Shortly after a successful third edition of the Accor Showcase, the French hospitality giant has surprised the Indian hospitality sector by bringing its iconic Raffles brand to the country. The announcement of two brand new properties, Raffles Jaipur and Raffles Udaipur was made by Sebastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO, AccorHotels Group in the presence of proprietor Ratankant Sharma. Raffles Jaipur will have 55 suites while Raffles Udaipur will boast of 101.

Speaking at a select media roundtable on the occasion, Bazin said, “It is with immense pride that we announce the arrival of the Raffles brand in India, a hallmark of luxury and sublime service in a country that is famous for delivering luxury at the highest level. With our strategic partners, we look forward to providing an oasis of calm and charm in two of the most incredible destinations in India. We thank Ratankant Sharma and our partners for entrusting us with these landmark properties and we look forward to delivering the distinctive Raffles experience to travellers in India. We also thank Ratankant Sharma for bringing the first Fairmont to India in Jaipur and extending this partnership to the Raffles brand.”

Ratankant Sharma echoed Bazin’s sentiments, adding, “Bringing the Raffles brand, which is synonymous with excellence, taste and luxury, to India is a perfect fit for our vision. The opening of Raffles Udaipur and Raffles Jaipur is a key moment in our strategic growth in India and represents a new era of highly differentiated ultra-luxury experiences for both destinations. We are very grateful to the Accor Group and Sébastien Bazin for giving us the opportunity to bring our vision to both these historic cities of Rajasthan to create new icons in India. This partnership reinforces our foresight of India becoming a global gateway with world-class facilities that set new standards for residents and visitors alike. We look forward to welcoming guests and offering them the most memorable experience in a timeless destination.”

The signing of the papers was followed by a detailed Q&A with Indian media. The session was attended by Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer (COO) – India and South Asia; Michael Issenberg, CEO, Asia-Pacific and Gaurav Bhushan, Chief Development Officer along with Chairman-CEO, Sebastien Bazin. Answering questions on Accor’s brand USP of augmented hospitality, Bazin explained that with over 300 million clients and an average frequency of interacting with a client only two times a year, it is crucial to multiply touchpoints across which Accor can interact with its clientele. The idea of pioneering augmented hospitality is to be able to serve the clientele in a wholesome manner by offering every possible service under the Accor-Live Limitless programme.

The 130-year-old Raffles brand is renowned for its uber-luxury hotels with 13 properties in 11 countries across the world. The addition of India to the Raffles portfolio indicates the country’s growing appetite for luxury hospitality venues. Bazin added that Accor is looking at opening 24 new hotels in India in the coming years.