Leela group founder Capt Nair dies
The original innovator of Indian luxury hospitality Capt CP Krishnan Nair, who breathed his last in the wee hours on Saturday, donned many a hat before he chanced upon the potential of high-end hotels.
Nair visited Budapest as a part of a delegation of the Handloom Board, where he stayed at the Kempinsky Hotel. The experience made him realise the need for a luxury hotel chain of international standards back in India.
But it took him another 24 years to to launch `Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts’ brand in Mumbai in association with the Kempinsky group of Germany. Opening of a group hotel marked the launch of the Bombay International Airport at Sahar that year.
The hotel chain, which today boasts of eight super-luxury properties, was named after the wife Leela, who was the Captian’s inspiration. That the hotel chain is not in the pink of health at present is a another story.
Having undergone a Rs 4,300-crore debt recast in late 2012, the company is at the moment struggling due to poor sales amid the economic slowdown and is talking to investors to sell majority stakes in two properties, in Delhi and Chennai.