Meet the man who plans to open India’s first luxury hospital chain

May 27, 2015

Advet Bhambhani, the chief executive of Dubai-based ABV Group plans to open luxury hospitals that would resemble hotels, offer personalised care and transport patients from place to place in Rolls Royce cars. He said he wants to redefine health care for India’s rich and medical tourists, and has nearly $80 million in investments to pull it off.

Bhambhani, who was born in India, said his new luxury hospitals will have 50 suites and no shared rooms. Patients will get airport-to-airport services and food made to order. The first hospital is supposed to open in Mumbai by early 2017, followed by one in New Delhi.

[Related story: Rolls Royces, movies: private India hospitals go luxe for growth; Slideshow here]

Here are edited excerpts of a recent interview with Bhambhani in New Delhi:

Q: What are your plans for India?
A: Our concept is to set up India’s first luxury hospital chain. We will have a hospitality partner of high repute and the best concierge services. It will have personalised service, just like it is done at the most luxurious hotels. The fact that you actually come for surgery or medical treatment would be an incidental part of the experience.

Q: Will your hospitals be only for the rich?
A: All Indian hospitals right now are deemed luxury or five-star, but are multi-class, multi-segment hospitals. We will be the first only all-suite hospital — we will have no shared beds, wards or rooms.

Q: What makes these hospitals luxurious?
A: You won’t see the crowd. Any hospital, no matter how expensive in India, is always crowded. The elite consumer does not want to be in a crowded place. It will be opulence, it will be the “wow factor.” The whole (design) team will be from the hotels industry and the healthcare teams will have to work with them.

Q: Some private hospitals have recliners and food courts. What will you offer?
A: Food court is not luxury; à la carte fine dining is luxury. These current offerings are mass population concepts. We will not have more than 50 suites in one hospital. We don’t want a food court.

Q: Do you want to compete with hospitals such as Fortis or Medanta?
A: We are creating a niche. We can open next to a Fortis; we have no competition. It’s an example of a Rolls Royce showroom opening next to a Mercedes showroom — how is that a competition? India has reached Mercedes in terms of healthcare, not Rolls Royce.

Q: What will the pricing be?
A: We are not going to exceed more than a 25 percent premium of the top-category rooms of any private hospital in India. That’s a fair premium — you are not walking into the hospital and mixing with the ward patients. We are filtering people at the gate, not in the rooms. Over time, Indian consumers will realise the value of this. Even in private hospitals currently, the amount of waiting time is ridiculous. These hospitals call themselves high-end luxury, but it’s a zoo. They have just become glorified government hospitals. Just because you put better paint on the wall and some marble flooring doesn’t make you a hotel. (Note – High-end room rent at top Indian private hospitals is about 20,000 rupees, or $311, a day)

Q: Will India’s image of being a place with poor hygiene hurt your plans?
A: There is already a strong base of people who have deep faith in Indian clinical care. Indian doctors have solid medical training and also there’s empathy and an emotional connection. If you can combine that with luxury, the airport-to-airport experience will be a completely seamless experience. We will be able to insulate them (patients) from all the shortcomings such as poverty and poor infrastructure.

Q: Do you think you will face some criticism for only catering to the elite?
A: We also have a huge desire to help people at the grassroots level, but we need to create wealth to fuel charity initiatives. Creation of wealth should not be called a bad thing. This wealth trickles down. We are not here only to fill our pockets. Money is a side effect of success.

(Editing by Robert MacMillan; Follow Aditya on Twitter @adityakalra and Robert @bobbymacReports  | This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

One comment

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They should worry first about people urinating and defecating on the streets. You can’t shield rich tourists from that.

Posted by harley8 | Report as abusive