There’s good news for culture vultures and wildlife spotters, because the Indian Hotels Company - owner of the luxury Taj brand, among others - is pressing on with plans to open new properties, despite the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

IHCL recently announced it will build a 17-acre, 35-room SeleQtions hotel in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra.

Close to three of the most accessible and popular gates to the national park, the hotel is expected to be popular with tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the majestic tigers, as well as a wide range of other wildlife, birds, and flora and fauna, during the October-June safari season.

Suma Venkatesh, an executive vice president at IHCL, said: "Tadoba National Park is the oldest and the largest tiger reserve in Maharashtra. In addition to catering to customers seeking a wilderness experience, the scale of the hotel and its proximity to Nagpur airport will help attract meetings and conferences."

The greenfield hotel, a partnership with Thriving Hotels Private Limited, is expected to open in 2022.

Also being planned is a new Vivanta hotel in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh - IHCL’s fourth property in the city.

The contemporary 200-room hotel is located a short distance from the international airport and will have a multi-cuisine restaurant, a bar, recreational facilities including a pool and spa, meeting rooms and a banquet hall for social and business gatherings.

It is another greenfield project, slated to open in 2024, in partnership with MD Projects Private Limited.

"We are very confident about Lucknow," adds Suma Venkatesh. "Notable for its unique culture and heritage, it is also now a growing commercial centre. Due to its strategic location, the hotel will cater to both business as well as leisure travellers."

The capital city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is a famous artistic hub and an important centre of governance, education, commerce, tourism, music and poetry. Along with Agra and Varanasi, the city is in the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc.

Incorporated by the founder of the Tata Group, Jamsetji Tata, IHCL opened its first hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, in 1903. The company now has over 200 hotels in over 100 locations and 12 countries.