The Oberoi Group has sold its 100-year-old hotel property at Gopalpur on Sea in Orissa to Mayfair Hotels and Resorts, a local hospitality company owned by former cabinet minister and industrialist Dilip Ray. The property, Oberoi Palm Beach, was bought by Rai Bahadur MS Oberoi in 1947 from an Italian lady and was the third hotel in his portfolio after Shimla and Kolkata. EIH, formerly East India Hotels, the flagship company of the Oberoi Group, has handed over the property to the Mayfair Group, which now has eight properties, said top executives at both companies.
For the Oberois, the Gopalpur property, though small, had a lot of sentimental value. However, with any significant expansion not possible due to the Coastal Regulation Zone restrictions and high overhead costs, the EIH management decided to lease or sell it. For a few years, they leased the hotel to a Bhubaneswar-based hotelier, but it did not work well, said an EIH source. Ray, who has been expanding his hospitality business in the past few years, said: "It is a dream acquisition. We will try our best to develop this hotel to international standards and expand it."
Mayfair group now plans to spend 25-30 crore to expand the hotel and add another 15 rooms to the existing 20 rooms. It will also add a spa to the property along with villas.
Gopalpur on Sea has been a popular destination among the Russian tourists throughout the year. Domestic travellers visit during winters. With Gopalpur port being developed from a seasonal to an all-weather port, commercial and industrial activity is expected to pick up. Tatas too are planning an industrial park at Gopalpur where it will be the anchor investor. The 100-crore Mayfair group operates mid-segment hotels in