Page 1

a cross section publication

Volume 2. Issue 10. November 2013. Rs 50


Setting new standards of luxury: Dusit Devrana Hotels with malls: A strategic location Express spa treatments gain momentum What it takes to create authentic Italian fare

Yearlong destination for corporates:

Main dining area, Megu, The Leela Palace, New Delhi

Navi Mumbai

MEGU Reminiscing Japanese

Falling Rupeearchitecture

causing distress to hoteliers

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Volume 2  Issue 10  NOVEMBER 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE Dear Reader,

a cross section publication

Volume 2. Issue 10. November 2013. Rs 50


Setting new standards of luxury: Dusit Devrana Hotels with malls: A strategic location Express spa treatments gain momentum What it takes to create authentic Italian fare

Yearlong destination for corporates:

Main dining area, Megu, The Leela Palace, New Delhi

Navi Mumbai


Reminiscing Japanese architecture

Editor: Navin S Berry 

Managing Editor: Priyaanka Berry

Editorial: Anupriya Bishnoi, Nikita Chopra Advertising: Saurabh Shukla

Design: Ashok Saxena, Neelam Aswani HotelScapes is published and printed by Navin Berry, printed at Tara Art Printers Pvt. Ltd. A-46-47, Sector - V, Noida - 201301 (U.P.) and published from IIIrd Floor, Rajendra Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi - 110002. Editor: Navin S Berry, Tel: 91-11-43784444; Fax: 91-11-41001627. E-mail: This issue of HotelScapes contains 68 pages

Aerocity has finally seen the opening of the first of its dozen offerings. We expect this to be the benchmarker for other properties. 300 rooms have been given clearance, and the rest will merely follow the drill. This has the making of a brave new world for hotels – we expect other cities in India to follow this trend – it is virtually opening the doors to special tourism zones – just add some activity areas, some of them large, and you have all that it takes to create a new tourism product. The government, in this case, both the centre and the states, has to show political will and foresight, and we are there! In this issue, we understand one more time, a subject that has been explored before, the symbiotic relationship between retail malls and connected hotels and how locating a hotel in a high consumer footfall area impacts the popularity, operations and revenue of the property. In our monthly destination report section, we look at Navi Mumbai: a satellite city to Mumbai, Navi Mumbai has recently seen a boost in the number of branded hotels owing to the industrial and IT growth witnessed in the area. The proposed airport is reported to be close to getting all clearances and the much awaited RFP may be floated soon, anytime around end of this year. We analyse the relevance and workings of room service and in-room dining in the budget segment and how individual budget chains are finding their own logistics and avenues to ensure guest satisfaction. In our spa pages we discuss how the trend of express treatments is picking up across the country by attracting guests to get a quick glimpse into the spa experience and perhaps sign up for a longer and more complete treatment. It is also ideal for those who are stepping into a spa for perhaps the first time. In our chefs pages, we speak with Saulo Bacchilega, Executive Chef, Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa and understand the role of an executive chef and his passion for Italian cuisine. We then talk to Devinder Bungla, Corporate Pastry Chef at Hyatt Regency, New Delhi on his baking prerequisites. Separately, we speak with four chefs, who specialize in Italian cuisine on what it takes to create authentic preparations and sourcing the right ingredients.

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 3

November 2013



New Developments 6 Setting new standards of luxury – Dusit Devrana

8 Relief at last for Aerocity Hotels – JW Marriott opens its doors with 300 rooms • ITC Hotels launches WelcomHotel Bella Vista Chandigarh

• The sixth Crown Plaza hotel opens in Greater Noida

6 12

Rajendra Mittal appointed President of AIACRA

• India gets its first Ritz Carlton • Sarovar Hotel launches its 14

44 16

ninth property in Maharashtra

Trends 16 Hotels with malls – A strategic location

Destination Report 18 Yearlong destination for

corporates: Navi Mumbai

Forum of the month 22 Budget hotels and room serviceHow well equipped are they?

GM Speak 24 Ensuring creativity in guest services

Spa Speak 28 Express spa treatments gain momentum


30 The maturing Indian Food Industry

4 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

Chef’s page

36 A chef’s life- More than having exemplary cooking skills

Guest columns

38 Chef’s baking requisites


The changing face of hotel price intelligence by Cristina Blaj, Sales Manager, UK Erevmax


Influence of technology on hospitality by Shwetank Singh, Regional VP, Operations, Premier Inn, South Asia


Entering a new market and successful positioning your brand by Elton Hurtis, General Manager, Courtyard By Marriott, Bhopal

40 Creating authentic Italian fare


44 Sanjay Puri’s take on evolution of hotel designs 46 Megu – Reminiscing Japanese architecture 48 Add impact with ceiling design

52 Evolution of hotel room designs

Last page

66 More luxury comes home: Segmentation gains ground


Setting new standards of luxury Dusit Devarana


n this season of luxe hotel l a u n c h e s , T h a i l a n d ’s premier hotel brand, Dusit International opened its doors to a wide-eyed congnoscenti in New Delhi recently with their uber offering – Dusit Devarana – in collaboration with the Bird Group. Perfectly located between history-steeped New Delhi, and the elite corporate neighborhood of Gurgaon, the Dusit Devarana luxury urban resort positions itself as the ‘first of its genre in India’. Pool room


Ours is an ideal abode for the corporate elite, the highest end of conference and convention niche as well as the discerning leisure travellers across the globe.

The 50-room luxury urban resort, owned by the Bird Group, sprawls over 7.5 acres of gardens with over a thousand full-grown trees. Master planned by Asia’s renowned architect Mathar ‘Lek’ Bunnag, and facilitated by a team of International consultants, the property is the first in Dusit International’s luxury brand portfolio of small, intimate and highly personalized hotels and resorts epitomizing the definitive sanctuary for travellers who value only the finest in the world.   Festooned with domes and curves, the rooms here f low into each other, a striking wall of stained glass in the lobby and the colors ref lecting in a still pool below. Dusit Devarana has a plethora of water bodies, reflecting pools and the longest pool in Delhi (102 meters long), with the Devarana Pool rooms opening straight onto a deck which leads you into the water. The property offers 18 Superior Rooms, 21 Deluxe Rooms and 11 Grand Rooms. All the rooms

6 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

come with a 24-hour butler service, free Wi-Fi and iPads that control everything, from the television to the lighting. Other delightful surprises are a family temple, a yoga pavilion and rooms that open onto water bodies offering guests an interesting amalgamation of Thai and Indian hospitality. As an extension, its staff is also international – a mix of Thai, Indian and European – to take care of every cultural nuance of its guests. “Ours is an ideal abode for the corporate elite, the highest end of conference and convention niche as well as the discerning leisure travellers across the globe,” avers Jaideep Anand, Area General Manager of the property. The resort has an in-house restaurant, Kiyan which offers a multi-cuisine menu employing a farm-to-plate philosophy. The resort’s kitchen is helmed by award-winning Executive Chef Nishant Choubey. The Michelinstarred Kai Mayfair is expected to debut in India at the resort by the

year-end. It will offer indoor and outdoor seating, and serve world cuisine including specialities from the Dusit’s home country of Thailand, Japan and Europe. The resort’s Bar Lounge offers a smorgasbord of malts, wines and cocktails from all over the world while the Devarana Spa pampers guests with ancient massages, therapeutic treatments and spa cuisine in salubrious environs. “Luxury to our mind,” says Anand, “is not just in the product or ambience but it is in the entirety of the ‘experience’. It is in the smiles you see all around, the fresh frangipani offered to the guest while he walks through gardens, the picture perfect plate of a Kobe sirloin, the freshness of the pillow one rests his head on, or the soft healing touch of a therapist over an aching lower back.... it’s just there everywhere, in products you touch and feel and the service experience, in every person who delivers it.” ■ By NEETA LAL


Relief at last for Aerocity Hotels

JW Marriott opens its doors with 300 rooms

The first of the dozen hotels planned for Aerocity in New Delhi opened its doors, some what quietly and unobtrusively. But with confidence in the product, the latest luxury offering in the hospitality sector in the capital, has a bright future in the medium and long term.


he much-awaited Aerocity hotels got a leg-up when the first among them opened its doors last month. JW Marriott was among the hotels that had got completed some months ago, and was awaiting clearance. There were issues of security that came to the fore, and confusion prevailed with numerous voices expressing diverse opinions at the same time. The hotels were asked to tweak their product to suit the security issues of the authorities concer ne d. J W receive d it s approvals and was allowed to open with 300 rooms, along with the spa, wellness centre, swimming pool and its party lawns, all day dining restaurant with its 225 covers, patisserie and its banquet hall (13,500 sq ft without a pillar). Another 220 rooms will follow the same drill of observing the specifications, for which the systems are in place already, and will open a month afterwards. JW is the brainchild of Sushil and Sandeep Gupta, father and son promoters of Asian Hotels West, which formed an SUV with Delhi Airport. The duo is well versed with the hospitality industry, having started as one of the three owning families of Hyatt Regency in New Delhi – after the Asian Hotels demerged into three entities, the Guptas began nursing Hyatt Regency Mumbai Airport and also acquired the Qutab Hotel

Sushil and Sandeep Gupta, father and son, worked fast and furiously to ensure the hotel opened as quickly as it could.

and Apartments after the sale of ITDC properties. Now, they have a third property as they begin their innings with the third chain in their system – after Hyatt and Clarion, it is now also Marriott, three formidable brands under their belt. It must have been a huge sigh of relief, when they became the first hotel to get its clearance? It has been six months since they were ready. They could have opened on 1st April, said Sushil Gupta, when HotelScapes met the two in a recent interview in the newly opened hotel. So, the last six months must have been a big pain with no gain? “Looking back, possibly, it was nobody’s fault. No one knew the drill that was expected to be followed. No one told us, and

8 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

possibly no one knew what to tell us. It is a complex issue and we are glad it is finally behind us.” B u t s u r e l y, t h e y a r e professional hoteliers with a big learning curve behind them of almost three decades. How come they did not know what to do? “We know what is expected of us as hoteliers. But we did not know these requirements. Frankly, we were not given any such brief of requirements. The problem is uniform for all the hotels in Aerocity, and we are glad these are now being ironed out, at last.” In today’s scenario, when business is facing serious challenges, such inordinate delays can cost both opportunity and money. What has it been like for the promoters? It has been a huge

financial outflow, say both in unison. Hotels work on very strict budgets and they had embarked upon a very controlled regimen to be responsible hoteliers, and not to waste money anywhere while maintaining an eye on top end luxury. Therefore, this six months lapse has cost them dearly. It is unfortunate, as it would cost them some additional 15 to 20% on their project cost. What has been the project cost like, is our next question? On a base of 525 rooms, their cost was `1.5 crores per room. With the six months delay in opening, with everything ready including the staff, the cost has gone up to `1.75 crores per room. How did they keep their costs down, was there any magic formula? They travelled, they

We know what is expected of us as hoteliers. But we did not know these requirements. Frankly, we were not given any such brief of requirements. The problem is uniform for all the hotels in Aerocity, and we are glad these are now being ironed out, at last. SUSHIL GUPTA and SANDEEP GUPTA Asian Hotels West looked at sources closely, and monitored their cost. Luckily for them, all their imports were before the dollar went up. Each item was looked at closely, they spent a lot of money but carefully and wisely. Sandeep says he was looking at luxury as the customer will experience it, and not as a statement of what they spent on it. Luxury is not just about spending, he says. What were they out to create, in the first place? Sandeep handled the design and concepts and says he was focussed on redefining luxury in terms of room comfort, public spaces and unique F&B. In his view the design is both classic and contemporary, and along with the JW team have worked steadfastly to raise the benchmark and create a unique experience. What i s lu x u r y t o h i m ? It is “grandeur, comfort, and sophistication. The experience will seamlessly incorporate space, scale and service,” says Sandeep. The bigger question is what next for Aerocity? Can these dozen hotels co-exist and will there be enough business for all of them? Everybody is eagerly watching, and many remain pessimistic with the hospitality business being what it is today. What do the Guptas have to say on this? “Aerocity is a futuristic project. It is not meant for just today. It is forward looking and all the hotels are opening in phases. This supply will get absorbed slowly as it comes along. This level of development is unparalleled in our history. This project has been

much in the news, and not for the right reasons. It will become a world hub, as we go along. Not just for the airport which it will, but also for the city, between the Delhi we know of, and the NCR – it will become a new centre of activity for the region, the city,” says a confident Sandeep. But the anguish over the last six months must remain. And the loss is immense for an entrepreneur? The two are emphatic that they want to look ahead and not behind. The exacting six months are now behind them, and they wish to move forward. “The larger project is the outcome of DIAL’s vision in continuity to its efforts to create a world class airport, a hub between the East and the West. The entire area, we understand, will be created by DIAL as a self contained complex. We are confident of our success and so are other hoteliers working on their projects in this belt”, says Sushil. What has it been like, between the two of them, working on this project? It appears they have been a g reat tea m bet ween them. Sushil, the father, has brought with him great working k nowledge of work i ng w ith the government. Keeping his patience, understanding the problem and trying to of fer solutions, Sushil has been an active Rotarian, a keen golfer, a strong believer in Pranic healing, and also a leading hotelier with his Hyatt Regency, before the three promoters in Asian Hotels

opted for a separation. Sandeep says his contribution has been to focus on design, the final feel of the end product. “We k i nd of d iv ide d ou r r e s p on s ibi l it y b et we e n u s. Sandeep was looking after the construction primarily with his focus on execution, while I was looking after the finances and their structure. What is really important is that between us we have managed to create this luxury at perhaps the lowest cost per room in the country”, shares Sushil Gupta. How do they see the road ahead? The operational part is with Marriott, a most professional team. It is their job to get the rooms and services going as a business. What would their expectations be, at this juncture, considering the lapse of

six months? Nothing additional as an expectation, except that their projections become six months late, they say. Nothing has changed, except that they are six months behind time. Surely, they are not going to sit back, and must be looking at new projects. So, what new can be expected? Nothing at this moment, says Sandeep. It is time to consolidate, test the waters for the hospitality business as a whole. How does the growth scenario shape up, is what everybody is watching. Will they go abroad? No, nothing like that, at all. They wish to grow within the country – there are enough opportunities going within. It could be another metro, or perhaps even a resort location. Goa is one such possibility but only time will tell. ■ by NAVIN BERRY

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 9


ITC Hotels launches WelcomHotel Bella Vista Chandigarh


ocated in the heart of the tri-city of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, the hotel is just 10 kms from the Chandigarh airport and easily accessible from the business districts. This boutique hotel is based on European design sensibilities with the rooms and suites that feature beautiful mountain views. The hotel’s 49 elegantly appointed rooms are equipped with modern facilities and designed to offer comfortable space for the guest. The hotel has two dining options: Serenade, an all-day restaurant with outdoor seating by the poolside and Brio, the bar. ■

The sixth Crowne Plaza hotel opens in Greater Noida


Greater Noida has already become an important destination for international events and we aim to make our hotel the preferred choice for business, events and celebrations in the area.

he newest edition to the I HG portfolio, Crowne Plaza Greater Noida opens with an impressive inventory of 398 rooms. Located close to the Buddh International Race Circuit and India Expo Centre, the property caters to business travellers and the meetings and conventions market. Speaking on the occasion Greesh Bindra, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Greater Noida said, “We are delighted to bring a world-class hotel to Greater Noida that aims to of fer an international experience while ref lecting the preferences of the local community. Greater Noida ha s a l r e ady b e c ome an important destination for international events and we aim to make our hotel the preferred choice for business, events and celebrations in the area.” Commenting on the opening of the hotel, Douglas Martell, Vice President Operations South West Asia, IHG said, “India is

10 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

one of the key growth markets for I HG a nd the openi ng of Crowne Plaza Greater Noida is a reiteration of our commitments made to the country.” Guests can look forward to an array of dining experiences at its food and beverage outlets including: Mosaic, the all-day dining restaurant with an open kitchen; Chao Bella, an Italian and Chinese specialty restaurant; Spic e A r t , a c ont emp ora r y

North-Western frontier cuisine restaurant and ConneXions, the hotel bar. For relaxation the hotel offers Sohum Spa with five sunlit indoor treatment rooms and outdoor options that specialise in European and Asian therapies, a well-equipped gymnasium and an outdoor pool. In addition it features expansive and versatile indoor and outdoor venues for conferences and meetings to 1500 guests. ■


Rajendra Mittal appointed President of AIACRA


He was instrumental in taking 10 delegations in a row to China with a strong team of 30-100 members.

ajendra Mittal with more than 45 years of experience in the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration business has been nominated the President of All India Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Association (AIACRA) again. He first served as President from 2004 to 2009 and his current two year tenure is from 2013 to 2015. During his earlier tenures, he was instrumental in starting a AIACRA newsletter that is sent out to members with information of various activities of the association. He initiated delegations to Germany, China, Korea and Thailand. The result of these visits was the signing of MOU’s with two Chinese Associations, one MOU each with Korea, Thailand, Turkey and Pakistan. He was instrumental in taking 10 delegations in a row to

12 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

China with a strong team of 30 to 100 members. Also, collection of funds has increased to a new high and the association boasts of a very healthy fund situation. As President, he has made a few notable announcements. The prominent one being moving into a new wholly owned office of the Association. The General Body Meeting to be held more frequently and in different cities is also a point on the agenda. He will be proactive in understanding the problems of the Association members for the betterment of the industry as a whole. The new President also pla ns to ta ke a delegation to AHR Expo (USA) as well as ChillVenta (Germany) for furthering business associations within USA and Europe. ■

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India gets its first Ritz Carlton


The hotel will bring our Ritz-Carlton service philosophy to life in this magical country, and blend it with traditional Indian hospitality.

el l k now n for its high standards i n lu x u r y, I nd ia’s f irst Ritz Carlton opened its doors in downtown Bangalore. “The hotel will bring our RitzCarlton service philosophy to life in this magical country, and blend it with traditional Indian hospitality to create memorable experiences for our guests,” said Herve Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. The 277 room contemporary Ritz-Carlton hotel embraces tradition with the Jaali (lattice screen) and other architectural and interior design features from the Mughal era along with use of 1,280 pieces of contemporary art to create the ambience and feel. The dining options include The Market, an all-day dining restaurant; RIWAZ, serving cuisine from India’s Northwest

Frontier; Lantern, a three level Chinese speciality restaurant and drinks at The Ritz-Carlton Bar and The Pool Bar and the RitzCarlton legendary afternoon tea at The Lobby Lounge. Lastly, experience Bangalore nightlife at Bang, a rooftop club. That ma ke s it a t ot a l of seven dining options which are to be run by Michelin Star chef Anupam Banerjee. Hotel

amenities include a Technogymequipped fitness centre open 24 hours daily, complimentary wireless internet access in all guest rooms and public areas and cutting edge Bose audio-visual equipment at the business centre, a Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge, the first managed Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA in Bangalore, a Rossano Ferretti salon and the city’s largest no-pillar ballroom. ■

Sarovar Hotels launches its ninth property in Maharashtra


alaji Sa rova r Premiere is amongst the f irst upscale branded hotels in Solapur. Spread over three acres of land, the hotel is 15 kms from the upcoming Solapur Airport and 5 kms from the railway station. On the occasion of the opening of the property, Anil Madhok, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels said, “We are happy to announce the opening of Balaji Sarovar Premiere i n Solapu r wh ich w i l l help us serve travellers to Solapur, known for its cotton mills and power looms. This popular city of Maharashtra will now offer international standard

14 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

accommodation and conferencing facilities hitherto unavailable.” Each of the 129 well-designed guest rooms a nd suites at the hotel are modern in appeal and of fer contemporary amenities. Dining options at the hotel include Courtyard – a multi cuisine all day dining restaurant, The Oriental Blo s s o m – s e r v i n g aut he nt i c Schezwan cuisine and High Point – the lounge bar. The property also has an 8,000 sq ft banquet space that can accommodate up to 800 guests. Other features include a swimming pool, a spa and a fitness centre. ■


Hotels with Malls – A strategic location Malls looking forward to attract more customers are coming up with branded hotels in their premises. This makes a win-win situation for all, the hotel, the mall and the customers too.


long with providing the hotel and the mall with broader prospect of customers, it also of fers customers w ith more opt ions i n ter m s of d i n i ng, shopping and entertainment. With this trend increasing in Ind ia, we tal ked to va rious hoteliers on why they chose to be connected to a mall.

The location If you forget something while packing for your trip, you need not worry as the hotels adjacent to the malls have varied options for you to shop for basic as well as luxury needs. Along with this, the guests coming to the malls also get varied options in terms of F&B outlets in addition to the ones available at the mall. Sheraton Bangalore at Brigade Gateway is located next to the lifestyle enclave of the city, and is connected to the mall with the help of a sky bridge. Talking about the same, Saurabh Bakshi, General Manager, Sheraton Bangalore at Brigade Gateway says, “For the shopaholics at heart, the hotel is attached to one of Bangalore’s largest mallsthe Orion Mall. The Brigade Gateway campus is a lifestyle enclave offering something for everyone. Proximity to the World Trade Centre, second in India after Mumbai, and a mall like Orion which houses all the big brands is definitely an advantage and the location has almost made Sheraton Bangalore a landmark

in the city now. The hotel was a part of the blue print of the campus since day one and the sky bridge access is truly a unique feature that adds an element of convenience for guests staying with us to go over to the mall and even to visitors of the mall who can come by and choose to dine or relax at the hotel.” Saket is a favourite shopping destination for the residents of the city and for the tourists too. It


A mall like Orion which houses all the big brands is an advantage and the location has made Sheraton Bangalore a landmark.

16 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

is on the must-visit list of all the leisure travellers, Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi/Saket took the adva ntage of the sa me a nd enjoying this impressive location. “For the convenience of business travellers, it is very important that their place of stay should be in close proximity to prominent business and recreation hubs in the city. Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi/Saket is located at a prime location in the heart of South Delhi’s business, shopping and entertainment hubs and 20 minutes from Nehru Place, Okhla Industrial Area and Jasola. We get a lot of guests all round the year because of the excellent location of the hotel inside the ma l l,” says Sat ya P ra ka sh, General Manager, Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi/Saket. “Our in-house guests, be it leisure or business travellers, love the fact that at any time of the day they can step out of their rooms into one of South Delhi’s best malls and spend leisure time. Our FnB outlet, India Grill, also gets a lot of walk-ins from the mall as we have a mall entry for the restaurant. Most party places in the mall and also other places in Delhi stop serving alcohol after a limited time; it is then that people come to us to continue their party and enjoy night long,” he adds. Often, at such locations the mall gives in the property to a particular brand for managing it, so that the guests can enjoy an array of services. Michel

Koopman, General Manager, The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Hotel & Residences tells us that The Leela was given to manage the property by Ambience group. He says that it has been a successful partnership till date and the mall has added a great value to the hotel and vice versa being adjacent to each other.


We get a lot of guests all round the year because of the excellent location of the hotel inside the mall.


Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi Saket Facade

Various leisure options The hotels have their own food and beverage outlets as well as leisure options for the customers, but the mall has a larger variety for them to choose from. This may be a plus point for the hotels as the mall completes them but can also prove as competition



We use the large footfall of the mall as our guests and take it as a positive sign for the hotel.

at the same time. Elton Hurtis, General Manager, Courtyard by Ma r r iot t, Bhopa l, “w it h our hotel being along with the entertainment and shopping hub of the city, our guests get a lot of entertainment options. Shopping i n t h e m a l l i s a b e au t i f u l experience that the guests can go for. Also, we don’t have a spa in our hotel but the mall has it, so if any guest would like to go for a session of spa, he won’t be disappointed and can easily go to the mall for that. If the guest forgets anything important or is not carrying formals for his urgent meeting, the mall can very well help him with a variety of options. With our restaurants serving the dining experience of a five star property, I don’t think the F&B options of the mall as comp et it ion.” Wit h si m i la r thoughts, Koopman says, “we had our sales and marketing strategies being in place since day one of the opening of the hotel, we use the large footfall of the mall as our guests and take it as a positive sign for the hotel. We definitely offer an upgraded product so I do not see a direct competition with them.” H i lton Ga rden I n n New Delhi/Saket very well uses the mall for the purpose of promotion of what is going on at the hotel. Prakash tells us that whenever they have any food promotion going on at India Grill, they make

sure that they have hoardings and standees all over DLF Mall to attract more customers to the restaurant. “Our FnB outlet, multi-cuisine 24X7 restaurant India Grill, is located on the second floor of the mall and also has a mall entry. Therefore we get a lot of walk-ins from the mall; guests come for lunch and dinner along with their families or friends. Since we serve alcohol 24X7 therefore, after midnight we also receive a lot of guests who come to us after their party is over at other places,” he adds.

Disturbance for the guests? Being next to a busy mall, it may be a disturbance for the guests who are coming for a relaxing stay at the hotel. But it isn’t the reality. The hotels have taken required measures



With our hotel being along with the entertainment and shopping hub of the city, our guests get a lot of entertainment options.

for this concern and say that the guests aren’t disturbed due to such location. On asking Hurtis, whether he has any qualms in relation to the location or if he thinks that it would cause disturbance to the guests, he says, “This being the centre of the city, the entertainment hub with various Public Sector Units and manufacturing units in the vicinity, I believe we could not have had a better location. The brand is strict with security, a nd we have appropr iat e arrangements for the security of our guests. Also, the hotel and the mall have sepa rate entrances; hence, the question of disturbance doesn’t arise.” Having a separate entrance for the hotel and the mall solves maximum of the problems for the guests, because then the guests don’t have to go through the crowd going to the mall. The Leela Ambience Gurgaon also has a separate entrance which keeps the disturbance away for the guests. Sheraton Bangalore at Brigade Gateway merges up for celebrations and promotions with the mall, Bakshi says, “We ensure that all steps are taken so that guests are not disturbed due to a busy mall next door. The campus by itself is well designed and even during festivals if the mall is doing activities/ playing music etc. we ensure it does not disturb our guests in any way. During events at the mall the entire campus participates, whether it is residents from the apartments or guests staying with us.” Prakash also says that there is absolutely no disturbance or unnecessary sound that travels from the mall to the inside of the hotel. They maintain an extremely peaceful atmosphere inside the premises so as not to cause disturbance to any of them.■ by NIKITA CHOPRA

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 17


Lobby Recption Sarovar Hotel Navi Mumbai

Yearlong destination for corporates:

Navi Mumbai

Luxury room, The Park Navi Mumbai

18 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013


Navi Mumbai was planned as early in 1971, in order to decongest Mumbai city and provide an alternate site for industrial activities. Today it has grown to become a hub of large scale industrial activity owing to its close proximity to Mumbai and comparatively cheaper land rate. And as there is no season for business, the hotel industry is blessed with booking year round from visiting corporates..


avi Mumba i market is a corporate market where there is no off season except for perhaps a dip during festivities such as Ganpati, Diwali and Christmas”, explains Nimmy Das, General Manager, Majestic Court Sarovar Portico. With several MNCs, FMCG, IT, steel and oil companies setting up large establishments in the city,



Navi Mumbai market is a corporate market where there is no off season except for perhaps a dip during festivities such as Ganpati, Diwali and Christmas.

the demand for rooms is on the rise. “The hotel business in Navi Mumbai is a very impulsive business at the moment. It is an opportunist market. Hoteliers have to be on thei r toes, to get their share of business in this city. With the new CIDCO convention and exhibition centre coming in, there is going to be increase in demand for quality lodging and stay”, says Pritesh Deshpande, Associate Director of Sales, Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Navi Mumbai. Elaborating on the growth pattern in the city, Swa rup D at t a , G M , The Pa rk Nav i Mumbai shares that “Prior to 2007, the hotel inventory in Navi Mumbai consisted of unbranded hot el s w it h a n economy to budget ma rket or ientat ion. Branded supply of hotel rooms started in 2007 with regional and national brands opening. Since then every year at least one or two hotels have been added to the ma rket across economy to upscale positioning. The major driver of demand has been project-related travel across locally relevant industry sectors, such a s I T a nd I Tenabled services, Oil and Gas, Pet roleu m, Ma nu fact u r i ng, Telecommunications, Shipping a nd Port Related activities. Branded hotel inventory has r i s e n by 60 0 p e r c e nt ove r 2007”. Das further adds to say that “Within a span of a years’ time, three hotels that have opened with 400 inventories in total have come in Navi Mumbai market which has catered to

the growing demand. However newer properties, which are l i k e l y t o c o m e u p i n Nav i Mumbai in due course of time, will destabilize the demand, wh ich w i l l have t o wa it t o catch up with the supply once these projects are completed. In addition most corporate houses a l s o have t he i r ow n g ue s t houses or tr y out residence apartments, which will trim d ow n t h e d e m a n d”. O t h e r branded hotels cashing in on the popularity of this commercial hub are Four Points by Sheraton with 150 rooms, Royal Orchid Central, Grazia and Ramada, Nav i Mu mba i, Roya l T u l ip Navi Mumbai with 97 rooms and ibis Navi Mumbai with an impressive 196 rooms. There are other reasons as well that contribute to making Nav i Mu mba i a prefer re d destination for hoteliers. “Navi Mumbai is considered a wellplanned satellite city with an International Airport coming up in the future which will only build traffic inflow. The relatively lower land price, availability of space and future demand growth makes Navi Mumbai an attractive investment opportunity for a hotel entrepreneur”, says Das. Lower land cost is more so true for the first entrants into the market. Elaborating further, Datta adds that “entrepreneurs, with a first mover advantage, had secured land at relatively lower costs thereby reaping benefits of lower property and other local taxes. Navi Mumbai i s we l l p la n ne d w it h go o d


Within a span of a years’ time, three hotels that have opened with 400 inventories in total have come in Navi Mumbai market which has catered to the growing demand.

zoning regulations and better quality of physical and social infrastructure”. We find that the “Navi Mumbai Government offers better Infrastructure and other quality facilities that encourage companies to set up new business which in turn demands better options accommodation options”, says Deshpande.

The need to bring in leisure guests The city plays host mostly to “junior to mid-level engineers or business development executives, with average length of stay between 3 to 6 nights. Foreign visitors prefer international brands in the upscale or economy segment depending on their entitlements and proximity to

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 19


Reception, Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Navi Mumbai


Navi Mumbai Government offers better Infrastructure and other quality facilities.

their work locations” says Datta. The CIDCO Exhibition Centre is also going to affect increase the business traffic by positing Navi Mumbai as a MICE destination. With about 85% of business coming for corporate travellers, the leisure segment needs a boost . However t he lei su re traffic is at minimal and tends to migrate towards Pune and South Mumbai. Navi Mumbai presently has not got much to offer to the leisure traveller”, says Das. Deshpande hopes promoting attractions such as a theme part and golf course planned for the city will eventually increase traffic of leisure travellers. Datta hopes that competitive prices and rate sensitive leisure customers may not mind the distance and perhaps opt for Navi Mumbai over staying in Mumbai.

The challenges of Navi Mumbai hotels B e i n g p r i m a r i ly d r ive n by corporates, the hoteliers in Nav i Mu mba i have t o de a l with low occupancy over the

20 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

weekends. “The biggest hurdle s o fa r ha s b e en i nc r ea si ng weekend occupancy. Monday to Thursday is great business where i n the hotel does a n average occupancy of 80-85%. But since there is less variety in nightlife and leisure activities, business travellers (long -stay and FIT’s) tend to go back to their hometown or towards the main city, Mumbai. To address this, we are promoting weekend packages w ith inclusions of spa, pre-view theatre screenings, along with Sunday brunches to attract more weekend occupancy”, explains Deshpande. Talking about the operation cost of running a hotel in Navi Mumbai, Datta shares that they face “High cost of operations, especially energy costs and the relative oversupply in the near term results in a price pressure and reduced operating m a r g i n s . Ad d it io n a l ly t he economic slowdown is causing travel budgets to be pruned therefore negatively impacting

accommodation demand. Strict waste control measures to ensure optimum operating costs and creating a compelling value proposition for guests is the only way to survive in the highly competitive Navi Mumbai market”. Das feels that the present over supply and lack of new demand are the major hurdles in Navi Mumbai market. One of the factors influencing hospitality growth is of course t he p l a n ne d Nav i Mu m b a i International Airport. Datta elaborates that “the planned Navi Mumbai International Airport has seen a lot of speculative land-banking, and interest among the developer and owner community. As a result, real estate and land prices have increased exponentially. Hotel development activity will continue in the region but will be timed according to the progress of airport development which is currently slowed down due to land acquisition and resettlement issues”. ■ by PRIYAANKA BERRY


Budget hotels and room service – How well equipped are they? Budget hotels in India strive a lot to ensure comfort for their guests, in a limited budget. While some of them have launched their in-room service keeping in mind the convenience of guests others still prefer the patrons to dine at restaurants where they can get multiple options in cuisine while enjoying a nice ambience. HotelScapes talks to few budget hotels in India about the trends in room service and how in spite being a budget category, satisfaction is ensured for the customers.



Today the hotels offer complimentary breakfast and guests consider buffets a value for money and time. Room service form an integral part of the hotel but they have a very limited menu.

ne looks for variety and hygiene in food during their stay in a hotel. In luxury hotels diversity in food can never be questioned as the patrons get multiple cuisines to choose from – in the restaurants as well as via room service but in budget hotels the room service menu is restricted and that’s why many of them prefer their guests to dine at the hotel restaurant. “Lately all day dining restaurants at budget hotels have become of prime importance as they offer buffets for all major meals. Today the hotels offer complimentary breakfast and guests consider buffets a value for money and time. Room service form an integral part of the hotel but they have a very limited menu’’ says Rajesh Ranjan, Director, New properties, Sarovar Hotels. The same trend has been fol lowe d by ibi s wher e t he guests are encouraged to enjoy meals at their restaurants “ibis hotels across India offers round the clock services to its guests.

22 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

Display of food served in rooms

Though it is upon the guest to choose in terms of dining but we would prefer to have them experience the ambience at ‘Spice It’. Most certainly, the restaurant will offer a wider choice of food & beverage options and a more relaxed environment to the guests” says Maverik Mukerji, Area General Manager, ibis Hotels, Maharashtra. Also he says “our restaurant is a casual dining space that offers the best of world cuisine where there is an interactive kitchen environment with a choice of delectable buffet and a la carte menu. For those who get up ea rly, the restau ra nt of fers 8 hou rs non-stop brea k fast concept starting from 4am to suit both early risers and sleepy heads which is unique in the economy hotel industry.” Pride Hotel is facilitated by a service called ‘In room dining’. The food is served in the room and guests can dine in their room conven iently w ithout getting disturbed. This facility is primarily for those who are looking for some relaxation post



Though it is upon the guest to choose in terms of dining but we would prefer to have them experience the ambience at ‘Spice It’.




work. There are also plenty of options to dine out as well in the hotel offering multiple of dishes and drinks from world class cuisines. “A t P r i d e w e d o n ’ t deliberately encourage guests to opt for either of the services. We g ive pr ior it y t o g ue st ’s convenience. Our room service and coffee shops/restaurants b o t h o f f e r qu a l it at i ve a nd qu a nt it at ive fo o d o p t io n s . However, we would love for our guests to try out a sumptuous variety of dishes we offer in our restaurants. Each restaurant has its own theme, specific cuisine a nd complementi ng decor creating a unique ambience and offering a splendid overall dining experience’’ says Jain, Managing Director, Pride Hotels. At Ginger no full-f ledged menu is available for the guests, but enough is ensured so as not to leave them disappointed. PK Mohankumar, MD & CEO, Roots Corporation says “Guests in the budget sector are generally e nt r e p r e ne u r s a nd m i d d l e management personnel. At this

Our room service and restaurants both offer qualitative food options. However, we would love for our guests to try out a sumptuous variety of dishes we offer in our restaurants.

price point, they are looking for hygiene, efficiency which doesn’t mean only warmth, but also brings in speed and technology into the whole experience. Sleep and shower experiences are critical but there should also be basic food and breakfast facility. Most guests who use Ginger hotels are looking for a bed and breakfast experience. Business t r ave l l e r s a r e i n m e e t i n g s through the day and come back for a good sleep experience while leisure guests want to experience the city and prefer to eat at local eateries. Keeping this mind they have kept a minimal room service menu that provides guests the chance to savour a limited but fulfilling menu.’’ But on the contrary ibis has

introduced its exclusive ‘in-room service’ with unique menu to serve better. ‘’As we see a rise in the demand for room delivery, we have offered a new service to ou r g uests to meet thei r requirements. Guests expect wholesome food that is well prepared and hygienic; this inroom delivery concept has been introduced to serve food that is to meet their expectations. The idea is to serve food that is closer to traditional or homemade food so that guests don’t miss their comfort food while travelling. We are just trying to make a difference as far as budget category of hotels is concerned. Our guests will be well taken care of’’, says Mukerji. At Pride they offer quick and convenient room service so if the guest prefers to spend the day in the room either relaxing or on some important business work, they can avail of our room service which of fers three dif ferent cuisines (Indian, Continental and Chinese). “The quick and convenient room service makes sure that the guest’s needs are catered to within the premises of his own room without having to waste time by going to a restaurant’’ adds Jain. Also the price of room service is lower to what travellers expect in luxury hotels. According to Maverick “Spice It is a well p r ic e d r e s t au r a nt w it h no compromise on the quality of food offered. If the guests collect the order themselves then even the in-room delivery is at same price as the restaurant. On an average, food & beverage pricing is 50%-60% below similar offers i n lu x u r y hotels.” However according to SP Jain the pricing of room service is 30% lesser than luxury hotels. Ranjan believes that today rates are not too high as there are multiple of ferings at all locations and luxury hotels


Sleep and shower experiences are critical but there should also be basic food and breakfast facility. Most guests are looking for a bed and breakfast experience.

are no criteria as now there are more good free standing restaurants as competition. “We a lways ke ep ou r rat e s competitive in the market in this scenario, where affordability ca n be ensu re d a long w it h the benefit factors.” comments Rajesh. Also according to him the menu ser ved ca n not be compared to the luxury hotels as they belong to the different category of hotels. “We offer a la carte menu with local and international offerings. We also offer pre-plated combo menus for the convenience of guests. Home style cooked food is offered in our room services beside a kids menu at some locations” adds Ranjan. ■ by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 23


Ensuring creativity in guest services Warmth, people skills and strong leadership abilities are qualities that describe Andrew Hendrian, General Manager at The Leela Palace Bangalore. Having worked for almost three decades in the hospitality industry, Hendrian brings vast amount of experience and understanding of hotel operations and guest services. This month, HotelScapes speaks with Hendiran and takes a look into his work style and his vision for the property.


hat makes a good hotel manager? Gue st s t o day a re extensive travellers – whether for business or leisure. A good general manager is someone who ca n help t hem ach ieve three aspects that top their list of ex pectations - tech nologica lly friendly interactions, and safe and secure accommodation and value for money. One has to realise that travellers sea rching for hotels a re today p r e s e nt e d w it h a p l e t ho r a o f options on a platter. Even the most affluent guests are seeking value for money and quality, and this value proposition lies not in the obvious elements but in the more discreet methods. The general manager has to ensure creativity in hotel room amenities, the food and beverage select ion a nd the a mbience of the hotel. Efficient managers are now re-looking every aspect of traditional hospitality norms to set the standards for a profitable operation.

Andrew Hendrian

Top trends in the hotel business today…

Even the most affluent guests are seeking value for money and quality, and this value proposition lies not in the obvious elements but in the more discreet methods.

The generation that is ruling the travel markets today is the boom generation – the one that has seen the transistor, television, radio, handicam and cameras unveiled and fade out. This generation has embraced technology like none of their predecessors have had to and hence, as the trend goes, they demand

General Manager, Leela Palace Bangalore

24 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

it in every interaction they have. Ease of shortlisting, booking, check-in, inroom experiences, adoption of the mobile phones as a tool to access information via apps, websites, etc are some of the mandatory services today, if guest wish lists were to be checked. And therefore, the trends in the hotel industry currently have adapted to the guests’ needs. As a person living out of a suitcase, guests demand information at their fingertips, literally.

How is it trickier to have a hotel in Bangalore than in other parts of the nation? And also what are the advantages? Bangalore hotels receive 80% expat guests and because of this, the hotel staff is always on its toes to meet the expectations of the travellers with the resources available. We also have to be up to date with what is happening around the globe in context of innovations, cuisines, new technology available for guests and associates and equipping the hotel with the same. Bangalore being a cosmopolitan city has a lot to offer.

Could you give us an insight on your day? A fter check i ng a r rivals i n the morning time, I meet and interact with the guests in the lounge or breakfast area. Post the morning meal, I get on to reviewing of reports from previous night. Before noon time, a meeting with the executive


Porch, The Leela Bangalore

committee is organized and executed. Post that, I go for a hotel round with the ex-com team, followed by meetings, restaurant rounds and lunch with guests. Before the day ends, I, as a general manager, have to catch up with innumerable emails and work accordingly. Maintaining a cheerful relationship with the guests is a very important function of a general manager and therefore, I meet the guests and interact with them at the lounge or bar in the evenings as well.

The best time of the day is? It is undoubtedly between 5:45 am to 7:30 am, when I go for a jog and hit the gym, followed by coffee and quality time with my kids. Another time in the day I enjoy is when I meet the guests and do sales calls during the day.

How would you describe your work style? At my workplace, I always believe in being myself, naturally open and warm. Innovative ideas and suggestions from guests and associates are always on the search list. Also, I keep an open door policy for associates and guests.

As an expatriate working in Bangalore, what have your greatest learnings been so far? Patience and tolerance is the virtue which you learn in India. I have witnessed a great

cultural exchange of both culinary and traditions, and in the process have explored incredible India.

What is your vision of hospitality for The Leela Palace Bangalore? The Leela Palace Bangalore is an iconic treasure of India that has set a bench mark for luxury hotels in India. We strive to deliver an experience which is memorable and reflects Indian hospitality and take luxury to the next level. My vision anticipates it to be the market leader, offering services from the heart and still being humble.

What have been your initiatives in your capacity as the hotel GM? In guest services, we have renovated the gym with state-of-the-art equipment as this has become a necessity today. Improvements like enhancing the Wi-Fi band width to 50 MB so guests can download upload data, refining our Citrus restaurant to a culinary journey across the world, introducing a library and a internet kiosk for associates in the hotel, engaging a nutritionist for associates to promote healthy eating, and upgrading the facilities for guests in rooms, have been my initiatives. Not to forget, introducing Wi-Fi in our limousines for guests who have a long travel time from the airport to surf the net while on their way to the hotel is another attractive initiative I have undertaken. â– by HOTELSCAPES TEAM

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 25


The Changing Face of Hotel Price Intelligence Hotels and OTAs grapple with hyperactive consumers in an online space where speed is the key.



onsumers more than e ve r w a n t t o b e o n top of the dema nd – supply cycle and drive hotel pricing decisions through easily available information on the web. They are restless for information and stay alert for the right offer at the right price at the right moment. This has been increasingly facilitated by ‘price comparison sites’ or ‘price aggregators’. The search technology m at r i x h a s g r ow n t o c ove r a l l s e a r c h p a r a m e t e r s t h at consumers require to do a ‘like for like’ comparison. Hotel price aggregators are driving organic sea rch faci l itati ng access to thousands of hotels in just a few clicks. When I search for these here in the UK, I come across the following: co ; w w w.compa rehotels123. c om ; w w w.go c ompa r e.c om ;; w w el scombi ne k; and more. With rate parity being a key factor in the pricing strategy of many hotels, there is not a big difference in publicly distributed rat e s ; howeve r whole s a le r s further enhance distribution of rates and inventory across a huge number of affiliated online agents. The aff iliates have their own guidelines in marking up these rates, which creates the ground

for many price comparison sites

to assist consumers in their quest for the right offer. Affiliates also pick up rates and inventory from the GDS to replenish inventory or diversify their portfolio of available hotels based on agreements with the globa l d i st r ibut ion system s. Wholesalers and bed-banks have a key role in distribution as they provide net/gross rates to other online agents which are then picked up by price comparison engines attracting consumers wanting to use a one-stop-shop in their quest. Each qualified search is driven by a referral scheme which is paid out by the affiliate pa r t ners i.e. t he u nderly i ng provider of the service. For the consumer - this is just a great deal as it saves them the headache of going through an extensive search process in their hunt for the best available rate. For hotels, understanding the market place becomes key to implementing a healthy balanced pricing strategy to manage and maximize revenue in real-time. While segmenting their markets, they need to consider both the consumer and the competition in order to capture the relevant data which combined with the overall business intelligence leverages their positions in the market.  Identifying the right c o m p e t i t i ve s e t p owe r s t h e heavy weighted function of the

26 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

revenue management matrix. Being in a position to monitor the competitive set streamlines the inflow of business intelligence data and the real-time access to ma rket behaviour is what provides the ultimate edge to a hotel at any given point of time. In all the aspects of the distribution mix, hotels are under the radar for respecting agreements while offering competitive prices in an ultra dynamic market and making the most of the channel mix for capturing higher sales in specific niche segments and geographies.

shopping’. Selecting the right parameters enables fetching of relevant data where hoteliers can drill down into very specific ‘like for like’ comparison of room types, restricted /unrestricted rates, tax inclusive/exclusive rates with the search window available as far as three years in advance. While real-time rate intelligence facilitates that up-tothe-minute price optimization,  integrating a rate shopper and channel management solution, enables hoteliers a live fix of rate parity discrepancies.

The e volut ion of Tou r Operators from the brick and mortar shops of the 1990s into modern-day online travel agents, (OTAs) has made the travel digital space an exacerbated playground where the fight for lowest rate guaranteed is critical

Keeping a close eye on parity acro ss connected travel sites

while rate parity is still placed on a high pedestal keeping the hotels under constant scrutiny. Changing times brings with it improved technology. With new problems come new solutions. Hoteliers can now gain access to real-time price intelligence for quicker reaction and greater control of the various shifts in the market place giving them a chance to dynamically optimize revenue. The technology embedded in intuitive and userf r i e nd ly a p p l i c at i o n s a l l ow hoteliers to generate qualified competitors’ data through ‘rate

and making inventory available on third party distributors set opportunities at a channel level for an organic increase of ranking and visibility. This in turn brings the billboard ef fect into play thereby driving business to the hotel’s own site and generating direct revenue. Further, it also helps hotels keep on top of market shifts with immediate rate change alerts which can capture specific rate va riation - whether in value or percentage. The hotel gets the chance to reposition itself in time and consider revenue maximization within the right parameters. For hotel groups and chains, -having the right technology is crucial to its pricing strategy, which will notify the group of any



breach of rate policy. An intuitive rate comparison tool g ives hotels the releva nt data to understand when money is left on the table. While tax can be a determining factor as rates might be displayed tax inclusive or exclud i ng ta x, consideri ng accuracy and completeness as a whole is essential. Failing to source the correct data will have a hugely impact the hotel’s pricing strategy. Refining your rate strategy is symbiotic to the quality of your business intelligence data. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), are on a constant hurry to stay ahead of the race – going by the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’ – ensuring they keep hunting for the ‘best available rate’. As the hyperactive consumer increasingly ta rgets the price comparison sites to capture the best deals – this is what drives revenue to many OTAs today. OTAs are bound to keep an eye on price intelligence and benchmark their competitors to keep themselves competitive and manage their revenue streams. Tools are now available to assist the OTAs understand shifts within their benchmark analysis with live alerts and reporting. Hotels must ensure that they do not breach their contractual obligations with OTAs and this may mean maintaining a healthy rate parity strategy. However to enable a differentiation in product hotels can instead offer special packages at exclusive rates through specific niche channels but keeping in mind the cost of distribution. These can be achieved through developing strong guest loyalty programs, brand campaigns, fenced strategies and

flash sales. As Warren Mandelbaum, a Hospitality Revenue Management Professional, ascertains – “With an ever changing landscape of how hotels distribute pricing to the consumer, in recent years the Office of Fair Trading has investigated the contractual rate parity agreements enforced between certain corporate hotel chains and OTAs seeing them as uncompetitive and potentially e n fo r c i n g ‘p r ic e f i x i n g’. The outcome of their decision into this practice may have overwhelming consequences for the consumer who may be bombarded with special offers and discounts through various channels they did not have access to before should rate parity enforcement become relaxed and possibly even made illegal. This will invariably impact the ability of hotels to have control over their pricing by breaking rate parity should they wish to or be forced to. The hotels will, even more so, require an automated system to track rates and shift in pricing strategy giving back the hotel control of their pricing matrix and how they distribute rates in the market.” The value of a rate shopping tool can easily be assessed based on its functionality, whether the tool can generate live data for greater edge and reaction time vs historical rates shopped in the past that is hours, days, months or even years ago. The notification functionality can capture compromised rate strategies within various data reports and graphs. Don’t let competitors anticipate your pricing strategy, be dynamic and carefully consider all market segments while integrating business intelligence into your strategy. ■

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 27


Express treatments in hotel spas are meant to soothe and relax travellers on the go. As the term suggests, express spa treatments are quick, simple and short but enough to give the guests a true taste of spa service and provide some much need relaxation. It works well for guests with limited time and also perhaps increasing guest footfall to the spa. Spa managers feel it is an easy revenue source and a warm showcase of their services. HotelScapes talks to spa managers of hotels all across India to find out what is this new trend, the pros and cons of these services and the feedback they receive from their guests.

Express Spa Treatments gain momentum Setting new trends The trend of express treatments has become very popular, so much that not only people who have less time opt for it, but even others who enjoy the luxury of time go for these treatments on a trial basis or for its costeffectiveness. “Till now, express treatments were only offered at airport spas but now people check out of the hotel rooms to save the room rate and go to a spa which is a perfect place to relax and spend time,” says Sweta Tyagi, Manager, Club Prana at Hyatt Regency Kolkata. At Club Prana, the spa treatments can also be customized for the time available with their guests so as to provide them with complete relaxation. “We offer mini facials, head, foot or back massages to help them get over the travel stress,” says Tyagi. These treatments are not just value for time, but also value for money. Quan spa offers 30 minute express treatments of various body parts, like a 30 minute eye treatment or back massage. One can try an express treatment and then combine it with a proper spa massage. This



Till now, express treatments were only offered at airport spas but now people check out of the hotel rooms to save the room rate and go to a spa which is a perfect place to relax and spend time.

28 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

way express treatments work extremely well and also enhances the real massage experience. Some spas like Four Seasons Hotel spa prefer not to discount and instead ‘add value’ to their guest’s spa experience. “Our guests enjoy a complimentary 30 minutes everyday from 10am to 3pm; the package has been very successful”, says Martin Hilton, Senior Director of Four Seasons  Hotel spa, Mumbai. It is also good to have floating treatments as promotional offers of the month. “A good idea is to sell them as gift certificates; we introduce offer packages from time to time which combine basic requirements of beauty and body treatments and are well priced,” says Anuradha Mathad, Manager, Antahpura Spa in Park Hyatt, Chennai.

Benefits to costumers Express treatments are popular because of thei r mu lt iple advantages to costumers. The concept comes as a blessing to corporates who are always in a rush and lack adequate time and to those who would like a teaser of the treatment before signing


Our guests enjoy a complimentary 30 minutes everyday from 10am to 3pm; the package has been very successful.


Four Seasons Hotel Spa, Mumbai

up for a complete experience. Guests with busy schedules like to come by for quick feel good treatment before heading out. “For an urban spa or a spa in a hotel that caters to more business travellers, express treatments help guests to have a quick stress buster,” says Mathad. If one hasn’t tried a massage at a spa prev iously, he /she can definitely try an express treatment, and by the end of it can come to a conclusion if time and money spent on a complete spa experience is worthwhile. “An express treatment is a very nice offering to hotel guests. They make the guests aware of what all services we have,” says Anna Fernandes, Manager, Marriott Goa. Apart from these, there are plus poi nts that come f rom various current trends we have talked about. Express treatments are customizable, can be added to enhance a proper treatment a nd p e op l e c a n a l s o e njoy complimentary massages. In all, a guest or a traveller can relax while being in transit without spending a lot of time and money.


for therapists also, says Tyagi. In fact, she calls it a “win-win for all” and Mathad adds that “it helps to keep the buzz on”. On the down side, express t reatments ca n someti mes adversely effects the sale of full time spa treatments, points out Tygai as “most people just end up trying express treatments which hampers the revenue in the long run”. Fernandes would like her g uests to u ndersta nd that an express treatment is not a proper massage. It is meant to relax or as in the face ritual treatment they offer, it is just cleansing and preparing the skin for a further massage.


Treatments on Offer

For an urban spa or a spa in a hotel that caters to more business travellers, express treatments help guests to have a quick stress buster.

Smart deal for the spas From the perspective of a spa, express treatments work to get them more visibility. They add to the revenue and help promote their facilities to the guests in a short time. “Offering express treatments definitely has a merit in marketing spa facilities to guests of the hotel, especially during quieter time periods like mornings and early afternoons,” says Hilton. They help to attract in-house guests/long stayers by offering teaser massages like a 15-20 minutes head, neck and shoulder massage or a foot massage. “It is easier to provide a taste of relaxation and to make the guests understand how a full treatment will feel like, and it does not get too stressful

At Quan spa, guests can opt for express treatments like 30 minutes divine head massage or back and neck massage. They have also introduced an express purity ritual which is a 45 minutes cleansing massage for face. At Fou r S e a s on’s hot e l spa, there’s an ongoing ‘Spa Time’ promotion where guests can enjoy their favorite 90 minute massage for the price of 60 minutes. “Our next spa promotion will be ‘Me Time’ where we are encouraging busy executives to switch off their smart phones for 2 hours,” says Hilton. The name of the offer sounds apt as one gets to relax and enjoy a massage, soaking bath, private steam room, tea/coffee and a welldeserved chocolate cake. It is designed keeping in mind the corporate guests. Antahpura Spa of fer 45 minutes massage focussing on a body part or a 30 minutes clean up facial. Treatments are customizable at Club Prana. They offer mini facials and head, foot or back massage. Packages are introduced by them from time to time.


An express treatment is a very nice offering to hotel guests. They make the guests aware of what all services we have.

The trend of express treatments is on a rise in hotel spas all over the country. The costumers keep coming back for express services as they are quick, value for money and serve as nice teasers. Spa managers feel they are easy source of revenue and help in showing guests that what all do they have to offer. Many of the hotels in the name of express treatments also offer 90 minutes services and as Fernandes says. “We would rather be flexible with opening times to accommodate a one hour massage than have a guest massage squeezed into 30 minutes of their busy day”; many spas like the Quan Spa are open to early morning massages at 7am. ■ by SWETA MITTAL

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 29


The maturing Indian Food Industry The food industry in India is maturing and using high quality ingredients and latest cooking equipment to present guests with best of taste and presentation. With the food industry reaching new heights in India, we speak with Anil Chopra, MD Fine Food India to discuss this trend and learn more about the B2B expo planned for next month.


hat motivated you to come to India?

Fine Food India specializes in attracting gourmet and specialty foods and connecting with the HORECA market. Our experience lies in

understanding the food industry and large kitchens is the key, flight kitchens, large catering. Now the most mot ivat i ng factor for us is the change in food habits and the adoption of international cuisine and the imports of gourmet foods like the

30 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

cheeses, cold meats, European fish and more. Ma ny posit ive fact or s i n India’s food and drink story made it easy to decide to establish the Fine Food India expo. The boost in fast food franchises, the café culture

expansion, the fine dining trends and popularity of shows such as Master Chef India all indicate that the food and drink market is rapidly maturing in India. Diversified Communications, the world over runs food shows from the Boston Sea Food Expo

F&B to Natural Foods in London a nd Ba r a nd Restau ra nt i n Hong Kong, and Fine Food in Au s t ra l ia. F i ne Fo o d I nd ia is launched in the belief the HORECA sector needs a focused expo delivering real value to the F&B managers, executive chefs and purchase managers, and that the packaged foods industry needs a platform to showcase their gourmet and specialty foods to the retail sector.

Talking specifically about the Indian hotel industry, what are the current trends in the food industry? It has become imperative for a good luxury hotel to boast of fine dining options in new genres of cuisines such as Italian, Mexican, Thai, Japanese and Asian fusion. It is even important to possess knowledge of the best ingredients and boast of using the right ingredients to offer authenticity and showcase imported meats and fish. There is a huge challenge in sourcing and this is where Fine Food delivers. The challenge of a

multi-cuisine restaurant is also the trend, which means state-ofthe art kitchens, using technology to deliver international cuisine and the challenge of trained manpower. You need to ensure proper food preparation, storage and food service. It is not just ol ive oi l or virgin olive oil or soya sauce, it is the particular brand of olive and virgin and why? It is the particular brand of soya and the consistency and knowing why? It is about the right cheese and the why? This means investing in the knowledge quotient of food and drink, and then the infrastructure to deliver it. Indians are prone to eating the best and not grudging to spend, and as international travel exposure increases the Indian fine diner becomes a good bet to invest in.

In terms of technology, where should hoteliers and chefs be investing? It is not only about investing in expensive ingredients such as cheese or meats. The true return on i nvest ment mea ns r ight

storage and this does not simply mean refrigeration. The right temperature is one thing and then there are storage techniques. Cooking methods and equipment that ensures to some extent automated cooking to perfection such as combination ovens. Today the frozen dough for example delivers an impressive array of baked goods, which removes the need of a full-fledged bakery chef and equipment, but this is done with automated and programmed ovens to create frozen dough. Ingredients make the difference and the trend is to use t he most cost- ef fect ive ingredient and cooking method equipment. It is important that hotel kitchens look at high-end equipment that would last and deliver better results, pizza ovens for example is a case in point. Also in food service it is best to use high quality buffet systems and cutlery which lasts in good condition. Also, of importance to hoteliers and chefs, is water management and food safety.    

Lastly, what is the objective of Fine Food India? The main objective is to establish a credible platform which is neutral and independent for the food and drink and food service i ndu s t r y a nd t o me et w it h decision makers from HORECA and retail. It is a B2B expo with a focus only on food and drink and no other aspect of hospitality. Th e o bj e c t i ve i s t o g i ve industr y professionals an annual destination that attracts innovation and new sources of food and drink. FFI is guided in delivering the means and the product, so if its beer then beer dispensers and brewery t e ch, i f it s w i ne t hen w i ne accessories, like wise for food – the gourmet and specialty items along with the staple needs of large catering kitchens. I wish to emphasize that FFI aims to


Our main objective is to establish a credible platform which is neutral and independent for the food and drink and food service industry and to meet with decision makers from HORECA and retail.

bring the industry together with one voice on its platform. So we have support from FHRAI and from HOTREMI and ARCHII and also from HPMF – Hospitality Purchase Managers Forum and then AIWPA and AIFPA and other bodies. These important and esteemed bodies all come t oget he r sha r i ng t he s a me vision of providing the hotel and restaurant industry with the latest and best and discussing t he i s sue s t hat ca n en su r e progress of the industry. The third edition of Fine Food India (FFI) will be held from 1113 December, 2013 in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. ■ by HOTELSCAPES TEAM

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 31



The leaps in technology over the years have impacted the operations and quality of quest services in the hospitality industry tremendously. Collecting guests feed back has become electronics and online reputation is paramount.


u r generation bor n in the late 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s is truly b l e s s e d . We h a v e probably witnessed the biggest leap in science and technology. From clunky land line phones to sma rt phones, f rom black a nd wh it e t elev i sion set s to motion sensing 3 D LED TV’s, from “internet – what’s that?” to “I don’t know what I would do without being connected” 1990's



• Phone call to the hotel • Rates negotiated and closed on phone • Confirmation number given and confirmation letter faxed • Payment received at the time of check (in cash) in or paid in advance through bank cheque or demand draft

• Look up for hotel information on the internet. • Call the hotel for rates and confirmation. • The confirmation is emailed • Payment is received at the time of check (in cash) in or paid in advance through credit card, bank cheque or demand draft

• Look up for the hotel on smart phones/ tablets/personal computers • Compare rates of hotels on various sites, look up for reviews on popular portals and bookings made on the above devices. • The confirmation is instantly received • Payment is made through payment gateways by using on-line banking or credit cards

Arrival and Check-in

• Arrive at the hotel and furnish your documents • Manual noting made in registers • Room key handed

Arrive at the hotel and furnish your id proof Booking confirmed by the receptionist on the system Key card handed over

• Arrive at the hotel and self check-in at the kiosk or check in beforehand on various devices • Key cards ready at reception or technologies like Near Field Communication allows access to the rooms through your own device

In – room experience

• Reach your room and use your manual entry key • Insert key in slot to activate air conditioning, electricity

• Reach your room and use your key card for entry • Insert key card in slot to activate air conditioning, electricity

• Reach your room and gain access through your own device • Use smart devices like i-pods or your own device for accessing all the devices in the room

Food and beverage

• Order in room or eat at the restaurant using paper menus • Hand written paper bills handed over Payments made at the time of check out or at the same time using cash

• Order in room or eat at the restaurant using paper menus • Printed paper bills handed over • Payments made at the time of check out or at the same time using cash/credit cards

• Order in room or eat at the restaurant using electronic menus on in-room devices • Bills sent to your device by email Payments made at the time of check out or at the same time using cash/credit cards or on-line payment mechanisms such as pay-pal

Check – out

• Queue up at the counter and wait for the bills to be prepared manually Payment using cash

• Bills all printed from the system so no queuing • Payment using credit cards or in cash

• Bills emailed directly to your device • Payment by on line mechanisms such as pay pal or through prepaid cards


32 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

GUEST COLUMN and from meeting socially (read physically) to chat rooms and social media the progress has been truly amazing. No large scale industry today is untouched by it. Hence hospitality is no exception. In order to closely study the impact of technology on the industry let’s look at the guest journey from the time of booking through the 1990’s, 2000’s and 2010’s. Post stay reviews are today one of the key determinants for future sale. Hotel companies are very aware of this. Just as is evident in the table above this is one more area which has been deeply impacted. In the 1990’s most of the guest reviews collected were verbal or through paper based forms. The data thus captured was not compiled or analyzed in as much

detail as it is today. The complaints (if made by the guest) were dealt i n rea l t i me w it h a n a i m at restricting damage. As we move to the 2010’s the guest review gained more importance and it moved to its electronic avatar the email. Feedback forms were being sent to all staying guests to rate their stay. At Premier Inn for example in the UK well over a million responses are received every year and is central to the decision making. 2010’s have seen a shift from post stay reviews to real time in the moment reviews. ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ SMS’s, short response questionnaire immediately after the experience are some such examples. It does not end here. A lot of people choose not to respond to these structured response queries

but love to share their experiences on social media websites. On-line “reputation management” has become extremely important these days. This typically includes scouring travel websites and popular social websites such as Facebook and Twitter amongst others, for reviews. There are tools available today which can run through the text on these sites and pick up key words to collate all the reviews for a hotel/ hotel company. Most companies today have someone in-house or outsourced who specialize in this activity and provides responses to queries, kudos and complaints. In the case of Premier Inn because the brand promises a “Good Night Sleep Guarantee” professionals have been employed to respond especially to unhappy guests,

expressing their views on various websites, and offer money back with a request to stay again. All of these responses whether from questionnaires or social websit e s a re bei ng col lat e d, analyzed, sliced and diced like never before to look for that elusive trend. Once a company latches on to a trend they listen and make the change. There is mileage to be had after the changes are made and it again finds its way back to the cybespace where it is talked, tweeted, liked, followed (the list goes on) In conclusion just as it is for the rest of the world technology has left a deep indelible mark on hospitality and has forced the industry to sit up and take notice. No company with a competitive winning spirit can afford to ignore this. ■

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 33


A chef’s life –

More than having exemplary culinary skills With great passion for his native cuisine, Italian, Saulo Bacchilega, Executive Chef, Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa possess an expertise for the same. There are other aspects of a chef’s job which generally people tend to ignore, but they hold a huge relevance in bringing out their best. Not everyone knows what is happening back stage and how much effort goes into dishing out delicacies. HotelScapes talks to Saulo about his personal life and also coaxes him in telling us secrets behind churning out great dishes of all times and how to please every palate.


hat is your routine like?

I am in the kitchen by 8.30 am; checking breakfast which I believe is the most important meal of the day, then a round of meetings and back to the floor for lunch operation. Afternoon is more or less the same, meeting with my chefs to recap the previous day and to prepare for the evening. When I started my career we always had our little notebook, our recipe ‘bible’, times have changed and the internet is an amazing source of ideas and inspiration. I do spend time surfing, reading blogs, looking at trends, checking recipes, and so on.

What cuisine you love cooking the most and why?

Saulo Bacchilega

Executive Chef, Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa Meeting new people, discovering ingredients, flavours, eating habits and cultures, I think is among the most interesting aspects of my job. I am a market maniac, I love to go to local markets and look at what is available, talk to the ladies selling the goodies, taste new food.

Since I am from Italy, I love cooking my mother cuisine, Italian. The taste and flavours I was born with, the ingredients, the techniques, everything is part of my background and I truly enjoy cooking it.

What is the most interesting part of your job? Meeting new people, discovering ingredients, f lavours, eating

36 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

habits and cultures, I think is among the most interesting aspects of my job. I am a market maniac, I love to go to local markets and look at what is available, talk to the ladies selling the goodies, taste new food. The wholesale fish market in Margao, Goa is one of my all-time favourite, at the beginning few people turned the head seeing a foreigner at 3 o’clock going around, checking fish, looking at gills, touching the skin, now they just got used to it and is not a novelty anymore.

What is your signature style of cooking? Keeping it simple is all I do. I do not like to mix and match too many ingredients as the result at the end of it is a f lat and flavourless product.

Ingredients you think give a kick to your dishes? Fresh herbs. A spring of fresh thyme, Italian parsley roughly broken with your fingers or few small leaves of basil can give a twist and a kick to the dish.

Food brands you rely on? There are few reliable big Italian

CHEF’S PAGE brands, however for the most I prefer to work with less known niche brands. Big brands can give you consistency, but it is a flat down consistency, they need to suit too many palates. In small brands the quality is normally higher, but it comes with more costs and challenges in terms of delivery. The trick is to maintain a balance between both.

We can have the most flavoursome dish in the world, but present it in a wrong way or without the right tools and it will not leave the same impression. Each restaurant also should have its own ‘life’, a distinctive and different concept from other, to differentiate itself from the others .We like to play with different texture and temperatures in the same dish, it is actually fun and rewarding.

How do you manage your team?

Prawn Coriander Peppercorn Soup

I like to think that I am their mentor, brother, teacher, father, son, and so on. We spend long hours together, so it is normal that the relationship grows to be more than just supervisor and subordinate. And I strongly believe it is very important that I keep stimulating their curiosity, their willingness to discover new things, look for new combinations or techniques. A chef has to be happy to cook, only then will his food be delicious. So we continuously have trainings, trials for new dishes, exchange of ideas and suggestions. I do not want to curb my chef ’s inventiveness, so we give it a shot when we think a suggestion can add a value to our product.

How do you ensure maintaining food quality and consistency? Alle Belle Parfait

Training is the key; repetition of the same dish will ensure that it will come out consistent to our standards. So we have to check every dish that we serve, because every dish at the end can be different from the previous and from the following one. Also checks are conducted everywhere in the kitchen, from checking the refrigerators to ‘doing the pass’ and from tasting sauces to check the incoming products upon delivery by suppliers.

What kind of importance do you place on food presentation and how do you implement it in your restaurant? Sea Bass Fillet

There is saying ‘we eat with our eyes first’ and the first impression impacts the rest of the dining experience.

How do you modify your dishes to suite every kind of traveller? It is statistically proven that it is impossible to satisfy every customer, what is spicy for me is mild for you, what is rare for you is overcooked for me, and so on. I try to be as authentic as possible when it comes to Italian cuisine, if I am serving pasta then it will be ‘al dente’, and if a guest wants it more cooked then we prepare the dish as per his preference. Guests are well read and well-travelled now a days and know what a true Italian cuisine is and what is not, or for that matter what is Indian and what is not. An Arrabbiata sauce has to be spicy, I cannot serve it anyway else. It is difficult if a guest walks in to the Indian restaurant and asks for a crispy palak paneer. As I mentioned before, the key is authenticity, it is difficult to please every palate.

What are the current dining trends? In India, Chinese is still at the top, and fortunately real Chinese cuisine is getting known as well. I believe Italian will overtake it in the nearest future, it is a normal transition because guest are always in for new things, however I am afraid there will be a lot of counterfeit dishes being sold for Italian, starting with restaurant chains which have nothing at all in common with Italian. Globally the trend for small dishes, tapas/mezze style is still on, the ‘foam’ mania is fading down, and there is a lot of focus on healthy, environmentally friendly and sustainable cuisine. ■ as told to ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 37


Chef’s baking requisites “Today the work of a pastry chef is not just confined to mere baking. He is responsible for many other tasks as well. You just can’t be proficient at baking and get over your responsibility, times are certainly changing’’ comments Devinder Kumar Bungla, Corporate Pastry Chef, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi. HotelScapes talks to him about the essentials that are required for baking and what exactly is helping him make those scrumptious and drool worthy pastries and other baked goods. The knife Whenever somebody sta r ts cooking, the first thing they do is to cut and similarly, the first thing, pastry chefs do is they cut. Knife holds importance in cutting, slicing and carving breads and lots of other things. It in fact allows us to carve interesting shapes as well. Today we have so many kinds of knifes, that sometimes it’s hard to believe what a small device like knife can do to bakery products.

The whisk



The requisites for baking would be the knife, the whisk, the rolling pins, baking oven and the thermometer. Without these one can not achieve great outcomes in baked goods.

Since whisk is something which helps to blend the ingredients smooth; baking would remain incomplete without it. From m i xing butter and suga r together to making breads, the whisk is a vital equipment. At Hyatt, everything is homemade like breads and that’s why the whisk remains an essential part

Baked goods at Sidewalk, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi

of cooking and helps us achieve making the f inest quality of breads.

The rolling pins In normal kitchen, rolling pin is used to flatten the dough, but for a pastry chef, rolling pin is more than that. Everything from a croissant to a Danish pastry to cookies is made with the rolling pin. You roll the dough first for all of these and then cut it, in whatever the shape you desire.

Baking oven How beautiful the outcome will be, depends all on the baking. A nicely baked product will

Apart from these baking equipments there is one thing which I keep recommending to all the chefs and that is the ‘vanilla stick’. This stick is cut and you get thin slices of vanilla which does wonders to the entire bakery products. It adds a flavour which is generally liked by all the palates. This stick is as expensive as that of gold. It comes around `16,000 but totally worth it.

be tempt i ng to look at a nd scrumptious in taste. Nobody likes half cooked food. Similarly guests will not appreciate if a product is not well baked. So the fourth essential equipment for baking remains a good oven.

The thermometer A thermometer is called ‘The Baker’s Secret Weapon’ that i s u s e d fo r m e a s u r i n g t h e temp erat u re of dough, a nd checking the doneness of bread. If the temperature is not right, the outcome will not be good and in fact if something is not baked at the right temperature it can be unhealthy too. So before giving any product its f inal touch, I ensure that it is baked at the right temperature. The brands that we are using for the knife, whisk, rolling pins and the thermometer is Andy Mannha rt which is a Sw iss brand. However, we are using Kolb, a German brand for baking oven. ■ by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

38 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013


Pollo ai Funghi at Ciro Pomodoro

What it takes to create authentic Italian fare HotelScapes started its journey in an attempt to find out the secrets from the chefs across the finest Italian restaurants, who has surprized us not just with their proficiency but also with their humbleness. Have a look at the main concerns of these chefs in bringing out the true flavours of Italy and how they achieve it! Technique of cooking Whenever we talk of a particular c u i s i ne , t he r e i s a lw ay s a technique that goes behind churning it. For the Executive Che f Ra mon Sa lt o A lva r e z of Zanotta, Leela Kempinski it was more about bringing out the authenticity than any particular technique. “I have worked for 9 years in Middle East and I have felt there was a lack of authenticity in different cuisines. Our chefs at Zanotta will work out specifically in bringing out the genuineness out of a cuisine. The style of cooking

when it comes to Asian, could be different but the western style of cooking remains the same” comments, Alvarez. For Chef Emiliano, the Italian Chef De Cuisine, Prego, Westin, Gu r gaon, t he t e ch n ique of cooking Italian cuisine lies its raw materials which helps us bringing out the authenticity of a cuisine. “My practice is to use top of the products. I think if the raw materials are mediocre the outcome will be similar. However if a dish is prepared using the best of raw materials, you will see the difference. That’s exactly

40 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

where my point of concern lies”, he comments. Also he says, “It is a challenge to adapt to the Indian palette and yet keep the authentic flavour of Italian cuisine intact, and here at Prego we serve food that is only of the finest quality enhance we try to achieve this”. However for Dhruv Oberoi, Sous Chef, Olive Bar & Restaurant Italian cuisine, it’s all about simplicity and the right method of cooking that will decide for the authenticity. “Here at Olive we are focussing on simple recipes but yet on the

classier ones. We are not using any artificial herbs or flavouring. The ingredients are authentic and are from Italy itself. Things like pastas, tomatoes, bacon, Parma ham or parmesan, should speak about themselves. For example if you take parmesan it should be from the region and should have the apt maturing period. Tomatoes come from Italy and the reason we use those tomatoes is not that we don’t get them here but because we want to bring out the f lavour what authentic restaurants are serving in Italy. So the process of making





My practice is to use top of the products. I think if the raw materials are mediocre the outcome will be similar.



Our chefs at Zanotta will work out specifically in bringing out the genuineness out of a cuisine.

an authentic Italian cuisine starts right from choosing the right ingredient.” comments Oberoi. Also according to him some people are doing it the wrong way just to make Italian cuisine taste more delicious. “In India people are seeing going overboard with the ingredients in order to make a dish more tastier, little knowing the damage it’s doing to the authenticity of the dish. Keep it simple and use the authentic raw material and you will get the best Italian cuisine of all times’’, he adds.

Sources/brands of raw materials Without the standardised raw materials it becomes way too difficult to get the true Italian

feel from a cuisine and that’s why we asked these chefs about the authenticity of the raw materials that they are using in their kitchen. For Alvarez, more than technique it’s about choosing the right ingredients and the right brands. “At Zanotta Imported vegetables they come mainly from Thailand. The lamb comes from New Zealand, the chicken is local usually and pork meats when it comes to dry meats like salami they come from Italy. The raw meat comes from Chili and Brazil because these are the products that comply with the Indian regulations. I want to make sure the authenticity shou ld b e m a i nt a i ne d a nd products should be brought from these countries’’ proudly

says Alvarez. However, he also says that since he is new to the hotel, he will take some time in figuring out his own signature brands, which is another most important aspect to a chef. He will be experimenting with few and then he will give his verdict. Emiliano also likes sticking t o t h e au t h e n t i c i t y o f t h e cuisine and that’s why prefers getting all the raw materials from its region. “Most of the raw material that we use are from North Central of Italy. Few products like mozzarella a re f rom South (Ita ly) but basically all raw materials are from North Central of Italy like parmesan and Parma ham is from Langhirano. Meats are getting supplied from Ireland

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 41

CHEF’S PAGE and rest of the raw materials like vegetables and chicken is local. The herbs and sauces are local too. However we face some challenges in finding good basil here but we keep finding till we get what we are looking for”, he comments. Also he has set of brands which he relies on. “We are using the brand De Cecco for the products like pasta, caned products, sauces, olive oil and semolina flour. It’s because it’s one of the oldest brand in Italian Products” adds, Emiliano. Depreciation of rupee is seen making some changes in the kitchen of these restaurants. Olive Bar & Restaurant is soon going to buy its own machine where they can make their own



Here at Olive we are focussing on simple recipes but yet on the classier ones. We are not using any artificial herbs or flavouring.

pasta etc. “We are soon going to buy a new machine which will enable us to make the entire range of pastas. There are two reasons of doing this. One is to bring the authenticity of the cuisine (since everything will be home made, quality w ill not doubted). Second is to do cost cutting. Since the Indian rupee has depreciated getting everything from outside costs us a fortune”, says Oberoi. Also Recently they have switched to a new brand of products. “Currently we are using Garofalo but in the past we have used Barilla, which is the premium brand for pastas. The reason why we switched to Garofalo is that I met the guy who owns the entire mill of Garofalo. The entire range of pasta from this brand is handmade and tastes more authentic.” Apart from this Dhruv is really proud of his choice in olive oil as he gets it supplied from a Greek lady who owns a farm of olives and this enables them to use fresh olive oil. “The cheese, meat, Parma ham, pepperoni that Olive uses is from Italy itself. Chicken is locally sourced. Spring chicken or black chicken is all farm rose”, adds Oberoi. Chef Raffaele del Re, Head Chef, Ciro’s Pomodoro, explained us in elaboration about their choice of brands. “Today everything is available in the Indian market and you can easily get it. For example Parma Ham is easily available in India but Italian Parma ham is unmatchable and that’s why we prefer sticking to that. We don’t get it from the local market, no matter how convenient it is. This way the authenticity of the cuisine won’t ever be doubted. Pastas whatever we have is either from the brand De Cecco or Delle Verde. Olive oil is a prime ingredient so it’s from one of the finest brands in

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olive oils, that is, Costa D’oro. The Pomodoro Pillati at Ciro is exceptional which is from the brand Fiamma. Ravioli is home made. The f lour is from the brand Stagioni. The fish that we are using is black sole, sea bass, red snapper and Vietnamese Basa. The pork is all Italian and in pork we are using Ham, salami, pepperoni and Parma Ham.” At Ciro’s every product is coming from different regions of Italy to ensure the standardised authenticity.

New additions in the Italian menu Also these chefs keep churning out new dishes every month to please their guests so we asked them individually what is happening latest in thei r respective kitchen. Alvarez says “I will certainly try to make a difference to the menu each month as I am emphasizing on cuisines that will represent d i f ferent a reas of Ita ly l i ke Tuscany, Down South, Incisa etc. I will try to represent all the areas of Italy in our dishes”. Oberoi seems to be experimenting a lot. “The next dish we are going to bring is Open Lasagne, which is covered with different toppings. Also we dare doing crazy pastas like pasta with balsamic which is very unusual. I want it to try this for the menu so that people should know what all can be done with pasta. Pasta is not just about white sauce and red sauce, it’s about other sauces as well. Like there are many types of pasta wh ich a re made of meat sauces and it goes to lamb ragu or beef ragu. They are also comfort food for the winters”. Also he says “Italian dishes are much more than just pastas, like pizzas and bruschetta. So the recent hit in the menu is the Burrata, the creamy mozzarella, which comes from Italy. It is a


Today everything is available in the Indian market and you can easily get it. For example Parma Ham is easily available in India but Italian Parma ham is unmatchable and that’s why we prefer sticking to that.

very nice creamy cheese, which apparently is in fashion. If you talk about Europe or Spain, che f s a r e u s i n g it c r a z i ly. Burrata has come in the menu as the cheese bar. It will also be in the pizza menu where we can use a creamy mozzarella on the top. It will also make a delicious antipasto”. At Ciro’s you get customised delicacies, so it’s like new dish coming every day. Del Re says “whatever the customer demands, we give them exactly the same thing. So they don’t get bored of any cuisine and gets to eat a single dish in many variants’’. ■ by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI


Sanjay Puri’s take on evolution of hotel designs Deriving his inspiration from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, Sanjay Puri is one of those contemporary architects who would rather struggle than compromise on his artistic vision, just like the protagonist in the novel. This is the mantra that Sanjay follows and it sets him apart from other competitors. He is the only architect worldwide to win awards in 3 categories at the latest MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Awards in France. Also behind his marvellous design spaces, he intends to evoke an exhilarating experience while ensuring functionality. HotelScapes talks to him regarding the current design aspect of the hotel designs, its evolution and what hoteliers are looking for in terms of designs and materials to ensure aesthetical beauty. Chrome Hotel, restaurant, Kolkata: Angled trapezoidal planes, punctuated with varied compositions, fold down from the ceiling to create two private dining areas within the restaurant space and fragment the volume



Today materials that are used in hotels are largely dependent on the design ideology and are chosen based upon the feel that one wants to create. It is not necessary to use expensive materials.

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Oceanic Hotel, Goa: A series of fluid spaces each with their own identity created by a judicious mix of forms, materials and lighting, transform an existing 50 rooms hotel into a boutique resort

DESIGN Chrome Hotel, Pulp bar, Kolkata: A glass punctuated floor with color change lights echo the exterior wall composition in this open bar corridor with a linear glass bar counter

What are the current trends in hotel design? Hotels today are built in a more sustainable manner. The design has much more casual feel to what it has to be earlier, and I like this approach, it’s a good change in the architectural world. The informal approach is liked by the guests more than the formal approach. It makes them feel at ease.

What are the materials that are being used in different parts of the hotels and how do they ensure functionality? The materials used are largely dependent on the design ideology and are chosen based upon the feel that one wants to create. It is not necessary to use expensive materials. It is more essential to create free flowing expansive spaces and one should ideally use as much of local material as possible. We are constructing an entire hotel of bamboo in Coorg in India with all natural materials sourced from nearby areas for the interior finishes.

How is the designs in bathroom planning changing?

D Hotel, Lucknow: A sculpted series of spaces create a seamless integration of built form with landscape in this 120 room hotel

Bathrooms are more integrated with the rooms in all the newer hotels with one or more walls in glass that allow the bathroom as well as the room to appear larger. This also allows natural light into the bathrooms making it less dependent on artificial lights. In lot of hotels the bathroom area consists of toilet instead of the wardrobe being outside in the vestibule area of the room.

Any particular colour which is preferred most in the hospitality sector and why? Generally hoteliers prefer neutral shades since these are acceptable to most guests. However, many new hotels have used vibrant colours, graphics, textures to create a more definite identity for the rooms.

What do you have to say about the evolution in the designs of the hotel sector?

Oceanic restaurant, Goa: The restaurant is created from thin bamboo screens that undulate across the varying heights unifying the space, making it appear larger and creating a different experience

The hotel sector is constantly evolving and newer hotels that transcend previous ones in terms of their perception and quality of space, their spatial configuration and their integration of open and enclosed are being created everywhere worldwide. The Indian hoteliers are more restrictive in their design approach and exploration of new design concepts. But that too is slowly evolving and in the next few years there shall be a number of exciting new hotel designs in India.

Currently what are the hotel projects that you are working on?  We are currently working on several diverse hospitality projects, including resorts, 5 star hotels, business hotels and boutique hotels. Some of these are in Spain and Montenegro and the rest are in Indian cities including Delhi, Kolkatta, Pune, Jamshedpur, Lucknow, Nashik, Surat, Rajkot and Ahmedabad. ■ as told to ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 45


MEGU – reminiscing Japanese architecture Upholding the international standards, using inimitable cooking techniques and bringing the charm of Japanese Architecture, Megu is the capital’s hub of authentic Japanese Cuisine. We visited the restaurant, to find out the unique architecture elements that make it truly ‘Japanese’.

Buddha under bonsho bell

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alking past The Library (bar) of The Leela Palace and through the European setting, you will enter Megu (a hub of the sophisticates), which has now emerged into a smugly satisfied Japanese hotel restaurant. As you walk in, you will get to see an exciting mix of traditional art and contemporary design, juxtaposing so well that it will start building up your dining experience. Reminiscent of the Japanese temples prevalent in the aristocratic era, the design element of Megu is based on craftsmanship, magnificence, elaboration and delicacy. The décor with interesting floor-to-ceiling dark-oak wood and lacquered channeled interiors has been designed by Design Studio Spin Inc., to give a distinguished feel to the visitors, while sticking to the fundamental design element. Since wood is synonym with luxury in Japan, the extensive use of wood inside Megu has added elegance and panache. The 800 lb Bonsho bell suspended from the ornate ceiling of the main dining hall is inspired by the classic Japanese handiwork in the Todaiji temple in Nara, Japan. The carving inside the colossal bell pays homage to the popular Japanese belief that all offerings resonate with reverence and gratification. A tribute to the Buddha in Kamakura, the crystal Buddha poised below the bell is a signature feature of the restaurant. The other section of Megu has 110 miniatures of Bonsho bells which emanate a soft red light lending the entire space a warm glow. The vivid mosaic of rich antique kimono in the private dining room is what you can see and relate to the traditional Japanese attire. The sushi bar features a bright origami-patterned wall which sets a surreal tone against the marble-and-lacquered-wood seating (easy to pull chairs). Following the East-Asian colour theme of red and black, lacquered channels at Megu bring out the authenticity of the traditional Japanese restaurant. Megu also features signature designs carved on its dinnerware and seating,


Main dining area

Private dining area

maintaining the global standard. So there is a small part in the capital where people seeking authentic Japanese delicacies with true Japanese ambience, can find their refuge. Also there is a good news for those who enjoy

dining in the open as Megu is now open with its al-fresco setting which will remain open till March (a perfect time period to enjoy food in the open). ■ by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI



Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Kochi

Add impact with ceiling design One stands in awe while looking at The Sistine Chapel Ceiling (Vatican City) by Michelangelo, who took four good years to design it. He experimented and used various designs like wooden scaffolds while designing it. Quoting Michelangelo would be fair as he was the first person in the history to do a mentionable job in ceilings. Hoteliers today are more aware make the ceilings look great and distinct. HotelScapes talks to few experts who tell us about the trends in hotels and what role does a beautiful celling play in enchanting the guests. Trends According to Hemant Khurana, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Saint Gobain Gyproc, hotels use products/systems that are sustainable in nature. “Hospitality demands intrinsic design like curvature, steps, and coves. Public areas such as lobby, reception are large in size. False ceiling is a clearly visible element of interiors. POP ceiling which was time consuming, involve huge amount of labour is a product of past”, he says. Also according to him, choosing right kind of material to achieve this is essential. Gypsum board is a new age innovative product which helps in achieving different designs that can be executed in much faster way as compared to

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conventional application. Gypsum board with different kind perforations provides monolithic finish to ceiling along with unique aesthetic and acoustic performance. These ceiling make spaces much quieter, which is a need of public areas such hotel lobby, restaurants, lounges. All types of paints can be applied on it to create effects. Also he emphasises a great deal on false ceiling claiming that they make huge style statement. Khurana explains “False ceiling is one of the most visible elements in hotel interiors and can have a lasting impression on guests or visitors. False ceiling amplify the beauty of the spaces. They are the crowning jewel which highlights the interior design of the hotel. Product such as



Gypsum board is a new age innovative product which helps in achieving different designs that can be executed in much faster way.


GRT Bodhi Spa

Ecophon Master Solo are free hanging units, it can add to aesthetic of space in areas like business centres.’’ Pavitra Sri Prakash, Chief Planner and Designer, Shilpa Architects, finds designing for hospitality quite challenging as the spaces inside hotels require constant retrofitting to keep up to date with trends in interior aesthetics, which change cyclically. “In most cases, spaces need to be reinvented for a new use or to provide a new look and feel. In such scenarios, it is often the services, which hinder the renovation tasks. There are service lines that are part of ceilings or f loors that require to be accessed often, as well as require surfaces to be either temporary, fire/waterproof or both. The contrary requirements have to be handled carefully to provide innovative solutions. Designing a swimming pool in a basement comes with its own set of challenges. In this retrofit project the ceiling had to ensure an open feel of space normally associated with an outdoor pool. The basement placed a spatial constraint as the finishes and design had to achieve an ambience of openness. The concept was to maximize the available heights. Given it was a sloped ceiling; the design embraced this difference in level instead of trying to flatten the space out. Inspired by the waves and ripples of the water itself, a tensile fabric roof was installed to exaggerate the slope while instilling a sense of calmness in the space’’ comments Prakash. “Also decorative ceilings are in vogue and there are many situations where a singular flat

celling can be painted in various interesting ways. These tiles add color/texture or both to the ceiling and can be painted in a variety of interesting ways. Since the decorative pattern is loaded onto the tile, lighting, speakers and other additions can be easily made onto the ceiling of a space such as restaurant or public area in a hospitality project” she adds. Shehzad Khan Gold, Designer, The Gold Leafing Studio also has some contemporary ideas to share with us. He says, “There is a wide variety of ceiling design options. Ceiling that resemble the vintage or a modern contemporary look, metal Leafing ceilings are some of the most popular styles used. Paint a canvas, add it to the ceiling like wallpaper and it will look fabulous.” Now this calls for an expert. According to Shehzad, it takes a trained eye and the assistance of a professional artist to create such effects. Also for dramatic effects he recommends cladding the ceiling with wallpapers.

Materials/colours According to Prakash there is so much that can be done and experimented with the ceilings. “Wood elements in the false ceiling offer a plethora of design options. When combined with effects of lighting and coves, these ceilings prove to be very decorative and plush. The warmth that comes from a wood ceiling to a space is unparalleled. With an increase in the variety of wood veneers in the market, from light to dark, wood grains to burls, there are several choices for the designers to work with. A traditional yet


Also decorative ceilings are in vogue and there are many situations where a singular flat celling can be painted in various interesting ways.

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Sea Princess Hotel, Mumbai


There is a wide variety of ceiling design options. Ceiling that resemble the vintage or a modern contemporary look, metal Leafing ceilings are some of the most popular styles used.

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relevant design remains the usage of wood rafters in ceilings. This application mimics traditional timber construction and can provide a look that could be construed as structural or architectural more than an interior decorative addition,” she comments. Also she believes ceilings play an important role in beautifying the room and taking care of few things will ensure it. She says “in most hospitality projects, acoustics have to be considered in order for the spaces to maintain silence and to prevent sounds from travelling from one guest room to another. Restaurants and bars also benefit greatly from acoustic additions as it makes the space feel less noisy. The best addition of acoustic elements is within the false ceiling. However, acoustic material is now available in boards and ceiling tiles that could be used in the ceiling for an interesting effect. While giving a rustic feel to the space due to the natural texture of the boards, these can often be combined with elements of wood in order to add warmth to the ceiling design.” Colours seem to make an éminent difference to an overall appeal of the ceilings. “Colour g reat ly a f fect s t he p ercept ion of heig ht : darker tones make a ceiling feel lower, adding intimacy, while lighter tones expand a space by reflecting light such as metal leafing like gold silver and champagne. Architectural details, meanwhile, trick the eye by providing contrast. For instance, an interior soffit – a perimeter section of ceiling that is lower than the central

portion, makes the ceiling over the middle of the room appear that much higher than it actually is” adds Khan.

Importance of beautiful ceilings Also these experts believe not much importance is given to the ceilings while other parts of the hotels are well invested, in terms of design, time and expenditure. According to Khurana “Ceilings are not given much of importance especially in terms of quality of framework material to be used to suspend it. Standard and high quality of framework is an essential component of a complete system. With right quality of galvanised and ribbed framework any kind of design can be created. Another important element which cannot be neglected is right product and process to finish the joints. Air drying jointing compound is used to achieve crack free surface”. These small initiatives can save lot of recurring costs and does not add a lot in to the actual cost or budget of the ceilings. In fact Khan also has something similar to share. He says “ceiling are an important part of the room. I consider ceilings a valuable design element of the room. Without treating the ceiling, I feel that a room often looks incomplete. The size of your ceiling is the same size as your floor, and while we fret over what materials to use for the floor, so very often ceilings are forgotten. Neither man work nor planning is given importance while designing ceilings.” ■ by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI


Evolution of hotel room designs Providing mere accommodation is not what hospitality sector intends to do today. They have taken a big leap in terms of the design component. Be it a leisure or a business traveller, everyone likes to stay in a lively room with contemporary and appealing décor and design. Also there are various rooms suiting the needs of different travellers that call for individual attention. Room design is a prime factor which decides the base of the regular patron of any hotel. HotelScapes goes in depth of the evolution of the design of rooms inside a hotel. How are designs evolving “Over the years, room designs have evolved keeping in mind the needs and preferences of the guests” comments Parul

Thakur, General Manager, JW Ma rriott Bengaluru. “Right from checking-in to dining, the focus is on ma k i ng the accom modat ion ex p er ience as unique as possible in every sphere” she adds. In tune with Marriott’s global standards, the rooms at JW Marriott Bengaluru are designed to make the guests feel at home while at the hotel. ‘’We believe that space is integral to any guest and we offer them


From the design perspective, we have tried to blend in local tastes with International standards to offer our guests a unique experience. Cubbon Suite, JW Marriott Bengaluru

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a minimum clutter experience in the room. We also offer an array of rooms such as Deluxe R o o m s , E x e c u t i ve R o o m s , E xecut ive Su it e s, Cubbon Su ites a nd the mag n i f icent J W P r e s i d e nt i a l Su it e. A l l our rooms are equipped with the latest amenities suited for both, leisure as well as business travellers. Also from the design p e r s p e c t ive, we have t r ie d to blend in local tastes with

International standards to offer our guests a unique experience” she adds. Over the years, there have been changes in terms of the colour and décor in a hotel r o o m . Mo d e r n r o o m s t e nd to steer away from designs, colours and materials which lend a heavy or dark feel to the room. “There is a conscious effort to keep the elements of the room as light as possible and

DESIGN the décor as eclectic for guests who want to experience unique accommodation” says Thakur. However at L e Mer id ia n emphasis on detailing is put in order to bring the elements of local architecture, thus bringing innovation and style. “Each g uest room prov ides a ch ic, contemporary living experience with details of discovery from the bedroom to the bathroom, from a digitally printed wall covering that represents the local heritage, to an unexpected gallery label on the window that treats the view as art, to a book that adds cultured content to the room. The overall layout and design, hence is not static and formal, but asymmetrical and it caters to creative minds”

Deluxe King room, Le Meridian Bengaluru



Each guestroom provides a chic, contemporary living experience with details of discovery from the bedroom to the bathroom.

comments Suresh Badlaney, Vice President, Operations, Le Meridian Bangalore. S u j e e t Ku m a r, G M , T h e Westin Pune Koregaon Park have similar views and believes that hotels has changed dramatically in recent years where everything in the room is designed to meet the demands of a new demographic of guests. “Ten years ago, a businessman staying in a hotel was more G e n X , s o d e s i g n s c at e r e d to that; there was more of a traditional feel in hotel rooms in the region – darker wood, drapes, old-fashioned prints and deeper colours. Now, there a r e a yo u n g e r g e n e r a t i o n of business Gen Y+Z guests using hotels, so we can see an increase in the amount of inroom technology provided as well as changes in design to ensure that hotel rooms appeal to younger people. Today room designs are more user and ecofriendly, ergonomically designed

and cater to the burgeoning tech savvy travellers”, he comments.

Specific areas of evolution in a hotel room O ver the yea rs, d i f ferent aspects of room have witnessed tremendous design evolution such as the bath room. “We have seen a lot of emphasis on spa-like bathrooms. From being just an auxiliary room, there is a paradigm shift in the way hotels design their bathrooms. Hotels are more conscious than ever. The focus is on en-suite bathrooms that serve as a mini spa w ithi n the room itsel f ” comments Thakur. According to Kumar there is a noticeable change in the designs of the bathroom where the designing is altered with frosted glass, lacquered and glossy mother of pearl tiles. He says “Today designers and architects are looking to the hotel bath room as the new

frontier and of the guestroom room experience turning what has long been a mostly functional space into a haven of relaxation and revival. Hotels are going for lighter wood, funky prints and designs, and even in bathrooms. Interior designers are responding in several ways; in particular by opening up closed and cluttered bathrooms through increasing the levels of light and space, hi-pressure but eco-friendly showers with bluetooth music played via the shower head, frost free mirrors etc. The bath tub is slowly disappearing from the conventional rooms and is being offered more as a luxury rather than as an underutilized facility.’’ Apart from the interiors and designs, technology has also been evolved. Hotels across the globe are ensuring that rooms should be equipped with the advanced amenities, which suits the need of a business traveller. “Today, hotel rooms come equipped with the latest in-room technology

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DESIGN which allows guests to control facilities in the room with a simple touch of a button. Right from the blinds in the room to the lights and temperature setting, a guest can control all of this. Rooms are also equipped with interactive gadgets that allow guests to communicate with the hotel staff” says Thakur. For Badlaney the trends are many but today technology is the most crucial aspect inside a hotel room, considering the tech savvy-ness of the patrons. He says “Guests can make use of IPAD facility provided in a room. Also services like light control to AC temperature control, room door camera to see who is knocking on

Deluxe Room, The Westin Pune Koregaon Park


Today room designs are more user and ecofriendly, ergonomically designed and cater to the burgeoning tech savvy travellers. So we see an increase in the amount of in-room technology.

the door, mood lighting, placing of orders with room service, swapping of TV channels in the room, billing option, promotional advertisements, in-room Mini Bar control, automatic muting of TV volume on receipt of phone calls and many more are introduced to pamper the patrons”. A l so t he t rend to creat e additional space within existing boundaries has been working in harmony with the opening up of buildings to provide more light. Kumar says “To achieve this glass wall is the ideal solution for creating a bright open space as it not only lets more light into the bathroom but also gives the impression of increased space throughout the entire room.”

How customer’s feedback is implemented At JW Marriott, they have an efficient and effective customer feedback system in place whereby they tr y to gather feedback from most of the guests. Guest

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satisfaction surveys are sent to all our guests via automated systems post their departure. This enables the guests to fill the detailed survey about the overall hotel products and services and their feedback. The feedback is then shared with all associates across the proper t y so that learning can be incorporated. ‘’Our feedback system has helped us gauge their satisfaction level as well as gives us insight into areas of improvement. Apart from this, we closely monitor reviews received on Trip Advisor since these capture the voice of the consumer says Thakur. At Starwood Hotels there is an online guest experience survey which is sent to the guests’ email within six hours of the guests’ departure from the hotel. Each hotel is assessed based on the comments given by the guests. “The hotel’s evaluation is carried out on a monthly basis and reported on the website. The individual hotels take appropriate action based on the guests’

feedback to ensure constant i m p r o v i s a t i o n” c o m m e n t s Badlaney. Feedback of the customer is Westin’s key to grasp the spirit of customer interactions. They have an internal GEI (Guest Experience Index) scores, trip Advisor ratings, in stay guest experience logs, all of which captures data directly from customers through customer feedback and indirectly from interaction records from all channels such as phone, social media or web. “The combination of all these channels provides a holistic view of the customer behaviour and enables progressive and visually augmented analytics. Through the collection, evaluation, analysis and reporting of multichannel interaction data we effectively assess customer satisfaction, elaborately measure key performance indicators, powerfully optimize our quality management and gain invaluable insights to act upon for operational excellence”, says Kumar. ■ by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

In celebration of Indian culinary excellence


Programme 10th International Chefs Day and Chef Awards Events Trade Test from 16th to 21st October 2013 Venue: Banarsidas Chandiwala Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology Chef Summit At The Ashok at 11:00 a.m. on 23rd November 2013 Grand Finale Award Ceremony Venue: The Ashok Hotel, Chanakyapuri, on 23rd November 2013

Jury Awards Categories

• Golden Hat Chef • Silver Hat Chef • Lady Chef of the Year These awards are for senior Chefs which are decided by a Jury. No trade test is conducted.

Date: 23rd November 2013 Venue: The Ashok Hotel, New Delhi For registration and participation, please contact INDIAN CULINARY FORUM B-66, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase - I, New Delhi -110020 Ph: +91-8800339629, E-mail:

Master Craftsmen Awards Categories Cash Reward Rs 20,000/- each Master Chef Category • Chef of the Year Award • Master Chef International Cuisine Award • Master Chef Oriental Cuisine Award • Master Chef North India Cuisine Award • Master Chef South India Cuisine Award • Master Chef Kebabs Award • Master Chef Indian Sweets Award • Master Chef International Confectionery Award • Master Baker Award • Kitchen Artist Award • Student Chef of the Year

Deadline for submission of entry forms: 25th September 2013 Registration Fees: INR 2,000/Per Entry

In Association with

Exclusive Trade Media Partner



Entering a new market and successfully positioning your brand With hotel brands diversifying into tier 2 cities, Elton Hurtis takes us through the various challenges faced by hoteliers, the need for creating strategic partnerships with local entities and the benefits of being a first mover.



he key t h i ngs t o do for building a brand in a tier 2 or 3 city: Overcoming challenges, best strategies, forward thinking This is an age of opportunity and it is not different for hoteliers in various emerging markets. Ta k i ng the I nd ia n contex t s p e c i f ic a l ly, t he ho s pit a l it y industry as a whole is betting high on the tier 2 & 3 cities. Hoteliers are now on a focussed lookout to diversify in to smaller markets, and this has nothing to do with the industry intricacies pertaining to matured markets. Hot e l g r oup s w it h mu lt ip l e brands under its wing have the added advantage of expanding their relevant property offerings to tap on to the budding prospects lying in tier 2 and 3 cit ie s. Untapp e d pot ent ia l coupled with industrial growth and spending power makes these cities favourable for hoteliers to enter and establish. The prospect of the i ndu s t r y i s v a s t ly d i f fe r e nt when it comes to matured and emerging markets. The strategic movement by hospitality players is characteristically divergent; be it entering a new market or establishing the brand. Each hospitality group has highly customized offerings that cater to the distinctive need of the ma rket . For exa mple at t he

moment , no one i s goi ng t o extend its luxury offering in tier 2 markets and a lot of attention is given in understanding the unique strengths of these cities. It is very important to note that when it comes to tier 2 cities, we deal with domestic travellers and localities. Quite r e c ent ly, I nd ia n ho s pit a l it y brands were highly dependent on international travellers; but with economic liberalization, there is a propelli ng grow th of I nd ia n s t ravel le r s ac r o s s profiles, travelling to various c or ner s of t he c ou nt r y. The need of these travellers is mostly convenience driven and they

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ask for contemporary services rather than luxury offerings. This has also played a strong role in hoteliers realizing the potential of the mid-market sector and customizing offerings for this sector. Entering a new market and establishing the brand The hotel industry in smaller or emerging markets is highly cluttered and mostly dominated by local bra nds. There a re innumerable hotels which are privately owned and operated as fa m i ly busi nesses. But i n times of escalating demand for quality and increased spending

power of people, these hotels cannot match the standards set by branded entities. The future is about brands and brand-managed operations. Most of the hoteliers have expanded their offerings in the tier 2 cities, through strong strategic partnerships with local entities. The collaboration is often lucrative for both the parties, as these local partners bring in their valuable experiences that are attuned to local necessities, wherein a reputed hospitality player offers them the required expertise to run and manage the hotel. Entering a Greenfield market, no doubt gives one the




prized first mover advantage, but the real game changer is establishing the brand and subsequently increase acceptance. There is tremendous need of understanding the market one is planning to operate, and there is no alternative to market research and gain insights from the local partners. Challenges and strategic move There is a combination of various factors that come in to play while deciding the success factor of a hotel, with pricing being the most crucial. Being an extremely price-sensitive market, people in India scrutinize the money spent and evaluate and settle for the hotel that gives them the best value at the same price. However bullish we maybe about the change in consumer’s expanding spending power, in the long run it is price rationalization that will play a very critical role. One has to consider the current economic turmoil, inf lation, and the subsequent spending power. It is important to give the best price propositions, as the demand has a direct correlation to the price point, irrespective of the quality of the offerings. Hoteliers in the tier 2 markets also have to be suitably conversant of the mindset and needs of the local people. There is a typical way of thinking of the local people, and bringing an immediate and radical transformation is not very viable. One has to also keep in mind that it’s the local people, who are the influential advocates. Hence it is imperative to understand the consumer psyche, their value propositions and build a strong equation with them. To reap benefits of being a first mover, it is essential that hotels manage and sustain brand reliability by developing an emotional connect with its customers and also take effective feedback from them. Most of the Marriott hotels strive to cater to local taste and experiences. To evolve and grow, we have always felt that one has to adapt the local nuances in its service. This can be adopted primarily in the food and beverage

offerings and it is critical that it should have the right balance in providing both international as well as local cuisine. Skilled manpower is a universal challenge faced by all corporate. However the situation is even graver when it comes to smaller markets as compared to metropolitan cities. The challenge is two pronged – convincing good resources to come and work in smaller cities, and the other is discovering local talents and training them. Thus the major task lies is developing a good hotel management training system and network, and also create a brand, that is people friendly. It is important to generate employment opportunities for local resources and train them to the best capacity. Besides price and consumer equation, another important parameter that plays a role in the success of a hotel is its location. It is important that a property capitalizes on its location advantages. Close proximity to airports, railway stations or even the city center plays the critical role in getting new customers and also helps in building customer loyalty. More often than not, the tier 2 segment is not a matured market and this reflects in the infrastructure. Profound government involvement is needed when these evolving markets are concerned. Rather than restricting focus on the luxury sector and high-end establishments, it is signif icant that the mid market and economical segments are incentivized, as the next phase of hospitality evolution will be powered by the tier 2 and 3 markets. Unexploited prospective and limited hotel inventory has opened a new arena for hoteliers to explore tier 2 markets and build properties. But the challenge and the beauty of operating in these markets is the rapidly evolving environment. As a first mover, one has to always be on the edge, learn from successes and failures and establish a foundation before the tier 2 markets become a competitive clutter amongst the hospitality players. ■

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Awards - Winners of Carlson Rezidor's Annual Awards with Simon C. Barlow, President, Asia Pacific.


Carlson Rezidor celebrates achievements of Asia Pacific’s top talent

arlson Rezidor Hotel Group honoured its top performing employees and hotels, i n celebrat ion of thei r ex t raord i na r y contributions and creation of bright spots for customers and guests. The awards ceremony was held at the group’s annual Asia Pacific General Managers Conference 2013 at Radisson Blu Cebu, witnessed by more than 150 general managers and senior executives from Asia Pacific, US and Europe. T h e P r e s i d e n t ’s Aw a r d p r e s e n t e d i n recognition of a senior executive or a leader who

has demonstrated exemplary leadership and commitment in an extraordinarily challenging situation was presented to K.B. Kachru, Chairman, South Asia. Other awardees from India included Employee of the Year (Managed Hotels), Kartik Sahoo, human resources executive of Radisson Blu Nagpur, Employee of the Year (Franchised Hotels), Sarayu Shayana, sales & marketing of Radisson Blu GRT Chennai, HR Leader of the Year: Mamta Sharma, human resources manager of Radisson Blu Nagpur and others.

The Taj Palace Hotel receives the Best City Hotel – Delhi award at the 24th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2013


he TTG Travel Awards 2013 held recently in Bangkok awarded The Taj Palace Hotel the Best City Hotel – Delhi, voted by the readers of TTG Asia, TTG China, TTG India, TTG Mice, TTG-BTmice China and TTG Asia Luxury. Speaking on the occasion, Taljinder Singh, GM, Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi, said, “We are pleased

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to be a part of this prominent award that has been recognizing the best of Asia-Pacific’s travel industry since more than two decades. With this award, Taj Palace has reaffirmed its excellence derived from the superior standards of quality maintained to provide its guests with unique and memorable experiences.”

The Imperial and The Lalit honoured at the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2013


he World Luxury Ho t e l Aw a r d s i s prestigious and coveted recognition in the industry. Winners are purely judged on service del iver y a nd ef fe c t ive management voted for by I nt er nat iona l t ou r operators, travel agents and hotel guests who get the opportunity to cast their valuable votes annually. This year, The Imperial was honoured the “Best Luxury Hotel in India for 2013” while The Lalit Golf and Spa Resort Goa was presented with the award for the Luxury Golf Resort of the year and The Lalit Jaipur was honoured with the award for the Luxury Airport Hotel of the year respectively.


Mövenpick awarded the prestigious Green Globe Certification Today, an increasing number of hotels are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt environmentally mindful operations so as to function more in sync with the environment and even the local community. One such clear example is the Mövenpick Hotel and Spa Bangalore which has recently been awarded a Green Globe Certification. It’s environmentally sustainable and friendly initiatives have made it the first five star hotel in the country to be Green Globe certified. We speak with Binoy Sreedhar, Director of Engineering, Moevenpick Hotel and Spa Bangalore on what this international certification means for the hotel and how they operate in an eco-friendly manner. First off, what is a Green Globe Certification? Green Globe works as a way to advance the overall environmental performance and sustainability of commercial buildings. Green Globe is identified around the world as the highest quality standards in sustainable practices with travel, tourism and related industry and hence a certification from this body rates us among the best in the world.

What are the typical kinds of hotels that get this certificate? Mostly five star deluxe hotels and major resorts get this certificate as they tend to be high consumers of fuel, energy, chemicals, raw material for production and direct consumers of packed amenities and canned food items from across the globe.

What steps did you undertake to get this qualification? We have taken careful steps to be eligible to get certified by Green Globes. The steps involved looking keenly at our internal processes and practices and its long term benefits and outfalls. It definitely entailed curtailing our fuel and power consumption but went many steps ahead in studying, understanding and reworking our recruitment processes even based on local demographics, changing procurement proce sse s i r re sp ect ive of f i na l consu mer, food production and service processes, waste management processes and very importantly guest engagement and acceptance. Though the whole process lays emphasis on reduction of factors causing environmental degradation and reduction of carbon footprints every department of the hotel had a positive role to play in undertaking and clearing this certification.

What does it mean now that you have it? It makes us more responsible as a business

house and as individuals connected with this organization. We have laid the bench mark in India for many to follow and this puts on us the onus to continue leading as an example.

What kind of innovations have you adopted with regard to sustainability and environmentally conscious operations? As immediate measures we have consciously worked and reduced our day-to-day consumptions on liquid fuel, power and water usage. Apart from these we have made headways in reduction of gas consumption, gardening our own vegetables and herbs, reuse of wet kitchen waste, promotion on purchases of environmentally degradable products, control on wastage at source, recycling of all wastes (dry or wet including e-wastes). Simultaneously we promote local business within our vicinity to support our infrastructure thereby empowering the local community.

How sustainable are these measures in the long run? What is the cost connected to being environmentally conscious? These measures have made us more self-reliant, and more so a genuine contributor to global sustainability rather than just paper tigers. There are definitely initial cost implications to study your own processes, working out changes and implementation of measures to affect those changes. However in the long run, the savings that these sustainability measures bring in are far more beneficial and quantifiable.

What plans for the future? We are now focussing our goals towards reduction of green-house gas emissions directly and indirectly on our operations front and on symbiotic businesses. ■



We have taken careful steps to be eligible to get certified by Green Globes. The steps involved looking keenly at our internal processes and practices and its long term benefits and outfalls. It definitely entailed curtailing our fuel and power consumption.

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King Koil unveils posture sense mattress


ing Koil has ushered in its latest range of premium mattress -Posture Sense. These mattresses are the most widely available balanced coiled support system mattress, with a unique dual comfort feature. To ensure, an ultimate sleeping comfort, this uniquely designed and patented technology mattress, has been launched, for the first time in the Indian mattress market. These mattresses are made from the finest materials in the most appropriate mix and provide an unrivalled comfort and support to the human body. They come with one side as a softer support layer to the body for luxurious and plush feel and on the other side off the mattress an option of comparatively firmer feel to the body. It is priced from `15,000 to `46,000. For more information visit:

LG launches it new microwave oven


Pergo launches it new range of flooring


e r go i nt r o duc e s it s ra n ge of laminate flooring called Endless Plank. This collection is a unique concept in laminate flooring where the joints at the end of each panel line up both in texture and grain. This creates an ‘endless plank’ that will compliment your taste and style. This range is available in extensive colours. You can choose from natural oaks or original sapwood decors for an even more genuine wood effect. The price range of Endless Plank is `235 sq ft. For more information visit:

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G has recently launched 3 new 32 litre convection models of LG Charcoal Lighting heater Microwave Oven with attractive patterns and unique features. With th is new ra nge, people can now spend less time in pla n n i n g a nd p r e p a r i n g a m e a l . Th i s ove n i s a n evolut ion i n m ic rowave cook ing w ith interesting attributes that provides healthy, ethical, and comforting food. Also, with variety of recipes in the Indian Bread Basket, making wide range of Indian breads like Appam, Naan and Missi Roti has become convenient. The oven has 301 Auto

Cook Menus to prepare endless mouth-watering and healthy dishes. It is priced at `19,290 onwards. For more information visit:

Swarovski launches it exquisite range of wine glasses


warovski has launched its beautiful range of wine glasses. Crystalline Toasting Flutes: Delicate, elegant glasses where the clear crystal that fills the stems and the faceted clear crystal base of each of these adds an element of romance to any evening, making it a touch more special. Crystalline Cocktail Glasses have stems filled with clear crystal chatons that lend a sparkling effect and the base is a large faceted clear crystal. Crystalline White Wine Glasses’ stems are filled with clear crystals for a sparkling effect and the base is made of a large faceted clear crystal. Crystalline Red Wine Glasses glasses’ stems are filled with clear crystals for a sparkling effect and the base is made of a large faceted clear crystal. These glasses are priced at `24,080. For more information visit:


Gaia’s new jasmine green tea


aia Green Tea + Jasmine is a beautiful blend of invigorating green tea with the alluring aroma and delicate flavour of jasmine blossoms. Being rich in antioxidants, green tea provides a myriad of health benefits like strengthening immunity, improving digestion, cleansing and detoxifying the body as well as enhancing skin health. Packed with nutrition and an extra kick of flavour, Gaia green teas are great alternatives to regular tea, coffee and aerated drinks. It is priced at `175. For more information visit:

Caroma unveils its new Marc Newson collection


he house of Caroma brings to you a free-standing bathtub in collaboration with acclaimed designer Marc Newson under Caroma Marc Newson’s Collection to add a pinch of fantasy in your bathroom. The Caroma Marc Newson 1700 Freestanding Bath comes in a stone-like f inish with adjustable resin feet and an integrated popup waste. Made from Cristaplant, it has a

Tempesta Luxury launches its new collection of tiles


empesta has introduced a range of exquisite decorative stone tiles and beautiful mosaics. With a myriad of colours and finishes ranging from sleek and  simple to the most opulent and ornate, the simplicity of traditional stone enhanced with the stunning fusion of leather and other superb surface finishes will ensure easy elegance and timeless appeal. The price is on request. For more information visit:

contemporary matt stone finish with stain and scratch resistance properties. The adjustable feet can accommodate uneven surfaces and improve the ease of installation without compromising style while an extra bath depth allows for a more luxurious bath experience. The price is on request. For more information visit:

Obsessions Xclusif launches a range of bright red rugs


bsessions Xclusif launches their new range of red carpets which further adds vibrancy and a dash of colour to the hotel as well as to the home decor. These are made of wool, polyester and lure. These rugs are available in simple yet stylish designs and are good for environment. Intricately crafted by an exclusive team of artisans, these carpets hold pride of place in homes, office and hotels across the country. These are prices at `7,500 Onwards. For more information visit: November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 61


InterGlobe Hotels continues expansion with launch of ibis Jaipur

IHG and Brigade Group to open 10 Holiday Inn Express Hotels


Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President-Operations India, Accor, Manish Kakkar, Hotel Manager ibis Jaipur and Rahul Bhatia, Group Managing Director of InterGlobe Enterprises & Acting CEO, InterGlobe Hotels at the launch of ibis Jaipur.


ith the launch of its eighth ibis property in the country, InterGlobe Hotels reaffirms its commitment in the growing Indian tourism sector. InterGlobe Hotels is consciously looking at development in tier 1 and 2 cities and positioning the ibis brand as ‘the best value international hotel, offering comfortable accommodation at a very affordable price point’. InterGlobe Hotels currently has an active development program for 19 ibis hotels with 3,600 rooms across India, all of which will be operational by 2015. Commenting on the occasion, Rahul Bhatia, Group Managing Di rector of InterGlobe Enterprises and

Acting CEO of InterGlobe Hotels said, “The inauguration of the ibis in Jaipur reinforces our commitment to the ibis brand, and we hope to open two additional properties in other cities before the end of this financial year.” Speaking on the expansion, Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, Operations, Accor India said, “This is a significant move towards our goal of becoming a reference point for economy hotels in the region. ibis Jaipur will provide quality with international standards and accommodation to guests with the reassurance of one of the world’s largest and most respected economy hotel brands.”

nterContinental Hotels Group and South India’s leading real estate developer, Brigade Group join hands to set up ten Holiday Inn Express hotels in Southern India, to be owned by Brigade Group and managed by IHG. The f irst two hotels under this partnership will open in Bangalore in early 2017, while the remaining eight hotels are scheduled to open within the next four to seven years. Douglas Martell, Vice President Operations South West Asia, IHG commented, “India’s middle class is fast expanding and this is fuelling the demand for the midscale, select-service segment and thus our Holiday Inn Express brand – it is a brand that caters to the value-conscious traveller who is self-sufficient and purpose driven.” IHG currently has 14 hotels open in nine cities in India. Following the agreement, the group will have 57 hotels in pipeline – 50 of these being Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express hotels.

Accor’s budget hotel ‘Formule1’ opens in Bengaluru Whitefield


trategically located amidst the business and IT hub of Whitefield, the hotel is aimed at the budget and quality conscious traveller seeking accommodation at an affordable price. Speaking about the brand’s debut i n Benga lu r u, Ph i l ip Logan, Vice President, Hotel Formule1, India says, “Bengaluru is a key focus market and we are excited with the opening of our third Formule1 hotel. This hotel is set to redefine the budget

accommodation sector in India. Bengaluru has great potential and Formule1 promises travellers a great night’s sleep with the best value in its class”. The Formule1 hotel design makes use of natural materials and inviting colours. “It offers travellers complimentary WiFi, 24/7 security with express check-in and check-out, and r el iable t e ch nolog y- d r ive n facilities along w ith easy accessibility to city centres and

62 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

business districts,” he adds. “Hotel Formule1 Bengaluru Wh itef ield a i ms to cater to corporates and business travellers in Whitef ield. The

hotel is at a very convenient location at ITPL and is very close to various corporate hubs and shopping malls”, adds Florian Kohli, General Manager.


he wildlife resort features 16 earthy cottage style airconditioned suites, intricate a r t wo rk o n t he w a l l s by local a rtisans with shaded private gardens with sit-outs. Catering specifically to wildlife enthusiasts the retreat features twice-daily jungle safaris in 4x4

Gypsy’s, nature walks, cycling in the wild, pottery making excursions with the locals and other activities. The room amenities include a mini fridge, internet, teacoffee maker, indoor bath and outdoor showers, and large w i nd ow s ove rlo o k i n g t he

garden, forest or the river bed. Mea ls a re ser ved i n the all-day restaurant where the shaded deck overlook s the beautiful forest and river – Amba-bai, a watering-hole for wild animals and birds. Soon to open is a jungle facing swimming pool and spa.

Novotel opens 100th hotel in Asia Pacific


ith launch of Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach Resort, Novotel now offers nearly 25,000 rooms in Asia Pacific, with a strong pipeline of 12,500 more in next 5 years. “Novotel has really hit the mark with travellers in Asia Pacific by offering a consistently high quality of accommodation at an affordable rate in the most convenient locations,” said Michael Issenberg, Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Accor Asia Pacific. “We are proud that Novotel has firmly established itself as one of the most recognised and respected hotel brands in this

region and Asia Pacific will continue to lead the way for the brand in the future.” The landmark Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach is a newly-built beachfront resort with 166 guest rooms, suites and villas all with views over the lush gardens or Andaman Sea. With free Wi-Fi throughout, the resort’s leisure facilities include three restaurants, a rooftop bar, lobby bar and pool bar, a kids club, In Balance fitness centre, day spa and outdoor pool. Located on its own stretch of white sand, the resort is just 10 minutes from the nightlife and shopping of Patong Beach.

Luxurious The Ritz-Carlton unveils in Chengdu, China


outh West China gets a boost in luxury with the opening of a 353 room Ritz-Carlton in Chengdu. Designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates, interiors are inspired by traditional Chinese cou r t ya rd homes, or ienta l mot i fs have be en sk i l f u l ly blended into a contemporary luxury hotel. For dining, the hotel offers Li Xuan Chinese Restaurant brings together the finest Cantonese dishes with local Sichuanese

creations and SPICES, an allday dining restaurant. The Lobby Lounge hosts a traditional English Afternoon Tea. The FLAIR lounge, designed by KCA International, has sweeping v iews of Chengdu f rom its outdoor terraces. A highlight is the Technogym-outfitted fitness centre built around a 25-meter indoor swimming pool equipped with an underwater music system. The Ritz-Carlton Club Level

provides an exclusive concierge, pr ivat e che ck-i n, a nd f ive delicious food and beverage services throughout the day w it h i n a st u n n i ng lou nge boasting panoramic views of Chengdu. With 1,700 square meters of event space, The Ritz-Carlton can cater to a broad range of upscale meetings and events for up to 900 guests with its two versatile ballrooms and seven meeting rooms.

Lemon Tree Hotels re-launches its rewards program


he Lemon Tree Smiles promises to be one of the fastest free room night earning programmes amongst Indian hotels where guests can start earning free room nights after staying only 5 nights. Applicable across 3 brands – Lemon Tree Premier, Lemon T ree Hotels a nd Red Fox Hotels which is 24 hotels in 14 cities, the loyalty programme includes benefits such as room upgrades, partner/spouse room stay complimentary, free Wi-Fi, early check in or late check-out till and 2 pieces of laundry per stay. Sau rabh Na nd i, Ch ief Marketing Officer, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company said, “We developed this new loyalty program – Lemon Tree Smiles – after generating insight through several consumer interactions. Our aim was to cater to the unique needs of Indian guests. Lemon Tree Smiles gives a reward member exciting, industry-leading benefits. Getting a free room night after clocking in just five nights, is seen as great value. We want to spoil our guests so that they are motivated to stay at Lemon Tree Hotels repeatedly and prefer Lemon Tree Smiles as their favorite loyalty program.” The programme comes with a new integrated website that offers a virtual one stop shop to help guests track points, remind them about free nights, redeem points and choose from amongst many redemption options such as shopping vouchers at Croma, Shopper Stop, Flipkart and

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 63


Waxpol Hotels launches The Riverwood Forest Retreats in Pench

PEOPLE BANDISH MEHTA General Manager Novotel Pune With 16 years of leadership experience with the Accor Group across Asia Pacific, Bandish is a promising choice to guide Novotel’s first property in the city of Pune. As General Manager, Bandish will ensure the accomplishment of the vision of the Novotel group of being genuinely committed to the business and leisure traveller, providing impeccable service and high standards across all its offerings at the hotel.

LOUIS SAILER General Manager The Leela Palace, New Delhi Sailer brings to his new role nearly three decades of experience leading some of the finest hotels in the world, most recently as General Manager of London’s newest luxury hotel, Café Royal. An alumni of the first-ever Cornell program in conjunction with the reputed business school, Nanyang, Singapore, Sailer has worked with the finest hotels across the globe.

SAURABH BAKSHI General Manager Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway Prior to being appointed as the General Manager, Saurabh was the Hotel Manager of the Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway and has been associated with the property since pre-opening. He has an extensive background in the hospitality industry and has held several senior management positions prior to being in Sheraton he was with various reputed hospitality brands.

VIJAYAN GANGADHARAN Executive Assistant Manager Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway Vijayan has proved to be extremely proficient in the fields of corporate communications, budgeting, marketing collateral and public relations, among others. Prior to this, he lent his expertise to the Hyatt Group of hotels in Mumbai for eight years as Assistant Director of Food & Beverage and then Director of Food & Beverage, before which he served as Food & Beverage Manager for three years at The Regent Mumbai (now Taj Lands End).

AKASH ROY SAIGAL General Manager Park Inn by Radisson Gurgaon Bilaspur Akash brings 13 years of hospitality experience, three of those years as General Manager at The Palms Town and Country Club, Gurgaon where he maintained the club’s positioning and revenue despite a very competitive market in Gurgaon by being a hands on leader especially in the hotel’s revenue generation and client relationship activities. He also has worked for IHG, Fortune Park Hotels etc.

VINAYAK CHATURVEDI Director of Food & Beverage Mövenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore He comes with a rich experience of 18 years in hospitality and will be spearheading the operations of the hotels 2 restaurants, deli, night club and the sky lounge. Prior to joining this hotel Vinayak was heading the F&B function at Alila Diwa Goa handling the restaurants and banqueting functions of the hotel. Prior to this he was leading the banqueting and events function at Aamby Valley City. He was also associated with the Marriott at Goa Marriott Resort & Spa.

64 HOTELSCAPES • November 2013

PEOPLE DEBANJAN KUNDU Director Sales & Marketing Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway Debanjan has demonstrated capabilities in evolving innovative sales and promotional strategies. Debanjan comes with a clear mind and an ability to drive the team and deliver results. He was also the Director of Sales at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace and has been associated with Starwood since March 2011. Debanjan has worked in the Ista, Bangalore and The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata in the sales department.

NIDHI VERMA Head PR & Marketing Communications The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Nidhi has joined The Leela Ambience, Gurgaon from The Grand New Delhi, where she was heading the public relations and marketing communications function. She has also been associated with hospitality groups like Accor, Claridges, Radisson and Hyatt in her previous roles. Her prior experience exhibits a varied portfolio including press function, media management, branding, event management etc.

ROHIT CHOPRA Director of Sales & Marketing Novotel Pune Rohit’s sharp sociable personality makes him the ideal candidate to lead the sales and marketing team of the soon to be launched hotel. In this role, Rohit will take charge of maximizing the hotel’s revenues with his meticulous strategy and planning to provide the best value and service to its guests through accommodation, meeting and leisure facilities available at the property. He will be responsible for marketing Novotel Pune’s 223 rooms.

PARIMAL SAWANT Executive Chef Meluha The Fern Hotel, Mumbai Parimal has come back to Mumbai in his new role as Executive Chef. A veteran of 16 years in Food & Beverage Operations in the hospitality and food industry, he brings a young commitment to excellence and a refreshing downhome sensibility that shows the finesse of a chef. This 37-year old, exhibited an interest in culinary in his youth and enrolled for the Hotel Management Diploma programme.

ABHISHEK PANDITA Director of Sales Park Inn by Radisson Gurgaon Bilaspur He brings more than 7 years of hospitality experience, a year of that as Director of Sales at Galaxy Hotel Shopping & Spa. Pandita is Sales & Marketing professional with a keen eye on learning emerging concepts. Also strongly inclined towards understanding the financial and economic scenarios involved around businesses today. He has also worked for IHG, Fortune Park Hotels, and The Grand, Vasant Kunj.

GAURAV BATHLA Junior Sous Chef – Mezzaluna Mövenpick Hotel and Spa Bangalore Gaurav will be working on creating exquisite gourmet food for the hotel’s Italian restaurant – Mezzaluna. Not only will he be involved in food production, but will also play a role in kitchen operations and management. Prior to joining Mövenpick Hotel and Spa Bangalore, Gaurav worked at I.talia, the Italian restaurant at The Park, Bangalore. He has also participated in various hospitality initiatives.

November 2013 • HOTELSCAPES 65


More Luxury comes home: segmentation gains ground


s Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall travelled through the country, and hotels across the landscape, from Rishikesh to New Delhi to Mumbai played hosts to the royal couple, doors were opening in other parts to newer experiences in luxury. In Bengaluru, the iconic Ritz Carlton opened this month, bringing with it, its established service standards in luxury known across the globe, the first in India. Around the same time, Four Seasons announced the formal launch of its hotel and residences in Noida, along with the developer 3C, a project that will have 250 rooms and 180 residences. There is also talk of St Regis coming in! A few weeks ago, The Shangri-La moved out of the Palladium Mall in Mumbai, started functioning as a standa lone, a nd there is now a n expectancy in the air that it will soon emerge as St Regis! If all this well, we could expect an announcement in the New Year. ‘M ad e i n I nd i a’ b r a nd s , alongside, have a more than reasonable standing in the luxury segment – among them being The Oberoi, The Taj, ITC and The Leela – all of them on their own, though they do have contracts for marketing. But the benchmarking is their own, and each of them has set new standards in luxury. India is not new to luxury. It is the home of the maharajas, and with them, home to legendary hospitality. How will be these Indian brands compete with the world’s

Prince Charles and Camilla at Ananda in the Himalayas

best? Time is the best story tel ler but even then, we do believe the service quality and ground level experiences are likely to be comparable, though the foreign brands may have more comprehensive marketing penetration in the source markets. But back at home, again, it is the Indian brands that will likely last out longer in the public mind, being familiar and well-known, trusted and experienced hands over many years. We have seen that foreign brands often take some time to establish themselves and Indians have often been reluctant first time users. However, for foreign traffic coming to India, the story will be the other way round – they are more familiar with the foreign brands, naturally.

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So, how the occupancies will happen, w ith i n I nd ia n a nd foreign brands in the luxury segment, may also depend upon how the traffic moves – within the two d isti nct ma rkets of Indian and foreign. Seg mentat ion is set tl i ng down, so to say. Accor Group will have three of their brands within Aerocity – each catering to a different price point market. L u x u r y i s a l s o f i nd i n g it s competitive positioning, Does luxury pay? Is luxury mo r e i m mu ne t o e bb s a nd flows in the economy? From all accounts witnessed in recent months, we have learnt that luxury, too, can get a beating. There may be less supply in this segment, but then so are the numbers smaller in this segment.

Mid-market is being seen as a surer bet, and this is where the bulk of the new supply is coming in. We have also learnt that ROI in the branded budget sector may be an equally good bet, in the long term. Brands such as Marriott Courtyard and ibis are said to be doing exceptionally well. Indian hospitality is more on the cross roads than it ever w a s b e fo r e. The ch a l l e n ge to rema i n a f loat ha s never been more difficult – there is increasing cost of operation, and yields are getting depressed with increased supplies. Also, equally, a good time for investors and entrepreneurs, both existing and from outside, to enter the business and grow! ■ by NAVIN BERRY

Date of Publication: 16/11/2013

RNI No. DELENG/2012/47318 No.U(C)-105/2013-2014, Posting Dt. 16-21/11/2013 Reg. No. DL(C) 01/1353/12-14

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Hotel Scapes November 2013 issue

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