay away from bearing huge interest costs, generally associated with the Indian market.
“While most of the new hotels will be on long term management contracts, there could also be equal equity participation in some as we want to get away from the ownership model. To that extent there will be no capital investment into these new projects. We do not believe in getting into development of these hotels but only into elements like F&B and design. In fact, F&B is expected to contribute a major chunk of our revenues,’’ said Sant Singh Chatwal, speaking from New York. His Dream Hotel Group has already been managing properties under names like Dream, Time, The Chatwal and Unscripted, which range from 3 to 7 star mainly in the US where he has 12 hotels under these brands.
Taking his Dream brand to Doha is his next move where he has already signed an agreement with the Qatar-based Al Alifa Holding for developing the flagship property with 325 rooms considered to be worth $300 million. The other forays outside the US market include the Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa and Dream Bangkok.
In India, Dream Hotel Group will focus on the non-metro markets like Jaipur and Goa. “In India, we would be staying out of markets like Mumbai and Delhi where land is expensive. But we would consider residential condominiums to cover the cost of land. Unlike in the United States where there is no need to buy land and there are lot of options, it is not the case in India where interest rates are as high as 14-15 per cent compared to cheaper borrowing rates at 4-5 per cent in the United states. We would rather become equity partners and not bear the debt costs in this market,’’ he added.
However, despite tapping into new markets, the United States will continue to be the main focus for the Dream Hotel Group where he still wants to build more `lifestyle’ hotel brands in places like Nashville, Dallas, Palm Springs, Times Square, Long Island City. - Picture courtesy: Mohammed Jaffer/ SnapsIndia