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W Sydney Hotel Acquired by Taj Hotels for USD $27.1 million; 
Taj Renames Property BLUE, Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney
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SYDNEY, FEBRUARY 1, 2006 - The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), which owns and operates Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, this morning officially opened and launched its newest acquisition BLUE, Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney. The 100 room, five-year old hotel, located on The Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo Bay, was formerly known as the W. The hotel is among the top hotels in Sydney and is Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces' first foray into Australia. 

General Manager Michael Shannon unfurled the hotel's flag today to reveal the property's new name, BLUE, Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney, a fitting name for a hotel situated not just on but in Sydney Harbor. Taj will bring to the property the modern luxury and warm hospitality and distinctive service for which it is legendary.

"We are delighted to make our debut in Australia with this wonderful hotel, located in the up-market business district of Sydney. This acquisition is consistent with our strategic initiatives to pursue rapid growth in key international destinations. The entry of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces into Australia is significant as it represents one of the fastest growing markets of international arrivals into India. Sydney is now becoming a major travel hub for Australasia and is slated to grow significantly in the next few years. The acquisition of this hotel is yet another step towards establishing a significant presence for the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces brand across the globe," said Raymond Bickson, managing director & CEO, The Indian Hotels Company Limited. 

The acquisition price for the BLUE Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney hotel was AUD $36 million (approximately USD $27.1 million). This acquisition strengthens the Indian hotel group's strategic intent of becoming a global brand. In July 2005, the group assumed management rights of the legendary Pierre hotel in New York. 

BLUE Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney is a boutique hotel in the heart of one of Sydney's luxurious marina, restaurant and apartment complexes. Its location is unbeatable, a contemporary urban renewal of an historic wharf structure, within walking distance of the Central Business and Shopping Districts, the Sydney Opera House and adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Providing an upscale experience, the hotel offers 100 guest rooms with stylish interiors, popular restaurants, fitness facilities, spa services and a full-service business center. Voted among the "Top 3 Best Hotels for location in Australasia & South Pacific" in the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2006, BLUE also houses the acclaimed Water Bar. It was named one of the "Top 5 Bars in the World" by Wallpaper magazine in 2004 and one of the "Top 10 Bars in the World" in 2003 by Condé Nast Traveler.

Under its new ownership, BLUE Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney is now a member of The Leading Small Hotels of the World™ and bookings may be made direct with the hotel or through The Leading Hotels of The World™ online and telephone booking service. For reservations: 1-866-969-1825 or www.tajhotels.com. 

Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia's largest and finest hotel groups, operating 73 hotels worldwide.

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Contact:

Babs Harrison
212-851-8425
babs@sheiladonnelly.com

Also See: Taj Hotels, Resorts Group Seeks to Acquire the First W Hotel Outside of North America, the W Sydney / October 2005
Paul Walters, GM at Just Opened W Sydney; the 11th W Hotel / June 2000

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