South African Mantis Collection has formed a joint venture (JV) with ICS Group in India to develop and operate boutique luxury hotels in the Indian sub-continent and South-East Asia.

The Mantis-ICS Group JV Ayana plans to develop and operate at least 30 properties in the next ten years, focusing on providing hospitality services to boutique hotels and lodges, primarily in destinations close to nature.

The luxury safari lodge Pench National Park in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara, India, is the JV’s first property and is currently under construction and expected to open in 2013.

ICS Group chief executive officer Kunal Premnarayen said the JV plans to have at least ten operational hotels in the first five years and around 30 in over ten years.

"Each of these properties will be in the range of 10-70 rooms," Premnarayen added.

At present, the South Africa-based Mantis Group operates safari lodges in Africa, the Ice Hotel in Sweden, eco-lodges in South America, leisure hotels in Europe and luxury expeditions to Antarctica.

Ayana, the Indian JV, also plans to design and operate luxury boutique hotels in the next few years and is looking at having eight properties under its belt in the next three years.

Mantis is currently negotiating with land owners in Goa, Kerala and Karnataka to set up luxury boutique hotels, and is also considering agreements with land owners in Malaysia, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.