One of the country’s iconic hotels overlooking the pristine Kovalam beach, which was designed by renowned architect Charles Correa and is presently known as Hotel Leela Raviz, is celebrating its golden jubilee by giving out higher education scholarships worth Rs 10 million.
Kerala businessman Ravi Pillai, the head of RP Group that owns the hotel, said on Monday that students residing in and around Kovalam will get preference for the scholarship.
“Rs 10,000 worth scholarship will be distributed to 1,000 students, of which 70 per cent is reserved for deserving girl students,” said Pillai.
“Various projects and missions being implemented as part of the golden jubilee celebrations will give a new dimension to Kerala’s tourism industry, which is preparing to make a comeback after the Covid pandemic. The year-long programmes will tap the tourism potential of Kovalam at the international, national and local level,” said Pillai.
In 1959, then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had said that India should have good hotels to promote coastal tourism.
After this, a consultancy group called Club Mediterranean identified the potential of Kovalam and proposed to establish a hotel here under government ownership.
In 1969, under the leadership of the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), famous architect Charles Correa started the construction of the hotel.
On December 17, 1972, the Ashoka Hotel in Kovalam was officially inaugurated by then Chief Minister C. Achutha Menon.
Among those who have stayed in the iconic hotel include J.R.D. Tata, Jacqueline Kennedy, Winnie Mandela, Paul McCartney, John Kenneth Galbareth, the Dalai Lama and Amartya Sen, to name a few.
The Ashoka Hotel was privatised by the then Central government in 2002, following which first the M4 Group, and then the Leela Group acquired the ownership of the hotel.