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Joint Managing Director of Creative Travels Rajeev Kohli talks about his views on the current MICE sector and its relation to hotels in India.



 BUDGET 2012 More reactions from the industry on Budget 2012




Sofitel Luxury Hotel, Mumbai, Bandra Kurla Complex  Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Pune




Eaton, MGM, Mantra Amaltas, Novotel, Dunkin Donuts


 RESTAURANT REVIEW Up North, Raintree Anna Salai, Chennai, comes as a pleasant surprise




Myrah Spa, Juhu, an oasis of peace and calm

48  FOOD


Enzo Renda owner of Eggspectation shares his views and thoughts

2 MAY 2012






The best valleys and wineries of Australia


 TRADE VIEWS Marco Pesce and Vishal Raman of Electrolux share their views



 TECH TENDS Manoj K Mohanty



MICE, an acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions, is the fastest growing segment in the travel and tourism industry.


COLUMN Sumedh Singh Mandla


 PORTAL VIEWS Varun Chadha

66 Question


Adding Zing

VOL 1 ISSUE 7 ‹ MAY 2012


Aaran Chaudhary


Putting the zing back to exploring the world

World Hotels Wine & Dine in Australia FOOD FORUM

Enzo Renda of Eggspectation TALKING POINT


Restaurant review


+ 10


Going Up North COVER STORY >>

A Country Set Out To

Catch Mice MICE, the growing phenomena, and the hotel industry


COVER PHOTO: Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel


3 MAY 2012


editor’s note T here is something we can be proud of in these times of inflation: the price of a club sandwich. Surprised?! Well, I was till I read that the cheapest Club Sandwiches were those available in Delhi. So said Hotels.com Club Sandwich Index (CSI). The classic chicken, bacon, egg, lettuce, and mayo sandwich was used as a barometer to indicate affordability — or should we say inflation. The CSI is meant to provide signals to travelers and those on holidays about costs at destinations. The CSI, incidentally, uses one of the most common items on hotel menus and this time around the average price of a Club Sandwich was calculated on those available in 750 hotels in the three, four and five star categories across 26 countries. Now for the results: Topping the chart was Paris at a whopping `2,893 in a five-star hotel to a more reasonable Rs 1,187 in a two star establishment. The Paris average cost of a Club is `1,767. The second most expensive city was Geneva where the average cost of a Club was `1,739, followed by Oslo with `1,629. And The average price of a Club in Delhi was a meager `512 on average. The sandwich story brings us to an important ingredient in the hospitality business. Barring the cost of the bread, egg, bacon, etc. that made up the Club, a certain percentage of the price must have included the service — often under-rated. Reports from hotel and hospitality experts coming out of China's big cities — at least where the starrated establishments are — emphasize that there is nothing to beat the Chinese as far as services were concerned. The level of service is astounding, according to Senior Corporate Director, Global Sales Office, Eastern region of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Bart Berkey. He was at Shanghai sometime ago. He signed a bill - just once - for a meal at a restaurant of a starred hotel. He was pleasantly surprised how every time he came back to the restaurant, he was greeted by name. That was not all: Almost every time he entered a “lift”, a

hotel staff knew which floor to press. “Nothing was beyond their vision for providing exceptional service and surprises,” Berkey wrote in his blog. He goes on to say that the 11 days he spent in China “changed my life forever”. That is the acme of service the hospitality industry has to aim for. We are a nation of hospitable people and standards comparable with those in China should not be difficult. What is needed is innovation without, of course, reinventing the proverbial wheel. The hospitality sector in the country offers immense opportunities for innovation: These could be in the form of new services, novel ways to present existing services, interesting ways of enhancing the experiences and out of the box processes to economise operations without lowering the standard of services. A close look at what is available makes us more aware of the need to innovate. The presence of international players with their high standards prompts not only a higher and better degree of competition but also a higher standard of professionalism in the industry. Today's hotel guests are more knowledgeable than they were just a few years ago. To top it all, they have their smartphones and tablets that ensure reservations, directions, etc at the touch of a button. In such circumstances, what does a concierge do? After all, these are the first persons in a hotel that guests contact. To begin with, the concierge must look for opportunities to reach out to guests. The rapport will be a service that a guest will seldom forget. Added to that are resourcefulness and adaptability: two hallmarks of a concierge that are as relevant today as they were in times gone by. Are we ready to innovate?



4 MAY 2012

Hospitality Volume I  No 7 Editor-in-Chief

K SRINIVASAN Managing Editor

TIRTHANKAR GHOSH Consulting Editor

MEGHNA BHADURI Sub-editor-cum-reporter

PUNIT MISHRA Senior Designer




HC TIWARI Staff Photographer


—————————— Director (Admin & Corporate Affairs)

RAJIV SINGH Director (Marketing)


Sr. Executive (Subscription)

ALKA GOSWAMI (Mob. 9650433066)

Executive Director


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Delhi-based Bhasin Group, in collaboration with a Singapore based leisure and tourism attraction company, Andover Leisure Pte Limited will soon be inaugurating a public aquarium the Blue Planet at Greater Noida. It is one of its kind and first ever-colossal public aquarium of international standards, which is coming up in India. Set over a carpet area of approximately 1,00,000 square feet, the Blue Planet aquarium will showcase live flora and fauna flourishing in the mysterious world underwater. The Blue Planet is one of the major attractions which is a part of 3 million square feet mega tourist

destination complex that would house a mall, multiplex, a 5 star hotel and retail shops. The entire project involves enormous amount of investment pegged at approximately Rs. 750 crore, and is projected to be a much soughtafter tourist destination bringing in a grand display of real-life aquatic marvels. Sounding quite excited about this new path-breaking project, SS Bhasin, Managing Director, Bhasin Group said, “Whether the marine species in Rift Valley lakes of Africa or the life underwater in the cascading River Ganges in the deltaic Sundarbans, at the Blue Planet, people will get to see a geographically distinct eco-system including flora and fauna of a particular water body anywhere in the world which includes aquatic wonders such as sharks, penguins, walrus, octopus and dolphins.” The major exhibits include huge seawater tanks for large marine life like sharks, lionfish and others. The shark exhibit has recreational boating


5 MAY 2012

at the top. These boats will have transparent bottoms to look through downwards into the water. Talking about the awe-inspiring replication of international public aquariums such as the Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium, Dubai Mall Aquarium, Japan’s Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and others, Sindu Zhang Huihan, President, Andover Group stated, “Many of the exhibits will follow a combination of terrestrial and oceanic themes. Along with this, exhibits carry a particular geographical theme that is both educational and recreative in its function to visitors without compromising on aesthetics.” This new man-made wonder debuting in India will also bring to life the tales of little mermaid which have been appealing the children since a long time. There will also be a 6 meter deep tank with a transparent window for mermaid shows at specified times. Trained personnel, dressed as mermaids or mermen will enthrall the visitors with choreographed underwater pyrotechnics in combination with music and light, much akin to a great musical dramatic saga. There will also be a spell-binding representation of most aspects of the rainforest ecosystem with plants, water bodies, selected reptiles and amphibians and otherwise artificially created ambience. On the whole, Blue Planet aquarium is a never seen before amusement spot in India which can draw in footfalls to itself and the mall, that has a unique and exquisite architecture with gondola rides in a Venice themed interior. The aquarium will be facilitated to be accessible within the next three to four months.




US Secretary of state Hillary Clinton yet again chose to reside in the TATA Suite, the grand presidential suite at Taj Palace, New Delhi for the third time during her visit to India. The Tata Suite, which is a befitting tribute to style and elegance, has been the chosen address for Hillary when she last visited Delhi in July 2011. The suite was specially prepared according to her tastes and preferences. A small platter of Indian sweets, big coffee mugs were placed in the suite, which are some of Ms. Clinton’s preferences. Taj Khazana, the in house lifestyle store of the Taj, created a bespoke shopping experience for her at the Jehangir Hall. Taj Khazana flew in some of the finest ParamparikKarigar(mastercraftsmen) from across remote parts of India to display their handicrafts and paintings. Miniature arts, Gand paintings from MP, Phad paintings from Rajasthan, Garvakaam from Basar and Tarakashikaam from Rajasthan were displayed. After the packed schedule of the day, Hillary resigned to the private retreat of the suite and took a rejuvenation spa package from her

favorite masseur. During her last visit, Ms. Hillary Clinton relished the menu offerings, which had a mix of authentic North Indian from Masala Art and contemporary European from Orient Express, both fine dining restaurants at Taj Palace. Chef Rajesh Wadhwa, Executive Chef, TajPalace, who has been serving Hillary Clinton during the last two visits, is familiar with her tastes. Some of the signature dishes that were served were Pan seared foiegras on brioche, preserved ginger, warm duck dressing, Camembert cheese soufflé, Spanish paprika sauce, Roasted Chilean Seabass, fava conchigli, liquorices sauce, Penne in perigord black truffle sauce, sun dried tomatoes. Her favourite Indian preferences from Masala Art include Char Grilled Jumbo prawns and Creamy chicken kebab with burnt garlic.


Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar celebrated Earth Day 2012 in line with Carlson’s commitment to the environment by organizing Tree Plantation at its premises. The other initiatives during this event were taken by the hotel included Nature Craft Fair which showcased the brilliant ideas

to save our environment from hazardous materials, back of the house staff was wearing Green colored uniform, employees brought plants and donated to the NGO, which was followed by a small session on global warming, energy conservation and other environmental issues.


6 MAY 2012


The Claridges New Delhi and The Claridges, Surajkund were awarded the coveted and prestigious 5 Star Diamond Award 2012 from the American Academy of Hospitality Science, second time in a row. The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences is the world's premiere organization for awarding excellence in travel, cuisine, luxury products and services. Each year, the Academy presents its popular International Star Diamond Award on superlative establishments that are deemed to be of pinnacle quality. Mr. Peter J. Leitgeb, President & CEO, The Claridges Hotels & Resorts said, “It is an honor to be bestowed with Diamond Awards. The award comes as a reward for our exceptional effort in enhancing the overall quality of commitment to hospitality and services. This outstanding accomplishment to The Group will enhance the representation of hospitality industry worldwide as well as of India.”



The Leela Kovalam, India's only cliff-top beach resort and Kerala's most popular holiday getaway, won the prestigious Best Resort Hotel in India award at the first ever Lonely Planet Magazine India (LPMI) Travel Awards 2012. The readers' choice award was presented to Rajiv Kaul, president, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts and NC Somaiah, general manager, The Leela Kovalam by glamorous Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre at a glittering ceremony in Mumbai, attended by industry stalwarts and prominent personalities. On receiving the award, General Manager NC Somaiah said, "We, at The Leela Kovalam, are truly honored to be recognized and voted as top favorite by the readers of the internationally-renowned Lonely Planet magazine. This award stands testimony to The Leela's vision of providing discerning travelers with the finest in

luxury guest services." The Leela Kovalam, Kerala's largest beachside resort, boasts of 183 rooms and suites dotted over 60 verdant acres of lush green land. Cradled between two sweeping beaches, the property is perched on a rock-face and offers the most panoramic views of the famed Kovalam shoreline. The beach resort features an array of dining options,

beach-view rooms with private sundecks, Divya, an authentic Ayurveda Wellness Spa, infinity pools that merge into the horizon, the private and exclusive 'The Club', which is a hotel within a hotel for guests seeking unparalleled luxury, amongst other world-class services. The awards come at an exciting time for The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, known nationally and internationally for its warmth and authenticity, lavish interiors and opulent design, innovative dining experiences and outstanding technology. Wit h "Atithi Devo Bhava" (Guest is God) as his guiding principle, Capt. CP Krishnan Nair has built a team of over 5,000 associates, assisting him in raising the luxury bar for guests at each of his hotels and placing The Leela on the global map.



Hip Asia, the innovative pan-Asian restaurant at Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai is known for its varied dining experiences. The finest ingredients and the most authentic recipes come together at this popular restaurant, giving patrons a chance to experience the real tastes of Asia. Adding an imaginative twist to your meal, Hip Asia celebrates its 8th anniversary by introducing its new Japanese specialty chef, Chef Juancho Miday, who will host sushi making session… a chance to roll your way to becoming an Itamea (Chef)! Chef Juancho will work his magic at the Teppen counter and give you a hands-on Sushi Rolling Experience. Dine in a minimum group of 8-10 people and learn the art of rolling different kinds of sushis, expertly guided by our Master Chef. This session will be followed by an authentic three-course

Japanese meal at the Teppenyaki counter, where Chef will showcase his amazing talent of juggling and creating

rhythmic beats with his cooking cutlery, while dishes out some of the most delicious Japanese recipes for your indulgence. During the course of the rolling, Chef will enlighten guests about sushis, its origin and the different kinds available today. “Sushi simply is a Japanese


7 MAY 2012

dish made of vinegared rice combined with other ingredients which is usually seafood or vegetables. It can be made in several different ways, each one having a name and a distinctive characteristic. It is the visual appeal and a truly distinctive taste that makes this dish so popular worldwide,” says Juancho. Talking about the introduction of Sushi Rolling at Hip Asia, Vijay Shrikent, General Manager, Vivanta by Taj - Connemara says, “Hip Asia has been the city’s favourite pan-Asian restaurant since it launched in 2004. Innovative has been our forte, having introduced the concept of Teppenyaki cooking for the first time in Chennai. It gives us great pleasure to present Chef Juancho Miday, whose expertise in Japanese cuisine is sure to engage our guests in an interactive dining experience with an imaginative twist.”




Ever since Mana Hotels threw open its doors in November, the Delhi-based hospitality chain has carved out a niche for itself by offering the best of services to its guests. Nestled among the calm valleys of the Aravalli, the hotel is located at Ranakpur, between the two historic towns of Jodhpur and Udaipur. From the very beginning, the enterprise ensured that all its decisions are well thought out and meaningful. The management, while ensuring that their main focus remains ultimate client satisfaction, has trained itself on socially responsible actions. In tune with this mantra, the hotel uses products that are made by non-government organizations (NGOs) that help people from the underprivileged sections of society. It is from such organizations, namely Kadam and SASHA that the hotel sources its products used in the décor of the property at Ranakpur. Both organizations work to create new and sustainable employ-


ment opportunities at the grassroots level for the vast rural population of the country. Using local resources and skills, the items produced by the two NGOs, reflect the area's cultural tapestry, besides showcasing India's diversity. The ultimate aim of these two organizations is to set up small and medium scale industries within the rural space to reduce the migration of the youth to urban centers. "A lot of decorative items, used in the rooms at Ranakpur, have been made by NGOs. This was a deliberate effort as a part of our corporate social responsibility strategy," said CEO Rohan Rajgarhia.


Fairmont Hotels & Resorts announced recently a new marketing alliance with Jet Airways, India's premier international airline. As part of the new partnership, guests and members of the luxury hotel brand's guest recognition program, Fairmont President's Club, will have the option of earning airline miles in Jet Airways' frequent flyer program, JetPrivilege. “India is a dynamic, international market, and with our burgeoning growth in Asia and entry into Southeast Asia with the upcoming opening of Fairmont Jaipur, we see this as both a timely and strategic addition to our roster of airline partners”, said Serge Simard, Regional Vice President, Africa and India. “We're very excited to be teaming

with a respected and influential international carrier like Jet Airways and giving our frequent guests another mileage option to choose from.” Commenting on the partnership, Mr Sudheer Raghavan, Chief Commercial Officer, Jet Airways, said, “Guest delight is at the core of Jet Airways' strategy to offer better value creation for its JetPrivilege members. This partnership positions us among the leading airline frequent flyer programs in India with the high value it offers members and the wide range of product choices. This is an effort to create an exceptional experience and will allow JetPrivilege members to enjoy several benefits in select cities across the globe.”


8 MAY 2012

The Green Walkathon organized by the Goa Marriott Resort & Spa on 21st April 2012 was an exciting event! Planned as a part of their Environmental Awareness Month celebrations all of April, the aim was to raise awareness towards green causes and involve the community in this endeavor. The walkathon kicked off at 5.00 pm at the hotel lobby and covered a stretch of the Miramar highway with two options the 3K route and the 5K route. It was an uplifting sight to watch the participants, adults and children, some walking; others running, enthusiastically traverse the route before returning back to the hotel where there were refreshments. As giveaways, cloth bags were gifted to everybody as green mementos of the event. "This Green Walkathon is an annual in the month of April, celebrated by Marriott globally as Environmental Awareness Month. It is heartwarming for us to have our guests, health club members, corporate customers and travel trade colleagues joining us in this initiative to show our commitment to the environment," said GM Pavithran Nambiar. What initially centered around the participation of the Goa Marriott associates has garnered a high level of participation since last year.





Hip Asia, the innovative panAsian restaurant at Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai is known for its varied dining experiences. The finest ingredients and the most authentic recipes come together at this popular restaurant, giving patrons a chance to experience the real tastes of Asia. Adding an imaginative twist to your meal, Hip Asia celebrates its 8th anniversary by introducing its new Japanese specialty chef, Chef Juancho Miday, who will host sushi making session… a chance to roll your way to becoming an Itamea (Chef)! Chef Juancho will work his magic at the Teppen counter and give you a hands-on Sushi Rolling Experience. Dine in a minimum group of 8-10 people and learn the art of rolling different kinds of sushis, expertly guided by our Master Chef. This session will be followed by an authentic three-course Japanese meal at the Teppenyaki counter, where Chef will showcase his amazing talent of juggling and creating rhythmic beats with his cooking cutlery,

 while dishes out some of the most delicious Japanese recipes for your indulgence. During the course of the rolling, Chef will enlighten guests about sushis, its origin and the different kinds available today. "Sushi simply is a Japanese dish made of vinegared rice combined with other ingredients which is usually seafood or vegetables. It can be made in several different ways, each one having a name and a distinctive characteristic," says Juancho.



In line with the hotel’s commitment to reducing the environment footprint and creating more awareness, Park Plaza Gurgaon had organized a Tree Plantation Activity on Earth Day to encourage participation from guests, suppliers, community and the team members. The hotel had also specially designed eco friendly Jute bags, which were given away to the guests and vendors to encourage them to use and say

‘No To Plastic’. Everyone applauded and commended the initiative. “It was overwhelming to see whole hearted participation and enthusiasm from guests and our business partners. Park Plaza Gurgaon commits to continually organize such activities to spread awareness and to also further improve its environmental and social sustainability performance,” Says Simarjeet Singh, General Manager of Park Plaza Gurgaon.


9 MAY 2012

With its strong, ingrained Marriott ‘Spirit to Serve’ belief, the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel has constantly been contributing to the society through its humble initiatives. April being Environmental Awareness Month, the hotel reinforced its commitment to safeguard the environment by conducting and participating in various activities like free PUC checks for vehicles, cleaning the area in the vicinity, tree plantation, distributing seeds to guests and preventing the usage of plastic. The hotel also participated in the Earth Hour Initiative on March 31st, 2012 by switching off all the lights on their property for an hour from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The hotel undertook various initiatives like distributing packaged seeds to all guests and discontinuing the usage of plastic bags for laundry packing for the associates, which will be practiced throughout the month of April. Saied Heideri, General Manager, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel quoted, “We consider it our responsibility and an honour to be able to communicate the message of saving our precious Earth in whatever way possible. This month, all our associates have pledged support to promote a healthy environment and will do their bit to preserve the environment.”



Lemon Tree Hotels today announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with the Dutch pension fund asset manager APG to develop a portfolio of mid-market hotels in India. APG manages about 299 billion euros ($393 billion) on behalf of Dutch pension funds. Lemon Tree Hotels will partner with APG to set up a hotel development cum owning joint venture company Fleur Hotels Private Ltd (Fleur Hotels). Fleur Hotels will invest over Rs. 2,000 Crores to develop and own 4,500 rooms by end of 2016. All the proposed hotels in this joint venture will be branded as Lemon Tree Hotels,

Lemon Tree Premier or Red Fox Hotels. In a concurrent transaction, APG has also acquired a direct stake in Lemon Tree Hotels. The other large shareholders in Lemon Tree Hotels are its founder Patu Keswani and global private equity group Warburg Pincus. APG's combined investment in the joint venture and Lemon Tree Hotels is Rs. 650 Crores. Mr. Patu Keswani, Chairman and Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels said “Lemon Tree Hotels is the pioneer of the mid-market hotel segment and is already the 4th largest hotel owning company in India, with 2,000 operational rooms and another 1,600 under development. We are delighted to partner with APG in this endeavour to significantly increase the supply of mid-market rooms in India, which has huge unmet demand for this category of hotels. On completion of these proposed hotels by 2016-17, Lemon Tree Hotels will co-own and operate over 8,000 rooms, making it one of the largest hotel owners in India and the dominant player in the mid-market hotel segment.”

Viceroy Hotels sells Chennai project Heritage Corridor Inaugurated Hyderabad-based Viceroy Hotels Ltd. Subodh Kant Sahai, Minister of has sold its Chennai hotel project in Tourism, Government of India, MRC Nagar to Chennai-based Mahal inaugurated Rajasthan: The HerHotels Private Limited. “This move itage Corridor on April 15, 2012 at will help us reduce the debt by Rs 400 Rambagh Palace, Jaipur at a confercrore,” said P. Prabhakar ence organized by the Reddy, Chairman and MD, Chamber of ComTICKER PHD Viceroy Hotels. merce & Industry. Lalit Rebrands Property The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group recently rebranded its Mumbai property as “The Lalit Mumbai”, ending its franchise agreement with InterContinental Hotel Group. Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson & MD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group said, “Soon, we will be launching our mid-segment hotel under the brand 'The Lalit Traveler’.”

Acquired by Laurent & Benon Group Laurent & Benon Group has acquired management of Indra Vilas in Alsisar and Thar Vilas in Jaisalmer, which will be operated under the company’s Heritage Collection brand. Aman Kumar Sayal, CEO, Laurent & Benon Group said, “Heritage tourism is the newest wave to sweep the travel industry by storm.”.


10 MAY 2012


Operating in a highly changeable economic environment, the Hansgrohe Group managed to stay its course for growth in the year 2011. "Sales in almost all regions exceeded the previous year's level; as a result, our company's net sales figure set a new record. The figure of one billion in sales per annum is now within our reach," said Siegfried Gänßlen, the CEO of Hansgrohe SE at a press conference held in Stuttgart today, in summarizing the 2011 financial year. "In our home market of Germany and in the emerging markets, the growth generated through the collaboration with our partners and customers was particularly impressive. However, even in markets such as the United States and the UK, which had suffered the effects of the financial markets and real estate crisis for an extended period, the turnaround achieved last year continued with a sustained positive trend." With a growth rate of 10.3 per cent, total net sales for the international mixer and shower manufacturer rose by € 71 million, to reach € 764 million (2010: € 693 million).



Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini Appoints Ranjan Banerjee as General Manager

Ranjan Banerjee has  been appointed as the General Manager at the

Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini. He takes over the new role and has moved from Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon as a Resident Manager. Ranjan has been in the hospitality industry for over 17 years spanning different countries and regions including Oman, Nepal and India in both franchised and

managed brands. He began his career with the InterContinental Park Royal New Delhi as a Front Office Supervisor in 1994. A striving professional, he soon progressed to the level of Front Office Manager at the InterContinental The Grand, Mumbai. He has also shared his expertise by being employed as the Rooms Division Manager at Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah, Oman followed by Crowne Plaza Soaltee Kathmandu, Nepal where he served the organisation as the Executive Assistant Manager - Rooms. Ranjan was also selected to be part of the Career Insight - GM Potential Program in 2011.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Taps Luxury Marketer Vincent Gillet Starwood Hotels & Resorts World wide, Inc. announced recently that it has named Vincent Gillet the Global Brand

Leader for W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts. With more than 20 years of luxury lifestyle brand management and global expertise with companies such as LVMH, Chanel and Pernod Ricard, Gillet has spent the past three years as Chief Marketing Officer for Six Senses Resorts & Spas, based in Bangkok, Thailand. Gillet, 40, will report to Phil McAveety, Starwood's Chief Brand Officer. He replaces Eva Ziegler, who has chosen to leave Starwood and return to Europe after a remarkable six years with the company. "We believe that Vincent's experience working with global luxury lifestyle brands in key markets will be especially valuable for W Hotels and Le Méridien," said Phil McAveety, Chief Brand Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. "Vincent's extensive brand knowledge will no doubt be crucial as we further develop and grow these two great brands." As Global Brand Leader for W Hotels and Le Méridien, Gillet will oversee the strategic direction of the brands and their combined portfolio of more than 140 hotels around the world. In his new role, he will lead the development and execution of the W and Le Méridien brands' global marketing strategy, guest experience, standards and communications programs and help drive hotel development opportunities.


Om Pizzas and Eats Appoints Sanjay Coutinho as CEO Sanjay Coutinho has been  appointed as CEO of the Om Pizzas and Eats, the franchisee for

Papa John’s Pizza, Chill’s Grill & Bar restaurants and The Great Kabab’s Factory. Coutinho has more than 20 years of experience in the food and retail sector. Prior to joining Om Pizzas and Eats Coutinho was working as the CEO & Director of Barista Coffee Company Limited. He has also worked with other organizations like Gravis Foods Private Limited, Baskin Robbins Franchise Co. Pvt. Ltd. Pantaloons Retail India Ltd, the pizza delivery chain Domino’s Pizza India Limited, Jet Airways and the Ambassador’s Sky Chef.

Carlson Rezidor Appoints Thomas J. Monahan as New Executive VP Development for Asia Pacific Carlson Rezi dor Hotel Group today an-

nounced the appointment of Thomas J. Monahan as executive vice president, Development, Asia Pacific. Tom is based in the Singapore office and reports to Simon C. Barlow, president for Asia Pacific. "Tom's appointment strengthens our Asia Pacific leadership team," said Simon C. Barlow, president, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. "We

are currently investing in building our management capabilities and leadership across the region to support our growth priorities under the Ambition 2015 strategy." Tom will lead the Asia Pacific development team in driving strategies to establish Carlson Rezidor's hotel brands in the region. He will oversee a regional team responsible for securing new management contracts and franchise agreements.

JW Marriott Mumbai Appoints Gagandeep Singh as Director of Operations Gagandeep  pointed as tions at JW Mar-

Singh has been apDirector of Operariott Mumbai. He brings over 13 years of experience having successfully worked in different roles at various Marriott properties around the country. As Director of Operations, he will assist the General Manager in operating a guest-focused, profitable hotel with specific accountability for multiple departments.

11 MAY 2012



Polo Lounge at Hyatt Regency Delhi has been honored with the recognition of being one of the three ‘Highly Commended Bars in India’ at the recently held Icons of Whisky Awards 2012 recently. These awards are based on the extensive range of whisky available at the bar, choice of glassware, service level and knowledge of the team that are audited by

mystery visitors. “We are delighted to be recognised as one of the Highly Commended Bars in India. The award elevates Polo Lounge above the gold award last year” said General Manager Timothy Bruce, “The response received from the guests has been overwhelming and also adds value to its recent renovation.” Commenting on the occasion Kumar Shob-


han, Director of Food and Beverage, Hyatt Regency Delhi said, “The award has been a great motivation for the team, we have been in the city for 30 years and have maintained an extensive beverage list. Being recognised by the most prestigious whiskey awards in the world makes us feel we are heading in the right direction.” Polo Lounge offers the finest and rarest collection of whiskeys, cognacs, single malts and handcrafted beers complimented with live musical jazz performances six days a week. The extensive beverage menu includes a collection of vintage single malts, aged up to 46 years, ranging from Glenfiddich Vintage 1961 and Glenfiddich 40 year-old to Glenfarclas 46 year-old. In addition to the single malts, the bar also has the legendary cognac, Remy Martin Louis XIII, from the house of Remy Martin, rare collection of bourbon, Irish and Japanese whiskeys, vintage Champagne and wine, up-market spirits and liqueurs, which makes it a popular bar amongst connoisseurs.



Jaypee Hotels announced the opening of the gateway to the much awaited “Jaypee Metro Grill Outlet”, the oneof-its kind barbeque restaurant with mouth watering dishes, rugged ambience and a classy reception. Nestled in the spacious rooftop of the Jaypee Siddharth, the open air

restaurant offers an impressive view as the racing metro creates a pulsating imprint on the minds of the customers. True to its name, the ‘Metro Grill’ is an added attraction for the guests visiting Jaypee Siddharth, who enjoys the set up while relishing the delectable offerings to savor and relish.

The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF), India's largest food products marketing organization of India and apex body of dairy cooperatives of Gujarat - won the "Green Globe Foundation Award" in the Manufacturing Category at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2012. Mr. R.S. Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF Ltd. received the award in a


12 MAY 2012

glittering ceremony organized in association with TERI and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi on 2nd February 2012. The 4th Green Globe Awards ceremony at the 12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2012 was organized to facilitate the organizations and individuals working towards a cleaner environment and sustainable development.



Two months after its launch in Bangalore, the online Gourmet store Yzury.com organized its first Gourmet Tasting at the French Alliance in Vasanthnagar. The event showcased several great French wines as Chateau les Saintongers d’Hautefeuille and Chateau Coutet, a large range of Gourmet products from Europe as duck products (rillette, pâté ), tapenade, salmon, pasta, French cheeses, crêpes (French pancakes) and many others. “Selected with French star Chefs, Yzury’s products encountered a great success due to the premium quality we offer. Indian as well as foreign-

ers enjoyed the wide range proposed, and it is a great pleasure for us to confirm our choices made in France and Europe. Our goal is to fit with Indian taste, and to create a strong and living bridge between European and Indian culinary cultures”, said Mr Lionel Falcoz, CEO Luxe Corp. France. The evening was placed under the sign of conviviality and the discovery of new products and wines available on yzury.com. The event attracted affluent food and wine enthusiasts from all nationalities in Bangalore: Indian, French, German, American, British, Swede and Filipinos.



Jumpin, the mango drink from the house of Godrej Hershey’s entered the coveted Limca Book of Records with a majestic 30 feet Jumpin fountain. This spectacular Jumpin fountain was unveiled amongst much fan fare at Fun City, near Chandigarh. Endowing with a delightful musical fountain, Jumpin created a buzz for its brand as it reached the 30 feet height and achieved the coveted title of the tallest mango fruit drink fountain. Mr. Mahesh Kanchan, VP and Marketing Head of Godrej Hershey Ltd. says, “By creating this world record of the biggest mango

fountain, Jumpin wants to announce that it has been restaged, by adding the most expensive and tastiest mango ‘alphonso’, in its formulation. It has also added excitement by getting the favorite cartoon characters, Tom and Jerry on its tetrapak pack in 9 different pack designs. Jumpin tetrapak also comes with exciting Tom and Jerry merchandise on purchase of 2 packs. Jumpin has been positioned as a mango drink that lets consumers have ‘bade kaam ki masti’- (useful masti). The tallest mango fountain signifies that one can have full on masti with Jumpin.”


13 MAY 2012



Hilton Worldwide recently announced plans to have 500 new restaurants globally in three years. In support of this goal, and after the successful launch of Hilton Worldwide’s internal website, hiltonrestaurantconcepts.com, an external version of the site is available now, under the same domain name, to help partner with approved restaurateurs in bringing their concepts into our hotels. Since its launch internally, the website has secured nearly 900 registered hotel owners, interested in identifying new hotel restaurant concepts, resulting in more than 700 visits from 44 countries. Additionally, it has generated such successes as the pairing of the Washington Hilton with one of the first East Coast introductions of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® and the development of Hilton McLean’s awardwinning original food and beverage concept, Härth. “Our goal is to provide our hotels with great concepts that are unique to their regions and offer menu options that will appeal to their repeat customer base,” said Beth Scott, vice president, food and beverage concepts, Hilton Worldwide. “It’s also a great opportunity for restaurateurs interested in growing their brand.”





Organizers of The Hotel Show 2012, the Middle East's most important supply, fit-out and service exhibition for the hospitality market, have experienced a surge in interest from international and regional companies wanting to tap the anticipated growth in the GCC hospitality sector. Taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 15-17th May 2012, The Hotel Show is seen as the gateway through which to reach the vast business opportunities in the region. According to Ventures Middle East, the GCC hospitality industry is expected to enjoy high growth in 2012 as international hotel chains establish new properties in the region to support antici-

pated increases in inbound tourism. Combined with increased spend on restoration and refurbishment works, the outlook for suppliers to the hospitality sector looks particularly buoyant. "The GCC hotel industry is enjoying robust growth, increasing spend in 2011 by a phenomenal 230% or $1.8bn as hotel operators and developers follow aggressive expansion plans across the region. This is excellent news for international industry suppliers looking for the best opportunities globally, and is certainly being reflected in exhibitor confirmation for our 2012 show," said Frederique Maurell, Events Director, The Hotel Show.



Marriott International, Inc. and Galaxy Entertainment Group today announced they have signed long-term management agreements for more than 1,300 rooms, suites and floating villas at two landmark luxury hotels operated by Marriott International brands to anchor the second phase of the Galaxy Macau™: The RitzCarlton, Macau and the JW Marriott Hotel Macau. The two hotels are expected to be Marriott International’s first in Macau. The company expects to open a hotel a month in China over the next three [3] years. At the end of the first quarter, Marriott’s pipeline of hotels either under or approved for construction in China was 54 hotels

and 17,000 rooms. “We are very excited to be launching our brands in Macau,” said Simon Cooper, president and managing director Marriott International, Asia. The Ritz-Carlton, Macau will feature 250 one- and twobedroom suites, including the stylish The Ritz-Carlton suite. Designed in a traditional RitzCarlton style, the hotel will be sought out by those who value luxury and innovation combined with incomparable levels of privacy and intimacy. The hotel will offer the impeccable levels of service for which the brand is famous around the world, and will be located on the top floors of the Galaxy Macau.


14 MAY 2012


Aloft, the design-led brand from Starwood Hotels & Resorts, unveiled recently a burgeoning global pipeline expected to bring the brand to 70 hotels around the world in 2013. A game-changer since its 2008 debut, Aloft will also continue blazing a trail by making conversions and adaptive-reuse projects a stronger part of its global growth. Pioneering initiatives in music, design, and technology have positioned Aloft as a must-have livingsocial brand for Gen Y travelers. “With 55+ properties now open on four continents, the “style at a steal” brand also continues to make powerful gains in market share,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President for Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “Because of Aloft’s fiercely loyal following, and its well-deserved halo around design and technology, Aloft properties have quickly grabbed market share wherever they’ve opened. Aloft’s been embraced wholeheartedly by the next generation of traveler and a broad range of travelers continue to discover the brand.” Aloft has reported consistently high guest compensation scores given launch, reflecting a success of a complicated and colorful pattern during an affordable cost point.



May 1, 2012 was 85 years since the first inflight meal service on a commercial aircraft and food in the air has come a long way since then. In 1927 Imperial Airways (predecessor to British Airways) introduced the Silverwing branded air service on the London to Paris route. The flight offered the first luxury onboard meal service. A male steward dressed in a smart white tunic served just ten passengers on the flight, which took around two hours. On-board was a small cabinet carrying four gills (servings) of whisky, a dozen bottles of lager beer, two siphons of

sparkling water and twelve assorted bottles of mineral water. They also carried a packet of sandwiches or biscuits and one or two thermos flasks of hot water, within which the steward made coffee or beef tea to nourish the passengers during the flight. The service represented the height of luxury, up until this time passengers had to fend for themselves, packing homemade snacks for the journey. 85 years on British Airways’ cabin crew serve around 100,000 meals a day to customers, often with more than one meal on an individual flight. The airline’s 14,000 crew are trained in the art of premium service. They are taught skills which include how to tell a Merlot from a Shiraz, how to cook the perfect scrambled eggs and how to re-create a five star turndown service.



Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, and its award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) loyalty program announced a mix of new culinary benefits at over 500 restaurants and bars for SPG members globally to enjoy at home and on the road. In conjunction with this announcement, SPG launched a new website: www.SPG.com/restaurantsandbars, where SPG members can take advantage of these exclusive discounts at more than 500 restaurants and bars worldwide. The website will also feature an opportunity to register and win an around the world VIP culinary

journey with an SPG member only sweepstakes ‘Around the World in 5 Meals’. Members can earn Starpoints for these dining experiences and turn a night out into a weekend getaway. Through the SPG Moments program, SPG members will have access to VIP culinary experiences with worldrenowned chefs such as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Masaharu Morimoto. “We are thrilled to present a platform that showcases our awardwinning portfolio of restaurants and chefs from around the world, said Jean Luc Barone, Vice President of Global Food & Beverage for Starwood.


15 MAY 2012


Hilton Worldwide recently announced the signing of a new management agreement with Magnolia Finest Corporation Limited to introduce the first Waldorf Astoria hotel in Southeast Asia, and Hilton Worldwide’s ninth property to Thailand. Scheduled to open in 2015, the 170-room Waldorf Astoria Bangkok marks the debut of Hilton Worldwide’s worldrenowned luxury brand in Thailand. “Today’s announcement underlines our commitment to strengthen and expand our portfolio of one-of-a-kind properties in key cities across the globe. The Waldorf Astoria name is synonymous with timeless luxury and sophistication, and guests to the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok can expect a truly luxurious experience, with the highest level of service and comfort, in spectacular and tranquil surroundings,” said John Vanderslice, global head of Luxury and Lifestyle Brands at Hilton Worldwide.


Rotana, a heading hotel government association in a Middle East and Africa, has announced skeleton to open a five-star Hili Rayhaan by Rotana Hotel in Al Ain in initial entertain of 2013, as partial of Wahat Hili Project - Al Ain's complicated and singular sell and liberality formidable located in Hili district.

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Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad

A Country

SET OUT TO CATCH MICE Tx hospitality

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esearch shows that close to half of all meetings across Asia-Pacific take place in city and resort hotels rather than conference and convention centers. With the significant global rise in demand for MICE and corporate business how aware and equipped are the hotels in India to cater to this sector? Invited onboard to share their views on the subject were, Manju Sharma, Director, Jaypee Hotels; Chender Baljee, Chairman and Managing Director, Royal Orchid Hotels Limited; S.N. Srivastava, Vice President, Clarks Inn Group of Hotels; Vikram Kumar, Director Marketing & Revenue, T’Rouge Concierge; Meena Bhatia, Vice President, Marketing & Operations, Le Meridien New Delhi; Sukhpreet Bedi, Director MICE, Country Inn & Suites, Sahibabad; Kadambari Sabharwal Talwar, Director of Sales & Marketing, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel; Michael Singh, General Manager, Aditya Sarovar Premiere Hyderabad; Betty Remedios, Director Sales and Marketing, Grand Hyatt Goa; and Rubal Chaudhry, General Manager, Hilton New Delhi/Janakpuri.

How significant is the MICE industry in India today?

MICE, an acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions, is the fastest growing segment in the travel and tourism industry. Meghna Bhaduri talks to the country’s top hotels brands and executives to get their views on this segment.

Manju Sharma (MS): India is undoubtedly a unique conference destination as it offers cultural and heritage sites, the exotic and mystical, excellent facilities of beach and adventure holidays, which can be combined as pre and post conference tours. India is in a continual process of upgrading its MICE facilities. Over 3 million foreign tourists thronged India this year, generating over US $30 billion as revenue and the inbound MICE segment is growing at 15-20% annually. Chender Baljee (CB): Tourism in India is rapidly evolving and this is due to the fact that hospitality and infrastructure to support MICE is rapidly increasing, India is soon becoming a choice for many domestic and international corporate. As per HVS report, India ranks 22nd in the world and 5th in Asia in terms on MICE revenue generation, but our overall contribution to the 280 billion USD segment is under 2% of the world market. Therefore, although we are growing as a preferred destination, there is a large amount of work needed in order to maximize on global attention. World-class convention centers are few in India and the only branded large scale convention facility is the Hyderabad International Convention Centre. Recently the Government also announced an initiative to build four international convention centers of 5,000 seating capacity in places like New Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, and Jaipur. This should drastically impact tourism overflow and the impacts would be visible in the forthcoming years. S.N. Srivastava (SNS): There has been a growing trend in India amongst the corporate houses to organize meetings, conferences, tradeshows and other MICE related events, where they bring the business development associates, to attend the Tx hospitality

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AS MICE is an integral part of corporate culture, hotels tend to provide the best of facilities and packages, so it would be unfair to define any geography as the best destination. MICE has become a growing phenomenon and companies prefer locations that provide them with opportunities to rejuvenate. – Manju Sharma

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Sovereign Hall, Le Meridien New Delhi

Current MICE destinations are metropolitan cities, but places like Jaipur are also becoming preferred locations for hosting conventions. Hotels, which are able to cater to the size of the meeting requirement and provide relaxed environment – Chender Baljee

activities at one place in groups. Such MICE activities are invariably clubbed with other leisure activities and results not only in rooms, banquet and F&B revenues for hotels but also pumps in considerable money in the local economy (shopping and eating out etc.) and benefits other service providers like transporters including air, rail and road and much more! The other important aspect is that it also contributes significantly to employment generation and nurture many a big and small businesses. Vikram Kumar (VK): The latest type of business tourism is the fastest growing part of the international tourism market. It caters to a variety of forms of trade meetings, international conferences and conventions, events and exhibitions and is gradually but progressively capturing the interests of every major hotel. Being a hot favorite traveler target, India is also very much into the business. This trend has lead to development of many Tier II cities as Jaipur and Udaipur as upcoming MICE destination offering international companies and travelers more economic options. With growing number of MNC and FDI in India there are prominent International companies are setting up their base in India thus holding their annual conference and Incentives, India is now becoming one of the leading venues for MICE in the region. Tx hospitality

Meena Bhatia (MB): Meetings, conferences and conventions and incentive groups are really a large market. India is now actively perceived as a great MICE destination owing to its global popularity, its rich culture, growth and development. Emergence of the middle-class population, which has buying capacity, attracts various countries to showcase and promote sale their consumer goods, automobiles, white good, apparels etc. India’s emerging middle-class is well traveled and has the propensity to buy “Luxury” brands. This invites larger interest and attendance to the trade exhibitions etc. India also is has a wealth of knowledge. Growing medical facilities and a billion plus population makes India an attractive destination for medical conferences and exhibitions. Our cultural heritage, rising popularity of Indian cinema and music, fashion and cuisine makes us an attractive incentive destination. Sukhpreet Bedi (SB): The MICE industry caters to and provides solutions for the business events needs, of every other industry. It then does not come as a surprise, that with the growth of the economy in India and a boom in the growth of industries and their respective associations, the focus on the MICE industry in India has become inevitable. Given the current economic downturn, the MICE industry worldwide is positioned inimitably to even take advantage of certain ‘re-

18 may 2012

Hilton New Delhi Janakpuri

cession proof’ trends. These include an increased need for business events to discuss and deliberate on how to emerge from the economic slowdown. The focus is also on industries that remain unaffected by the current economical situation, like pharmaceutical, medical and IT. India is seen as one of the markets to focus on, in the current, trying times. MNCs, international corporations and associations are still looking at investing in our country. Kadambari Sabharwal Talwar (KST): Today, more than ever, the MICE segment is the most sought after industry. It is indeed the fastest growing segments within the hospitality industry. The need to meet and transact business is stronger now. Apart from exhibitions and Incentives there is a huge market for meetings and conferences. This is primarily driven thought the large domestic and international corporate houses (financial and consulting, auto, pharma, and travel and trade sectors). The penetration of these corporates is on a national and international level and hence, this attracts traders, vendors, investors from all parts of the country. Therefore today, a lot of the hotel a lot of the hotels in India provide larger convention spaces and advanced MICE facilities catering to the increasing demand of the customers. Michael Singh (MS): Given the current economic

downturn, the MICE industry worldwide is positioned uniquely to take advantage of certain recession trends. India is seen as one of the markets to focus on in the current, testing times. MNC and international corporations and associations are still looking at investing in the country. There has been regular infrastructure development to support the MICE industry, like new centers of information technology, several new convention hotels and meeting facilities. MICE generate revenues not only for rooms but also for banquets and F&B, which is a healthy mix for the hospitality industry. Betty Remedios (BR): India has grown as a destination and has become popular host for international and domestic MICE events. The infrastructure has improved in the past 5-6 years as well as hotels have been developed to accommodate large MICE events both in terms of Rooms inventory as well as banquet venues. Rubal Chaudhry (RC): MICE trends are showing a definite upward curve. Cities like Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad are among the top MICE destinations in India offering a range of hotels and convention venues.

Competing with other Asian MICE destinations like Singapore and Hong Kong, how is India doing?

MS: India is in a continual process of upgrading its

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I feel the best destinations would be Delhi & NCR, Jaipur, Agra, Udaipur, Hyderabad, Cochin, and Chennai. The mentioned cities have done a great deal of infrastructural development in Hospitality & Tourism industry. – Vikram Kumar

cover story MICE facilities. There are multiple plans on the anvil for more world-class convention centers, airports that contest with the best in the world and efforts to team the famous Indian hospitality with customization as per a visitor’s requirement. India is moving in the right direction when it comes to preparing and promoting itself as a MICE destination. Almost every major corporate wants to/feels the need to offer incentives to their employees or dealer network and so creation of such exemplary facilities across the country can only encourage MICE traffic within India as well as international MICE traffic into India. So India is considered as one of the best destinations providing a right mix of facilities. CB: The entire Asia Pacific region does net revenue of 60 billion USD per year on MICE. However, we currently contribute to only 2% of that net revenue. Major destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong have fantastic infrastructure to cater to the larger MICE audiences. Outbound MICE

Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru certainly lead the pack because of the sheer number of branded hotels and conference facilities. For example, the newly launched Clarks Inn Suites Delhi/ NCR boasts of one of the biggest meeting facilities with capacity to accommodate upto 7,000 guests at a time. Such properties are not available everywhere in India. – S.N. Srivastava

movement is slowly developing in India and we are currently growing at around 11% per annum. Thailand is the closest competitor and is gradually doing their part to become ASEAN’s international mice destination. SNS: All metro cities and places like Goa, Kerala, Rajasthan, Shimla, Mussoorie, J&K, Punjab etc. are highly attractive MICE destinations in India and are further gaining popularity in a phenomenal way. However, there is no comparison with destinations like Singapore and Hong Kong. Theses destinations are offering more cost-effective solutions and are very competitive, factors primarily responsible in attracting corporate houses and business and other international events to these places. Whereas in India, components like air travel and hotel stay are costly and exorbitantly priced. So much so that many a times even Indian companies prefer to go overseas to hold their events. Besides, there is further lack of required MICE infrastructure. There is a serious

DiwaneKhas, Jaypee

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20 may 2012

lack of initiatives to market India as a MICE destination. Besides the Government also needs to support event organizers and other suppliers like hotels to bid for prestigious global events. These initiatives will boost India’s profile as a MICE destination globally. VK: The MICE infrastructure in the country has been developing rapidly and convention hotels and conference venues of international standards are being set up in cities across the country. With the corresponding expansion in the network of airline operations, and other infrastructure support, India is ready to position and market itself as an important MICE destination. MB: We may not be close to them in numbers but certainly have the potential to far exceed these Asian destinations. Currently Singapore‘s MICE business contributes 30% of its total tourist bills as compared to India, which is roughly at 8-10%. We certainly have a long way to go. SB: India is moving fast to become the most

preferred MICE destination because of advanced technology, world class infrastructure, warm hospitality, swanky airports, exclusive business hotels, exotic resorts coupled with diverse topography, exotic flora & fauna and rich historical & cultural heritage. According ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), India has a great potential to capture the Asian MICE segment, as 69% of the MICE meetings are held in city hotels and 21% are held in resorts and India has large number of both resorts and hotels. It is not only the inbound MICE segment that is growing at a rate of 15-20% annually, but also the Indian outbound MICE segment that has increased with alacrity due to the increase in exports. KST: India has come a long way in building itself up as a MICE destination. However, it still has a lot of areas of development when compared to mature options like a Singapore and Hong Kong. In today’s market, it is a tough fight to keep the conferences within the country. The facilities and infrastructure in the above destinations are superior and can be game changers for some of the prestigious conferences being hosted there. MS: India has emerged as the most desired destination for MICE. Traditionally Europe and North America were the conference destinations but the last 2 to 3 decades have seen the emergence of Asia as a preferred venue. Fortunately this has impacted India favorably and there is an upward surge in India’s MICE industry. There are many cities across India that offer conferencing venues for MICE events and they are promoting the cities as MICE destinations. There is a lot of development with regards to infrastructure especially to accommodate MICE related events in India. State of the art conference halls are being made to meet the needs of the international travelers. In fact, Biodiversity Conference 2012 will be held in Hyderabad. This is the biggest event ever held in the India. Over 10,000 Delegations from 193 countries will be participating in the convention being held the first time in the country. BR: I think these destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong are no more a threat to large MICE events as the competition is now fierce within the different destinations in India itself. Destinations such as Goa, Kerala, Jaipur, and Udaipur now have large international brand hotels that have come up and can host much large events. RC: For meetings planners who want to offer a new or unusual experience India has an exceptional offering – natural beauty, warm hospitality, rich heritage and vibrant culture. The opening of new convention centers, hotels and resorts across different cities has contributed to the country being recognized among the leading MICE destinations.

What do hotels in India offer today to attract the MICE industry? MS: To make any hotel/place a perfect destinaTx hospitality

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In India, North India as Delhi is not only a perfect showcase of heritage and culture but of the young, modern and developed India. Proximity to the Taj Mahal and Rajasthan makes it a great tourist circuit. Also emergence of Hotel rooms in all categories, development of infrastructure, metro and Expressway has great benefit for large events. – Meena Bhatia

cover story Grand Hyatt Goa

Delhi, is an amalgamation of modernity with old world charm. The hi-rise buildings, swanky flyovers, metro trains, glitzy shopping malls and modern academic and research centers are enough to tell you the story of this evolution. As a MICE destination it offers umpteen options for holding conventions, seminars and exhibitions, providing state-ofthe-art technology and facilities. – Sukhpreet Bedi

tion for MICE, it requires great infrastructure and other facilities like local luxury transport, great tourist attractions, recreation facilities for people to indulge in and basically the smallest of details to be catered to. Eventually MICE is always about memories and great experiences. Research shows that 60-70% of MICE customers return for leisure trips to the same destination at some given time if their MICE trip has been an eventful one. CB: Several meeting related initiatives to drive product meetings with clients, which could range from customized setups/meeting rooms design etc are being looked into by major hotel chains to tap into the MICE segment. MICE specialists are being hired in order to build on MICE aspect in non-banded hotels, as MICE planners prefer working with people who are able to judge, and evaluate their requirement well in advance. Different brands such as Shangri-La’s signature events concept are also developing a brand new Tx hospitality

entity, which could cater to MICE requirements. SNS: Apart from latest meeting and conferencing equipments and technology and custom designed packages, ‘total/turnkey event solution support’ has emerged as the latest fad and a big sales and marketing gimmick. This relieves the host from any organizing hassles! VK: MICE bookings come from corporates, travel agents, event management companies, social functions, wedding planners etc. Hotels have now started targeting their clients for this segment via presentations in their communications, and by advertising in journals or Websites. The MICE market segment is being marketed as an experience for the guests/Clients. MB: Introduction of rewarding loyalty program for meeting planners designed to capture share and increase revenues from the meetings market. Working closely with PCO’s and associations, creating a MICE community of clients and

22 may 2012

dedicated resources to cater to MICE segment automation, online booking, widgets and Apps to empower MICE planners. SB: We offer a dedicated team of event management specialists for all our events. We have an in-house team of professionals who manage our events according to the volume, specifications and requirements of the client. Recognizing the fact that MICE activities sometimes call for high security, we have also installed 40 close circuit televisions in different areas in the hotel, with provisions for thorough vehicle checks, baggage screening and also, round the clock floor patrolling. When delegates are accompanied by their spouses, we organize special programs for them, like in-house cookery classes for women organized by the hotel chefs, feeder bus services for shopping sprees to Connaught Place and Old Delhi etc. The MICE segment requires that the conference areas should be well equipped with

facilities of wireless Internet connections to host Webcast seminars. KST: We try to custom tailor our pricing to the customer’s need. It is not common to offer packages for the MICE business as the requirement and size for each group or conference varies tremendously. We are sensitive to the economic situation in which, many companies are today and try to work with them to provide them great value. Today a popular new trend is ‘Green Meetings’. These meetings have organic and seasonal food items, table mint with local flavor (imli goli, aam papad etc), recycle stationary, paper less menu and terrariums (potted plants) as centerpieces. We also offer the PlumPerfect meeting services program, which is designed to provide the event planner with a visible and accessible method to communicate and for staff to respond to customer changes, needs and emergencies. We ensure that there is one point contact for the event planners who coordinates all the requirement of the event through the hotel. Our Pineapple Pin Program provides a signature pin to event planners giving them recognition and VIP status in the hotel. MS: We offer large convention halls with outside lawn space for extra-curricular activities (stress buster), theme lunch/dinner, city sightseeing tours, spa for relaxation, business center facilities, registration desk, and advertisement in the public areas of the hotel hosting the event. BR: We offer large a ballroom space with sufficient pre-function areas, exclusive entry to the banquet venues, larger number of syndicate rooms, outdoor space to add flexibility of options to host different meal periods during conference days.

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Aditya Sarovar Premiere Hyderabad

Delhi (PragratiMaidan), Hyderabad (HICC), Bengaluru (BIEC), Mumbai (BEC), Pune (Lavasa), Chennai (CTC) have excellent MICE facilities in hotels for hosting large city events. More than brand the venue space and facilities play a vital role. – Michael Singh

TALKING POINT Creative Travel has established itself as a premium destination management company handling incoming travelers all over India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Tibet. Joint Managing Director Rajeev Kohli talks to Meghna Bhaduri about his views on the current MICE sector and its relation to hotels in India. n What is your overall view of Indian MICE clients vs international MICE clients?

I think Indian clients and international clients put emphasis on different things. An international client pays more attention to what he is using as audio-visual equipment and he wants to know how the arrival experience is going to be. A domestic client tends to spend more emphasis or more money on the social aspects of the conference – how the dinner, the DJ, or the bar will be. In my capacity as the former Vice Chairman of the Indian Convention Promotion Bureau, one of the things that we wanted to do was to educate the domestic client to spend more money, but also spend it smarter. We as an industry are equally at fault because we need to educate, we need to offer domestic clients new concepts. Unless he is well traveled or well experienced, a domestic client is not going to get up one fine day and say “Oh… let’s do this!” For example, a domestic client does not want to spend a premium on hiring a front projector; he wants to use a back projector because it’s cheaper. But we know that the back projector is space inefficient and its quality is poor. Internationally, they almost always use front projectors, it’s more expensive and only a few have it, but its far more efficient. n Do you think MICE branding for hotels in India?

The reality of life is what else are they supposed to do? They built a hotel in a traditionally nonbusiness district. Now, if you go internationally, everyone wants to be in the Central Business District (CBD) or downtown. I tell people, Delhi is very like Los Angeles, which is spread out over hundreds of miles and has no downtown. I personally don’t go to Connaught Place more than twice or thrice a year. I think the likes of hotels opening up in Rohini, Dwarka, Pitampura, and Mayur Vihar, need to cultivate a local corporate Tx hospitality

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A Man with a

View base. Opening a 5-star hotel in a place, which cannot sustain it, is not a wise decision. Having said that, my team has used these hotels and used them very successfully because these hotels want the business and they are more accommodating. And though I have honestly not seen all of them, I believe their facilities are quite decent. n Do you think such hotels are better equipped than others?

No. Hotel is a hotel is a hotel. Now, the newer hotels have build-in audio-visual and things. I just went to see the Pullman in Gurgaon. It has built-in drop-down projectors and screens from the top. That somewhat saves money for the client. It is nice to have a room, which is already equipped, so you don’t have to start running cables and such. I haven’t seen all the other hotels, but I would guess, given the brands they are, they have really good banquet halls that are bulk of the time used for social functions. Even the Ashok Hotel in Delhi, which has the largest hotel ballroom in the country, is utilized for meetings only about 30%. The rest is weddings, social events and such. n What is missing in hotels in India?

I think hotels suffer from lack of manpower. There is a lack of skilled manpower. There is a lack of experienced manpower. And if a hotel wants to get MICE business and wants to move away the usual small budget wedding events, they need to invest. People who make the effort and make the investment are people who stand out in the market. I think there needs to be an understanding of what a meeting meal menu is. Working lunches need to be the norm. We do not feed a delegate a heavy meal and put him to sleep after lunch. I think there is a lack of detail to the air in the room. Poor air circulation puts

people to sleep. I think there is a lack of attention to natural light in the room. More and more, my international clients prefer natural light and there are very few hotels in the country, which have natural light. If I look at The Leela, Gurgaon, it is beautiful because there is a lot of natural light. But very few hotels in this county have natural light in their meeting space. The meeting space is generally considered the ‘scheduled caste’ area – fitted in at the bottom of the hotel. Talking as a layman, I would say you could put a meeting space on the rooftop and compensate it with high-speed elevators, which is of course expensive. There is certain logic to putting the area of the hotel, which has the highest foot traffic, at the easiest point. But I think air quality, lighting, flexible lighting – these are areas where they need work on because hotels in India tend to design their hotels by architects and interior designers. I don’t think any hotel brings in a meeting room specialist to design the meeting space. You bring in a specialist to design the restaurant, you bring in a specialist to design the lounge, but will you bring in an expert on meeting facilities to design the meeting room? Is it not important? What you do not have, you either build, you train your staff for or you import it. If you are going to spend multiple crores on a hotel, you might as well put another 10 lakhs and hire a consultant to come in for a week and do it for you. n What are your views on the fact that India is losing out on MICE business to neighboring countries?

I think we do want the size of the meetings market to grow, but I think it is unfair for us to say that going outside India is bad. There is an Indian service provider who is making money while sending such groups abroad. So, why should we say one cannot prosper at the expense of the other? At the end of the day, if a city is un-

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Weddings and social functions technically should fall into MICE and internationally does not. So, we shall treat it the same way. Now, if you are going to asking me the utilization of ballrooms on meetings versus social functions, then social functions are definitely in majority


I am the wrong person to ask questions to because I am jaded, I am well-traveled, I am wellexperienced. Our community in the MICE industry tends to be far more critical because, let’s face it, the MICE segment is more sophisticated than the normal leisure segment and therefore does command a premium in its pricing

able to engage the client and the delegate, why should not they go outside? If I have a group and Thailand is cheaper than Mumbai or Goa, and if Thailand is offering a more wholesome experience, or if Malaysia or Dubai is offering better night entertainment, better guiding, better excursions, why not? This is where our culture dictates that ‘my interest lies only within my four walls’. Philip Logan, who opened the Hyderabad Convention Centre, was the first one to introduce the concept of the city approach, where all the stakeholders of the city get together and promote the city together. So, it is not about me, it is about us. Now, when we talk about us, will everyone gain equally? Not necessarily, but everyone will gain! If I look at the very symbol of a leisure site, I look at an Agra, I look at a Khajuraho. Agra is one of the dirtiest cities in India and it’s one of the most important cities on the tourism map, an important convention destination. Have the hotels got together to do an initiative in Agra? Have the local hotel fraternity tried any joint initiative to boost the image of the city, to help clean it up or at least clean the road between the hotels and the Taj Mahal? No. Khajuraho, one of the most beautiful little towns in this country, has one of the best-maintained monuments. Has this little town done anything to create interest, to draw people in? No! Now is it the government’s fault? Maybe. But as a private sector we want to make money therefore, we need to take the initiative and put the money where our mouth is. If our competing Far-East destinations are offering better facilities and cheaper hotels, why blame the client? n What does a MICE client look for when deciding on a MICE destination?

In MICE itself, we are have to separate incentives, meetings, and conferences. A meetings and conference client looks at venues, the space he can get, the arrival experience, where his delegates can stay, what rate they can stay, and the accessibility of the destination. Then he looks at what he can do there. The incentive market looks more at the destination. How interesting are the sites? How easy is it to reach? We get quite a lot of resistance from emerging markets as people do not want to see poverty or dirtiness. These perceptions of India still exist and they will not be overcome until we get somebody here to show them. So, we as a company and many of us in the industry, encourage incentive planners and meeting planners to come and see the country. Every bid is a comparative bid. So, it is not Creative Travels versus somebody else. It is India versus China; India versus South Africa. It could be anything because every incentive client in the world always asks for 2 to 3 options from his incentive agency. n Do hotels in India provide something unique today

Tx hospitality

to the MICE client?

I would say it is not so much as the hotel providing anything unique; it is the hotel staff’s ability to meet the demands of an experienced client. Raj Vilas in Jaipur has never failed me. I am not taking sides over here but in some hotels the hotel staff works with you as a team. In others, they work with you as a roadblock, as a speed bump. As a professional, I do not like hearing ‘no’. I am willing to hear ‘it’s complicated’, ‘it’s difficult but let us see how we can do this’. But the minute I hear ‘no’, the only thing I am hearing immaturity and a lack of understanding. And as a company who deals only with 5-star luxury hotels, I do not think they are not entitled to say no. Hotel sales persons are very eager to take on the business, but operations persons are not eager to back up their own sales persons in delivery. I have gone through this many times. A hotel will say ‘Wow, we will take these 100 rooms’, but when it comes to serving these 100 rooms breakfast, they demand extra. Here is the rate contract; you said the room rate included breakfast. Therefore, it is your responsibility to provide breakfast, not mine! The mentality of Indian hotels is that if it is an incentive group they cannot eat at this restaurant, they cannot do that. Every guest at your hotel has the same rights. You cannot distinguish on a service client simply because he is part of the 100 rooms that have been booked at your hotel. This is where the training and understanding of manpower comes in. Indian hotels have generally not gotten it. There are exceptions, no doubt. There are some wonderful general managers and F&B managers in this country and I have enjoyed working with them very much. But there are others equally irritating and that is why as a company I would prefer to put my business in a chain that I am confident will deliver to the client. n Which hotels have delivered really well for you?

You are asking me to quote, which will get me into a lot of trouble, but I will give my personal favorites. My two personal favorites in delivering at an incentive level have been the Raj Vilas Jaipur and the Rambagh Palace Jaipur, and it is tough because both are strong competitors in the same city. Raj Vilas has never failed me. The level of staff at the Rambagh Palace is different because people there love what they do and love the palace, and it shows in their delivery. They love where they work and this strongly affects the way a person delivers service. n Tell us about your international MICE experiences.

I represent Asia on the Board of Directors of Site, the global association for incentives and have been attending Site conferences for many years. For the last 7-8 years, I have been attending the Site international conference simply because it goes to different countries. This year it is in China, last year it was in Vegas, the year before

26 may 2012

Rajeev Kohli recives two National Tourism Awards by the Government of India as India’s Best Inbound Tour Operator category & India’s Best Meetings & Incentives Operator on behalf of the brand.

in Cape Town and Barcelona. The reason I go is because I want to see what is the competition doing. I am looking forward to see what China is doing, because China is a big competitor for us. The hotels and the physical space is one component of the entire meetings and incentives. It is also the skill set of the local professional conference organizer or incentive planner or DMC. I was once at a conference where the closing dinner had one of the Beach Boys playing. At the conference in Barcelona, the closing dinner was in the museum and it was so elegant. At the conference in Aruba, the last day’s activity was driving 4-wheel jeeps or Dune buggies. n How can India be different?

What we need is change. As an agency, not once have we had the lighting of the lamp at our events. We’ve had Renuka Chowdhury came on stage and banged the gong, followed by four troops of bagpipers coming out from the corners of the room. Another time we had a troop of traditional village acrobats and stilt walkers walk out. Another time we had 3 VIPs doing something with flames, water and sound – paying homage to the elements. I was at a conference in Thailand last year and one breakout session had ice cream, another had smoothies and milk shake, another had a baby elephant, and another a monkey and a snake charmer. So, what was happening in those 15-20 minutes was that people are having fun; people were engaged; so when they went back into the conference room, they were charged. Our breakout sessions have tea, coffee, and looking at each other’s faces and going back equally sleepy. The client needs to break barriers

and take a risk. As Vice President of IATO, this year I am responsible for putting together the annual convention. I am determined, with the acceptance of the EC, to do something different and show our industry we need to be world class. n How long do you think it will be until India is at par with international standards?

I think we have some good professionals in this country and they are taking the responsibility of trying to push their clients to move different. Is the aim to copy? No. The aim is to become better. I have personally done things nobody else has done before. I have done things in this country where it has completely pushed the local fraternity. I just did a sit-down-on-thefloor banana leaf lunch in Kerala for 80 people. It freaked out our local suppliers because they said ‘No, but we have tables’. I said ‘No, they will sit on the floor like they used to sit 50 years ago’, and it made people very nervous because they said ‘Even we do not do this’. The point is that it is an experience and guests will love it. And they did. So, people like me, colleagues in the industry, competitors and friends, we all try in our own little way to push the barriers locally. When we go to a city, which has not done something like that before and when you do it once, I think it helps the local people. We bring in the planning. We bring in the content. Fortunately it transfers the knowledge and understanding to them, which hopefully they will use again. If you want to play only the price game, then you are selling on your purse. It’s very simple – you have get away from thinking like this.

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27 may 2012

All the 6 years I did the ICPB conclave, we never had had a table on the dais. That is very Indian. You don’t have it internationally; you do not have 12 people sitting on the stage; they are always sitting off stage. First, it looks nicer, it is more presentable and you don’t have people taking their notes, reading newspapers, or checking their phones. Plus, when it is only the speaker on the stage; that is who one focuses on

Industry reaction

TravelX Hospitality continues to bring reactions from the industry on Budget 2012 and views from some of the industry leaders.


) Pankaj Giroti

) Ashu Sood

) Koustav M.Dhar

) Oppenheimer Pinto e Fernandez

) Sunil Mathur

) Rajindera Kumar

) Sushil Gupta

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28 may 2012

) T. Nataraajan

) Rajindera Kumar Director, Taj Ambassador Hotel Like in the past the Hon’ble Finance Minister has shown his resentment towards hospitality and tourism. It is quite evident from his budget exercise of 2012-2012. To my mind once again it is a totally lackluster exercise for the tourism sector without even making a mention of it in his budget speech. I am of a firm belief, if one cannot give anything, must not also take away. Tourism today is an important segment for the country being a major employment generator and a foreign exchange earner and without realizing the potential, the Service Tax has been further enchanced from 10% to 12%. Therefore, from the Tourism point of view there is nothing to cheer about. In fact the suggestions made by the FHRAI submitted to the Ministry of Finance this year and in the earlier years have had no response. In particular, the F.H.R.A.I has been persistently requesting the Ministry of Finance and other concerned Ministries/Departments for the inclusion of Hotels under the infrastructure category which can make hotels eligible for special treatment in terms of higher quantum of loan from banks and financial institutions at concessional rate of interest as well as for availing of Foreign loan under the ECB scheme of the RBI. As for the positive points to my mind are as under: œœ

Income Tax Exemption limit for individual tax payers have been increased from

Rs. 1,80,000/- to Rs. 2,00,000/A deduction upto Rs. 10,000/- is allowed in respect of saving bank interest. œœ Income Tax slab of 20% upto the income of Rs. 8.00 lac has been extended upto the Income of Rs. 10.00 lacs. œœ Senior Citizen without Business Income exempted from advance tax. œœ STT on cash delivery of shares reduced by 25%. As for the negative points: œœ TDS at the rate of 1% on transfer of Immovable property exceeding Rs. 50,00 œœ lacs. œœ Compulsory filing of Income tax returns in relation to Assets outside India. œœ The reassessment notice can be issued upto 16 years in respect of Income relating to any asset located outside India. œœ Service tax rate has been increased from 10.30% to 12.36% œœ Almost every service has been brought under the ambit of service tax except 17 services. œœ Jewellery bullion business has been brought under excise. œœ No relief has been provided to the Hospitality Industry. Overall View: To sum up the positive and negative points it can be concluded that it is a œœ œœ

disappointing budget for all masses. The learned FM has given a Minor relief in the personal taxation but on the other hand has taken out more from the people increasing the service tax and excise rate. ) T. Nataraajan CEO, GRT Hotels & Resorts Overall View: Under the prevailing conditions of economy the Govt has managed the best budget proposal possible. Due to political pressure no increase in any large consumption areas such as power, fuel, reduction of subsidy possible but every constituent wants maximum allocation to their state. This is an economic paradox. Industry Impact: Service tax increase from 10 to 12% is one single incidence, which will make every item of necessity expensive. The taxes on hotel facility by the states and center has increased over the last two years to unprecedented levels making all hotel related services expensive. this will also lead to evasion to some extent. Making services taxable except on the negative list, will bring in most of the services offered in hotels in to Service tax net. Positive: There is no significant area that is positive to any industry in the budget. With the cost of living and inflation going up even the small exemption given in Individual taxation seem too low. Classic example is tax and duty on Gold. Gold export and jewelry industry just started to grow globally. Negative: Taxation levels are going up. Bank interest has increased, cost of white goods, motor cars, two wheelers etc have all gone up. Every single item of domestic use is now expensive. Tax evasion and corruption will be the net growth prospects under these conditions. Missing: The firm direction that Dr. Manmohan Singh took 21 years ago for economic liberalization and growth seem to have been derailed by Dr Singh himself. As an economist Dr Singh was concerned about economic growth but as a politician he seem only keen to retain his chair and has forgotten his economic agenda which brought him to the notice of the world. Sad what politics can do to an otherwise wise man like Dr. Singh. ) Sunil Mathur Regional Vice President – South Asia, Dusit Bird Hotels Overall view: The feeling is of disappointment. As a modern-age business, travel and tourism is possibly the single largest industry internationally. While countries the world over are achieving major economic gains by successfully tapping into the opportunity that tourism and hotels readily provide, we in India continue to miss that opportunity. For a country blessed with a tourism wealth like no other country, a robust demand, both international and domestic, for tourism products and hotels, we are failing to recognize the economic gains that we can achieve

Tx hospitality

29 may 2012

We were expecting rationalisation of taxes for hospitality sector, but instead the government has increased service tax, which will have a direct impact on our businesses. By doing so, we are making India even more expensive, compared to other destinations in the Asia such as Bangkok and Singapore.

- Dilip Puri, Regional Vice-President (South Asia), Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Industry reaction help in contributing more profits to the travel and hospitality industry in India. pOSITIvE: More focus on Total Guest Satisfaction to retain and increase the number of repeat clientele. Force full innovative hospitality solutions for both domestic and international guests. MISSING: The “Spark”

the deBacle on service tax has Been given an eyeeye-W Wash By Wash B counterBalancing it With the reduction oF cascading eFFect oF service tax With input credit availaBility. Whereas, all this Will have an eFFect on the Foreign tourist arrivals, as our destination Will Become more costly compared to our neighBoring countries, the outBound should not Be impacted By B this Budget. - Kamlesh Barot, president, Fhrai and director vie hospitality

through pragmatic policies and a small cost. INDUSTRy IMpACT: The demand for hotels is a result of traveling numbers. In our country today, we have a rapidly growing demand from international tourists, business travelers plus an enormous domestic constituency. However, there is not enough supply of qualitative, professional hotel accommodations. what we need is active support from government to boost investment and meet this supply shortfall. Then there is the multiplicity of taxes in the states. pOSITIvE: The biggest positive is that the opportunity in India is much larger than the challenge. If we take the right supportive steps, the impact will dramatically improve our tourist volumes and hotel availability. NEGATIvE: we do not have a uniform hotel development policy in the country. Laws relating to development of land i.e. F.A.R. Regulations need to be enhanced modernized to help hotel development. wHAT’S MISSING: I think what is missing is a policy level appreciation of the far-reaching economic advantages of tourism. Once we have that, i believe that rest can fall into place pretty quickly. Our problem is that we tackle issues in parts and not as a whole. ) Pankaj Giroti CHA, Managing Director, UNA Hotels OvERALL vIEw: Budget 2012-13 sounds an ordeal for service and hospitality industry. According to the recent budget, the increase in the service tax from 10% to 12% has given a jolt to hospitality sector. However, holidaying in India is a big draw for tourists owing to the heritage, history, royalty, natural beauty and colorful fairs and festivals of this incredible country. Also, the future advent of events like F1 race, IpL, in India will give boost to both domestic and international tourism creating more and more profits for hotel industry. INDUSTRy IMpACT: Again the saying will come true, survival of the fittest, in this competitive scenario. with the continued growth in India’s GDp for last few years and the Indian hospitality sector is expected to grow faster than most countries around the world. As the industry is seeking support, to which in turn will help in the creation of additional infrastructure and increasing many hotel rooms in classified categories and unclassified categories and more job opportunities in this sector. This step will

) Oppenheimer Pinto e Fernandez General Manager, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport The government’s decision to increase service tax to 12 per cent will make hotel tariffs more expensive, and will have an impact on overall occupancy and business for hotel companies. Those making plans to travel within the country will have to pay more for the hotel rooms. This will also have an impact on the arrival of foreign tourists, as room rates will be higher as compared to some other Asian destinations. ) Ashu Sood CFO, Aamby valley alley Ltd and Hotel Sahara Star, Company Secretary Sahara Hospitality Ltd OvERALL vIEw: Union Budget 2012-13 has been relatively insignificant to the Hotel industry. Key industry expectations such as grant of infrastructure status to Hotel industry and increase in rate of depreciation of hotel building were not fulfilled. Increase in service tax will negatively impact the industry. However, providing tax credits to reduce cascading taxes and allowing deduction to hotels operated by others (owned by the assessee) were the key positives. Overall, the impact on the sector is neutral. INDUSTRy IMpACT: The increase in service tax from 10 per cent to 12 per cent will negatively impact the industry. However, reduction of cascading taxes by providing tax credits expected offset this. Allowing 100 per cent deduction to the franchise model is positive for the sector. pOSITIvE: Cascading taxes have been reduced significantly by permitting utilization of input tax credits in a number of services such as catering, restaurants, hotel accommodation, pandal and shamiana and transport sectors NEGATIvE: The government’s decision to increase service tax from 10 per cent to 12 per cent will make hotel tariffs more expensive, and will have an impact on overall occupancy and business for hotel companies. India will become even more expensive, compared to other destinations in Asia such as Bangkok and Singapore MISSING: Infrastructure status to hotel industry - not granted. Increase in rate of depreciation of hotel building to 20 per cent from 10 per cent - not fulfilled. Exemption of the industry from multiple taxes - partly fulfilled ) Sushil Gupta Chairman and Managing Director, Asian Hotels (west) Although the Service Tax for the Rooms and the

Food and Beverage has been increased from 10 to 12 % and also the abatement has been reduced from 50% to 40% in rooms and from 70% to 60%. Budget 2012 is positive for the hospitality industry because the Input credit has been allowed which is a great relief. In addition, Section 35AD has been clarified to include hotels which are under management or lease. ) Koustav M. Dhar Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, Blue Hill Logistics Pvt. Ltd Overall view: The budget is quite balanced for many sectors and brings in hope to sectors like Infrastructure, heavy industries etc. But for travel, tourism and tavel related logistics; it’s quite a damp squib. There are no sops to travel industry and with extremely high levels of Fuel costs, Aviation, Super Luxury surface Transport would get a severe hit. Budget, if not balanced, can create a vacuum, and today tourism and ancillary industries are been ignored completely Industry Impact: Today tourism industry is the highest revenue employer in single sector in India. This is the fourth time Union Budgets has been made without any due consideration for the travel and tourism Industry. Hospitality, tourism, aviation, luxury transport and other tourismrelated service providers, who earn one of the largest foreign exchange, although included as the 13th sector in the SEPC, set up by the Ministry of Commerce, did never get any benefits. Whereas, the same has been extended to other service exporters, who earn foreign exchange. The proposed increase in service tax to 12 percent will act as a dampener for the growth of the sector, which will result in spike in cost, tourism sector should have been bailed out of the same. Earnings on commissions, business, Tourism, tickets etc would add up in large way due to this increase. While its termed as Budget for “Aam Aadmi” or Common Man, every taxation that comes as burden to our industry would have to be passed to the same common man who would be highly burdened. So where is the Budget of “Aaam Admi”? Positive: The ECB upto USD 1 billion in loans for the airline industry for a period of one year, proposed in the Budget 2012-13, will address the immediate concerns of the civil aviation sector. The government is also permitting direct import of ATF by Indian carriers, as actual users, which is also good news provided Oil Ministry doesn’t create any roadblocks on the same. The announcement of an increase in infrastructural investments, especially via the National Highway Development Project 2012-2013 is indeed welcome. National and state Highways form the arterial network for both inbound and domestic tourism and for ultra luxury scheduled surface transporters like us. This would ease way for more of land travel, which is welcome. An immediate need is invest on the lines of the Greater

Noida-Agra Expressway Negative: The Union budgets announcement of $1 billion ECBs (External Commercial Borrowing) for airlines to fund their working capital requirements might ease pressure in short term, while paving the way for FDI in aviation sector at a later stage should have been reversed. Need of the hour is the FDI even upto 65-70%, which could have allowed survival of airlines without depending on Government for any support. This is been completely overlooked. The Tour prices, Luxury surface transport, Railways, Hotel prices etc would increase substantially due to the cascading effect of the service tax increase- resulting in an adverse impact on the travel and tourism industry as a whole. Travel and tourism inbound segment has been already reeling under the impact of global slowdown in key source markets, would be further impacted, with a drop in FTAs (Foreign Tourist Arrivals) and a further dampener on the growth rate in FEE (foreign exchange earnings) already estimated to be down to 16.7% in 2011 from 24.6% in 2010. The travel tourism and hospitality industry is already facing pressure due to the weakening of the Rupee over the last one year, it would make the Indian travel and tourism industry really non-competitive in South Asian region. The Budget makes the Great Indian consumer move away from Indian destinations, more towards South Asian travel, which is a massive exchequer loss. The only silver lining, if it really happens, is the fact that considering that the disposal income of Indians will be slightly higher (with Figures showing 12.6-18% increase in Salaries with people with High disposable income in last 24 months), there might be a propensity to spend in Travel products, which might show some light. Missing: A focused approach to tourism, travel, surface transport, aviation and maritime travel industry is required which should have a expert panel comprising of key private industry players as stake-holders. A consumer perspective and survey should be included to understand where we stand. Our budgets are always industry centric rather than nation centric, which makes every year some Industry bear the brunt of oversight. The only sad part is that travel and tourism is bearing the same for last few years, without any reprieve. There is a complete lack of industry understanding and project path forward missing. Every stakeholder of this fine industry should have been included to ensure that from supplier to end consumer there are scope of repetitive consumerism and not a simple Halo effect, which is damaging to industry. An approach for enhancing tourism product and tourism as whole pulls up other industries equally and make it balanced. This industry can’t be overlooked and we can’t survive if every time travel and tourism industry has a slip between the cup and the lip.

Tx hospitality

31 may 2012

The proposed increase in the service tax from 10 to 12 per cent and broadening the base of service tax applicability by including all service except specified in the negative list will increase the cost of services in the travel and tourism sector.” - Subhash Verma, President, ADTOI


The Game

Changer You may find nothing extraordinary in the hotel, but that’s until you visit BKC and stay at Sofitel Luxury Hotel, Mumbai, Bandra Kurla Complex.


f a ‘business hotel’ could be defined as a sum total of its parts, then Sofitel Luxury Hotel in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) could be the pillow to rest your head on. It’s centrally located (30 minutes from the domestic airport and 45 minutes from the international), is close to most places of interest in Mumbai and has a business center that works like a well-oiled, well-managed office. The restaurants, four of them, offer a handsome range of à la carte and buffet menus, both French and Indian, that can be enjoyed from 6am to midnight. There’s also a 24/7 spacious gym to help you work out those sore muscles and then relax in the adjoining spa. In other words, it sums up as that ‘somewhere’ where travelers can rest while traveling for work. Luckily, Sofitel does more than that. It willingly indulges even the whimsical of wishes of its guest. Take the bed for instance. The hotel incorporates the concept of ‘My Bed’, where every bed is custom-made to suit the resting needs of a guest. It even has a pillow menu (though not new) to go along. So rest assured, you will sleep well – just like back at home. A well-known name worldwide, this is the first Sofitel in India and it is the flagship property of the same French hospitality brand that earlier brought Ibis to India. Sofitel’s winning

(From far left) The faรงade of the hotel; Le Bar Diamantaire, Tuskers, and the lobby


The Artisan Pâtisserie

Barely a few months old, the hotel already has pre-empted the needs of a busy business traveler. There is a floor dedicated to meeting spaces, where meetings are tailor-made to one’s needs complete with a dedicated meeting planner, secretary, chef and a concierge

proposition is of course its location. The hotel is right next to the Bharat Diamond Bourse and the National Stock Exchange, not to mention a walk away from some of the biggest corporate names of India and elsewhere. Designed by renowned designer Isabella Miaja, the hotel exteriors with its canted glass façade resembles an uncut diamond – an ode perhaps to the neighboring Diamond Bourse. However, step inside and one is completely taken by the designer’s ingenuity in giving the hotel its Indo-French character. The hotel not only has pillars and corners that ape the cuts of a diamond, but also blends French culture, design and gastronomy with Indian tradition and art. There is a generous use of designing elements and the hues of reds, orange (saffron), gold and purple (the color of French royalty) on every floor including the lobby –everything from Isabella’s hand-designed chandeliers, custom-made furniture, furnishings and even textured walls have a fusion of both the cultures. In fact, the diamond theme extends to the seating at the Le Bar Diamantaire (the bar) and the Club Millesime (the business lounge of the hotel), where sofas are covered with crystals shaped into diamonds. Yet to all visible customization and rich vibrant colors, the hotel is low on its ‘bling’ and really high on the comfort quotient. And this is where it appeals to a business traveler. Navigating this hotel is easy. The 302 guestrooms, which are divided into Superior Rooms, Luxury Rooms, Club Millesime Rooms, Junior Suites, Prestige Suites, and the lavish Imperial Suite – are high on space and designed for a clutter-free living. Tx hospitality

Besides a LCD screen, which doubles up as a projector screen, courtesy the Media Hub facility of the hotel, the common thread to all the rooms is the French-inspired interiors. The beds, the iPod dock, the sensor lighting and the soft touch remote to draw/close the curtains and the lights, the desktop coffee grinding machine, the hidden crockery and the well-stocked bar are a common dominator. Each room has seating that converts into a bed to accommodate guests of the guest without any extra cost, just in case. And of course the glass-surrounded bathroom with a ceramic bathtub is the highlight. The curved worktable camouflages a complete gadget whiz box that can charge, play even connect you to all your gadgets. There is an iPod dock, a USB port, HDMI cable socket, even place to charge your tablet/netbook away from prying eyes. The other interesting bit is the pair of strap on dumbbells and yoga mat that has been kept in every room, irrespective the room/suite you choose. Yes, there is a special yoga class for the residents at the gym (So Fit). The difference though in Superior Rooms is the added space. Like the Club Millesime rooms and Prestige Suites, they come with an extra seating space, a living room and a study, with an unprecedented access to Club Millesime, which has a powder room and nap area for guests on a day visit for a meet. Of course the room and Club Millesime is only a part of the Sofitel’s ‘Life of Mangnifique’. Barely a few months old, the hotel already has pre-empted the needs of a busy business traveler. There is a floor dedicated to meeting spaces,

34 may 2012

(From top left) The Prestige Suite Bedroom; the reception of Club Millésime; a bedroom; and the bathroom

where meetings are tailor-made to one’s needs complete with a dedicated meeting planner, secretary, chef and concierge. It is this a team of experts who often double up as the trip planner and work out every detail, down to the food you would taste and best place to watch a movie in Mumbai. Located on the second floor of this 14floored structure, are four banquet halls, including the imperial style Grand Salon Ballroom that can accommodate 250 guests. Interestingly, each banquet hall here is named after a famous character. The Petit Salon Dumas is named after French writer Alexandre Dumas, while Salon Louvre is an inspired the world’s largest museum of masterpieces, Musee du Louvre. As for the food, Soiftel offers a wide menu selection, both from the French cuisine and the Indian. So while you have the Artisans, a French style patisserie and chocolaterie – dessert heaven in other words – that can be a casual meeting place for business guests and otherwise, Tuskers and Jyran bring in the Indian element with traditional vegetarian and tandoor varieties. Like to explore more than head down to the Pondichery Café. Located next to the lobby, it is an alldinning place that works as a food marketplace where one can sample the buffet and get fresh meal made. The high point of this place is the largest wine tower. It’s the largest in the country, I was told. It is this big feature that separates the Café from the well-stocked bar that is made in two floors. Food aside, the beauty of each of these restaurants is the privacy. Each restaurant has a private dining area, which thanks to the design

has the flexibility to turn any corner into a private dining space on request. So if you want to spend time alone or in company without being ‘noticed’, you just need to know what you want to eat and the rest is taken care of. Besides the spa, which presents its treatments as gastronomical indulgences – so you have a main course, a dessert, entrée and such, the gym is yet another highlight. Spacious, well equipped, it has the famous Kinesis Wall from Technogym, which allows you to work with or without a trainer and monitors your heart rate and water levels. A jacuzzi, steam and a brightly lit relaxation zones makes it one of the healthiest gym to head to post a tiring day at work. There is also a juice counter that provides you with Gatorade and any fresh fruit/vegetable juice that you would need post a fruitful workout. And, finally the yoga platform, where individualized yoga session are given to the residents at any part of the day. Backache, lack of sleep, restlessness… it’s all treated here. Once done, there is always the pool to come and relax. With its own bar L’Oh, it is one of the best places to call it a day and watch the city that never sleeps calm down into a lull. With its tradition of custom-making every little aspect of living and its blend of cultures, Sofitel isn’t just a place to put your head down, it is a place to come to be spoilt and spend a day(s) in ‘magnifique’. Text: Madhulika Dash Photographs: Courtesy Sofitel Luxury Hotel, Mumbai  


35 MAY 2012



Pune’s new

firsT-class HoTel A deep pocket may not be a pre requisite to visit the city of the Peshwas anymore. There are some new first class hotels that have driven Pune’s astronomical room rates a little lower, fortunately. To draw travelers, these hotels have opted for smarter, more stylish packaging. One of these hotels is Four Points by sheraton Hotel & serviced Apartments. Tx hospitality

36 may 2012


ollowing the contemporary minimalistic approach of design, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments is trendy and simultaneously exudes warmth and cheerfulness. The hotel caters specifically to the frequent traveler and long-staying guest, offering various facilities. Packaged with WiFi, multiple restaurants, banquet space, business center, flexible check in, and minibar, the most important aspect is that it doesn’t sell short on comfort, but cuts out the frills. Conveniently located only 3 kilometers from the airport, the Inorbit Mall and 200 meters from Phoenix Market City, this hotel is an ideal choice for business or pleasure when visiting the area. This hotel is certainly not opulent; its design is minimalist and modern with clear cuts, sharp tones, clean lines, and light colors to create a simple yet stylish design. With everything designed to offer contemporary luxury with up to the minute facilities, guests can choose from several options for accommodation with interesting offers running throughout the year such as ‘One Bedroom Residence Package’, ‘Four for Free’, ‘The Longer You Stay the More You Save’, and ‘Suite Dreams Package’. Each of their 217 guest rooms and suites offer high-speed Internet access, the comfortable Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort™ Bed, and free bottled water. For longer stays, their 48 self-contained studios and 1-bedroom residences are perfect and have separate living and bedroom areas with a deluxe kitchenette, including large bathrooms with rain shower. Panash, which is their signature restaurant, has a dedicated Sushi and Teppanyaki counter. Located on the first floor of the hotel, Panash is a 68-seater restaurant with a creative and modern décor. It serves South East Asian and Japanese cuisines, along with a good mix of Malaysian, Thai and Singaporean delicacies with enough options for vegetarians as well. Apart from the usual Asian fare, the menu features the Yasai Sarda along with a Thai Som Tam and Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls, over twenty varieties of Sushi, and an assortment of vegetarian and non-vegetarian

dim sums. The Best Brew has two beer tables where a group of 3 -5 people can hire the table for an hour and enjoy unlimited draught beer! Those who prefer delectable international cuisine can visit the coffee shop called Eatery. The Sunday brunches, which feature an interesting buffet along with a live band, are popular with Puneites. Alfresco is their outdoor dining facility with a water fountain that soothes your senses as you enjoy a great meal of barbeques and grills. Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments can host conferences and meetings in seven flexible meeting rooms and has 1,140 square meters of function space. An accessible golf course, WiFi connectivity, complimentary bottled water, a spa, a gym and a swimming pool (with tanning beds next to it) make for the other facilities. This hotel primarily targets the business traveler looking for perfect calm and a rejuvenating experience. Providing the budget conscious traveler with basic, great quality, contemporary facilities and services at extremely affordable prices, Four Points by Sheraton is today one of the most popular hotels in Pune. Says General Manager Pankaj Mathur, “At Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments, we know what you want when you travel, and also how to make your stay extra special. From a sweet treat or an ice-cold brew to a comfortable bed, we call them our Simple Pleasures.” For those guests who want to visit the hotel

P nA PA n sH, wHicH is THeir sign ure signAT resTAur TAurA TAur urAnT, T T, HAs A dedicATed susHi And TePPAnyA ny ki nyA cOunTer. LOcATed On THe FirsT FLOOr OF THe HOTeL, P nA PA n sH is A 68seATer resTAurA TAur urAnT, T, wiTH T A creATive And mOdern décOr. r. P PAnA n sH serves sOuTH eAsT AsiAn And J JAPA nese cuisines, ALOng wiTH A gOOd mix OF mALAy mALAyysiAn, THAi And singAPOreAn deLicAcies wiTH enOugH OPTiOns FOr vegeTAriAns As weLL.



four Points by sheraton Hotel & serviced apartments


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5th Mile Stone, Nagar Road, Pune-411014 Call: +91 20 39406699 Fax: +91 20 30930930 E-mail: reservations@punefourpoints.com Tariff: Single Rs 5000 plus taxes Double 5500 plus taxes on Bed and breakfast. Rates are dynamic and change on a regular basis (BAR rates are Best Available Rates and these are available on the hotel website. Corporates are entitled to special rates called CVGR (company volume guaranteed rates), which are given to regular corporates based on their potential of room nights.

for business, there are arrangements to set up the latest audio-visual equipment and production services, pre-function space, catering staff, conference facilities and technicians, high speed internet access in all meeting/event facilities, with natural lighting and a business center as well. For those who wish to plan their receptions here, there is a wedding coordinator too. Rooms are vibrant and colorful, with elegant and contemporary interiors. Tech savvy, all the rooms are equipped with plasma screens, high watt speaker system and a DVD player. The room décor is minimalist and snug and manages to exude warmth and comfort. Comfort King Room, Comfort Twin Room, Pool View Room, One Bedroom Apartment, Suite, and Studio Apartment are the various types of rooms available at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and Serviced Apartments. Apart from the Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bed, the hotel can also arrange for cribs and rollaway beds. The dining area in serviced rooms is also adequately equipped with a coffee and tea maker, bottled water, a kitchenette, 24-hour room service, microwave oven, mini bar, and a refrigerator. The hotel houses Sohum Spa, which is a luxury wellness spa that focuses on the mind, body and soul all at once. The therapies use music for relaxation, meditation, assertive visualization, sleep induction and holistic therapy for the heart and are very effective. Perfect to de-stress and unwind, a treatment at Sohum Spa uses natural products and ancient healing techniques. Text: Jyoti Balani Photographs: Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments n n

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EATON SMART INDIA'S FIRST TRANSIT HOTEL NOW FULLY OPERATIONAL aton Smart, India's first transit hotel located in Delhi's Terminal 3, is now fully operational with the launch of the domestic wing. Eaton Smart, a brand managed by Langham Hospitality Group, launched the international wing last year. The New Delhi Airport Terminal 3 handles around 34 million passengers a year and is reputed to be the world's sixth busiest airport with 1,500 passengers transiting daily and is today a proud host of the fifth transit hotel in the world. The 93-room Eaton Smart is designed to make unpleasant layovers a thing of the past with its intelligent modern design, comfortable facilities and convenient services. Passengers transiting New Delhi International airport can now look forward to staying or refreshing themselves at rates starting from 3,000INR (approx US$65) per five hour or have an overnight stay for 7,000 INR (approx US$140. In addition to guestrooms, Aqua Pods (shower facilities) can also be reserved which also allow full access to the hotel's range of services. Raju Shahani, Executive Consultant, Development and Operations India and Sri Lanka, Langham Hospitality Group said: "Eaton customers are savvy road warriors, self-sufficient, globetrotters who value efficiency and friendly can do service so we've built our model on the ability to do more for each guest, affordably and with simplicity." Divided in two wings the Eaton Smart has 57 rooms in the international wing and 36 rooms in the domestic wing. The rooms in the international terminal are reserved for passengers transiting through Delhi for onward international destinations. Domestic Passengers with a valid ticket for the flight operating from Terminal 3, can access the rooms in the domestic wing of the hotel. All rooms have hi speed internet access, LCD TV's, tea coffee makers and 24 hours in room dining options. Other services include the Essentials Spa concept that offers a range of treatments for pre and post flight pampering to alleviate jetlag. The spa offers foot massage, hand and arm massage, head massage, aromatherapy massage, hot stone and back and neck shoulder massages. Other treatments include papaya body scrub,


bergamot body exfoliation, active revival facial treatment, French green body scrub etc. In addition, a fully equipped gymnasium allows health conscious guests to work out and energize at any time of day. The hotel offers a high quality all-day cafĂŠ serving freshly prepared international comfort foods and local culinary favorites. The opening of Eaton Smart New Delhi Airport's domestic wing now means passengers transiting can make the most of their time for productivity, relaxing or rest before the next part of their journey. Guests can expect and enjoy an affordable full-service hotel with efficient friendly service to make transiting a more pleasant experience Now with Eaton Smart as an option, the airport experience or layovers need not mean spending sleepless night on an uncomfortable airport chair. Eaton Smart is meant for travelers who want to relax without the hassle of clearing customs and immigration hours before the flight. The hotel is also ideal for the domestic travelers as it saves time and transportation cost of moving to a city airport hotel before catching the next flight.


39 MAY 2012




MGM HOSPITALITY SIGNS DEFINITIVE AGREEMENTS GM Hospitality, a wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM), has signed definitive agreements in connection with the development and operation of a Bellagio hotel, an MGM Grand hotel, and a Skylofts hotel, as part of the Maker Maxity mixed-use development complex in Mumbai, India. Maker Maxity is an approximately 20 acre integrated commercial, entertainment, and hospitality complex that will not only be a landmark for Mumbai but will set a new standard for mixed-use development projects in the entire region. Maker Maxity is part of and strategically located at the entry point of the Bandra Kurla Complex, the city's new Central Business District, at Mumbai's geographic center and is bordered by the new International Finance Center on one side and Bandra one of Mumbai's most prestigious and affluent residential neighborhoods -- on the other. In addition to the Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Skylofts hotels, the immaculately designed and meticulously planned complex includes five Class A commercial office buildings, a luxury retail development, and a private club as part of the hospitality precinct. In addition to providing world class hotel facilities catering to all requirements of an international business traveler, the Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Skylofts hotels will offer the dynamic culinary, nightlife, entertainment, and meeting venues that are synony-



mous with MGM Resorts' brands, and will result in Maker Maxity being the centerpiece for all of Mumbai's social and business activities. “The proximity to Bollywood and the affluent Bandra neighborhood provides a perfect setting for the confluence of energy, indulgence and luxury that the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Skylofts hotels will bring to the destination,” said Gamal Aziz, CEO of MGM Hospitality. Mr. Aziz added, “MGM is honored to be selected for this landmark project which marks a huge milestone in our strategy to extend our brand reach in the sophisticated and fast growing Indian hospitality market.” A spokesperson for Maker Maxity said “MGM Hospitality is a renowned international developer of hospitality entertainment destination experiences with an extraordinary portfolio of distinctive, world-renowned destinations. Their unmatched ability to capture the essence of a place and combine it with a style and energy that extends from their Las Vegas DNA enables us to create an entirely new scene in Bandra Kurla, one that is relevant, vital, and inextricably tied to our rich Mumbai culture.” Earlier last year, MGM Hospitality announced it had signed a definitive agreement to operate The MGM Grand and Skylofts in New Delhi. In partnership with Silver Resort Hotel India Private Limited (a Company promoted by Blue Coast Hotels Limited), MGM Hospitality will provide design assistance and operate this luxury hotel facility under the legendary brand of MGM Grand. The new hotel will feature approximately 480 MGM Grand guest rooms, along with a number of exclusive Skylofts brand suites and serviced apartments. “This announcement is of particular significance as it marks our Company's entry into the burgeoning India marketplace,” said Aziz. “Our brands are known the world over, but being welcomed into a new nation is always exciting, especially one with a hospitality market as dynamic as India's. We are fortunate to be working with a wonderful partner, Blue Coast Hotels Limited, and look forward to sharing the MGM Grand brand of luxury with both the residents of New Delhi and with the many visitors arriving to explore the wonders of India.” MGM Grand New Delhi is anticipated to welcome its first guests in early 2014.

40 MAY 2012

PARKSIDE HOTELS TO MAKE $400M INVESTMENT IN INDIA S-based hotelier Parkside Hotels and Resorts is to invest $400m in expanding its operations in India. Currently, Parkside operates the Parkside Zebra Inn and Suites brand at various locations in the country. Parkside Zebra Hotels, a division of the group, will introduce four hotel brands as well as its


ovotel, the upper midscale hotel brand of hospitality giant Accor, announces the opening of its irst Novotel in the city, Novotel BengaluruTechpark. Located in the heart of the emerging business district, the hotel will be a ‘home-away-fromhome’ for business and leisure guests, specifically catering to the discerning needs of ‘city breakers’ and the ‘urban nomads’. Novotel Bengaluru Techpark is a part of the first combo property for Accor in the country, which forms the largest hotel property in South India. Sharing the same site is ibis Bengaluru Techpark, the international value hotel brand of Accor, which opened in November 2011. Speaking at the inauguration of the Novotel, Denis Hennequin, Chairman & CEO Accor says “We are delighted with the growth of theNovotel network in India and now with the addition of Novotel Bengaluru Techpark, marking the fifth Novotel in the country. Our expansion plans forNovotel on the sub continent are ambitious as we set about delivering quality upper mid-scale accommodation to cater to the increasing demand in this key segment of accommodation. The hotel is a fine example of the new generation of Novotel and together with the attached ibis is a symbol of Accor’s progress in India and of which I am proud.” Creating the perfect blend of contemporary décor and efficiency, the Novotel rooms and suites offer unmatched comfort while delivering the sanctity and harmony of a home away from home. Each room features 15 Mbps Wi-Fi, mini bar, safe deposit box, telephone and satellite TV. Also understanding that men and women have


resort brand. The company proposes to manage 4,000 rooms by 2013 under budget hotel brand Parkside Zebra Inn, and the four/five-star Parkside Zebra Hotel, Zebra Suites, Zebra Resort and the luxury Zebra Collection. The company has 20,800 rooms worldwide, which will increase to 52,000 in 2014 with the expansion.



different needs when they travel on business, Novotel BengaluruTechpark has introduced the concept of La Femme Rooms that looks into the needs of female travelers. Puneet Dhawan, General Manager, Ibis & Novotel Bengaluru Techpark enthuses, “Bengaluru is one of the most promising hospitality markets in the country for domestic and international travelers alike. With the increasing cosmopolitan attitude of the city people and their need for quality offerings, we are certain Novotel Bengaluru Techpark will create a unique niche for itself. The property will deliver globally renowned contemporary accommodation along with high-end services and facilities, raising the bar for business and leisure destinations in the city.’’


41 MAY 2012




pacious, sylvan surroundings, pleasant warmth, a sense of comfortable luxury, a home away from home that doesn’t compromise on efficiency or style, is what the new boutique hotel located in the capital’s prime address of Friends Colony - Mantra Amaltas (labarnum the flower) places on offer, to the guest who sojourns for business or leisure. Avininder Puri, Director, Mantra Amaltas, placed as his mandate the enunciation of an unknown author, who clearly understood the essence of good, stylish living, where the heart of the hearth remains key. The forty-two rooms, spacious property extends over an elegant 3,700 square meters. The Suites offer an option of four spacious luxury suites, which enjoy a distinction of unique design elements, overall aesthete and facilities that offer the ultimate in comfort. The twenty-seven Premier Rooms feature large double beds, and luxury bathrooms further enhanced by a private balcony offering a breathtaking view of large open spaces. Aesthetically appointed, easy access to utilitarian facilities only enhances the comfort quotient of these spaces. The eleven Deluxe Rooms are furnished in a charming contemporary Indian style, equipped like the previous two within room facilities including tea /coffee making equipment, a mini bar, an LCD TV with TATA Sky, an electronic safe and customized herbal toiletries. Diner’s Nest, the 7am to 11pm multi cuisine restaurant offers a sumptuous selection of Japanese, Italian, Continental, Chinese and Indian fare,


with an extended range of hot and cold beverages and desserts. Room service for residing guests remains an option. The only heated indoor pool that the capital can boast of finds pride of place at Mantra Amaltas. The relaxed ambience offers possibilities for indulgence in leisure time activities including strumming the guitar and scrabble and more, all of which enjoy a casually hospitable location around the pool, urging visitors to unwind and indulge, without words.... The soon to launch state-of-the-art Oyster Health Club will offer welcome respite to the fitness conscious. Golfers, shoppers, sight - seers can all be assured of guidance to pursuits of personal preference by the well equipped Travel Desk staff, that patiently understands and suggests and guides to, optimal customized pleasure with minimal wastage of precious time. Elevator access to all levels, disabled friendly rooms with grab bars in bathrooms and other thoughtful elements are increasingly transforming Mantra Amaltas into a preferred destination for the slightly elderly visitors to the capital. The venue options offered are varied and can accommodate from 60 to 200. For conferences, all facilities are easily accessible including modern audio /visual equipment, WiFi Internet access with conference and theatre seating options. Also for private events, including exclusive cocktail and dinner functions, where open air party floors accommodate 70 to 90 guests, with the option of a very private, white glove service possibility.



42 MAY 2012

DUNKIN’ DONUTS OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES IN DELHI unkin’ Donuts, the world’s leading baked goods and coffee chain, was been officially launched in Delhi with the opening of its flagship store at Connaught Place, New Delhi, at the heart of the city’s commercial centre. Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd. (JFL), India’s largest Food Service Company, entered into an alliance with Dunkin’ Donuts early last year to bring the brand’s restaurants to India. With the beginning of this agreement with Dunkin’ Donuts, JFL, which already has rights for Domino’s Pizza, has now significantly strengthened its portfolio. JFL is well poised to address two distinct non-competing segments of the Food Service Industry in India, namely the pizza home delivery market and the all day part food café and beverage market. The Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant branded as “Dunkin’ Donuts & More” will offer the best of its international menu as well as products developed specially for India. The menu will feature a wide range of Donuts, Dunkin’ original blend drip coffee, espresso based beverages. The menu for India also features a wide assortment of sandwiches served on artisan breads such as focaccia, croissants, ciabatta, bagels. The beverages menu has also been expanded with fruit milkshakes, smoothies and tea. Speaking about the grand opening occasion, Mr. Shyam S. Bhartia, Chairman and Mr. Hari S. Bhartia, Co-Chairman, Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd. said, “India is a key strategic market with immense potential for growth in the food service business. We are delighted with the launch of Dunkin’ Donuts in India. Our team has been working very hard over the last year to come up with a differentiated value proposition and the


result has been very gratifying. We are strongly convinced that the Dunkin’ Donuts brand is extremely relevant for India, not only due to its iconic status in donuts and coffee, but also due to its differentiated food and beverage menu, which Indians are now ready for. This restaurant marks the beginning of another exciting journey for Jubilant FoodWorks and we hope to exceed customer expectations.” Present at the launch, Mr. Ajay Kaul, CEO Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd. said, “We are happy to launch our first Dunkin Donuts location in the heart of the city today. Given our deep understanding of Indian consumers, we have gone the extra mile to innovate and offer a Dunkin’ Donuts menu that brings the best of what the brand has to offer internationally, while keeping the needs of Indian consumers in mind. In keeping with the expansion plan, we will open around 10 stores in the FY13. Further, over next five years, we plan to open 80-100 stores.” Adding on, Mr. Dev Amritesh, COO and President Dunkin’ Donuts India - Jubilant FoodWorks Limited said, “Dunkin’ Donuts is known for its donuts for sure, but is also about coffee, sandwiches, all day snacks and other beverages. The brand name in India has the sign of “Dunkin’ Donuts & More” to signify our wide product range and the unique experiences that our restaurants offer. We believe Dunkin’ Donuts will occupy the sweet spot in between cafés and quick service restaurants, as we offer elements of both. A great all-day menu of food and a fantastic range of beverages, along with a chilled out, modern and relaxed environment. We are confident that Indian consumers will love our format and our product offering.”


43 MAY 2012



goIng up

NorTh while hile most punjabi restaurants firmly fall under the “dhabba” category, up north at the raintree aintree anna a salai (chennai) comes as a pleasant surprise with its contemporary décor and refreshing al fresco setting.

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unjabi cuisine can be misleading and is often construed within the shallow folds of butter chicken and rubbery naan. But Chef Lakhbir Singh Chahal, the man behind Up North informs us that Punjabi cuisine goes way back into a time of undivided India. “It is basically North Western Frontier cuisine and the food style is more like ghar ka khana (home style food) made in the villages of Punjab. We use pure ghee and the food culture is rich but not spicy like most people think. And, we don’t have biryani because it is not strictly Punjabi cuisine but we have pulao,” explains this chef who had worked at the Masala Club at Taj West End (Bangalore) and Baluchi at the Lalit Ashok (Bangalore) before taking on the mantle at the Raintree Anna Salai. The show kitchen displays interestingly lined up kebabs skewered slowly while the al fresco ambience is jazzed up by purple accents as the evening breeze lulls us into a state of pleasant stupor. And, Up North surprisingly strays away from the done to death routine of a heavy dose of rusticity. Instead, there are cleaner lines, sharper lights and contemporary influences to make it a truly ambient space. F&B Manager Jaideep Prasad tells us why they chose to keep it eclectic yet modern. “We wanted to deliberately make Up North a neutral space. We have incorporated vibrant colours apart from suggestions from the welltravelled guests. The al fresco ambience offers the guests a chance to enjoy the weather, relax over the meal and just unwind with nature. It is a comfortable space to just relax after a busy schedule. In short, this is a time and space to unwind and enjoy the spirit of eating out,” explains Prasad. The experience doesn’t end there. Prasad, who has worked with the likes of The Oberoi, Taj Group and Le Meridien brand from the Starwood Group of Hotels, gives us their version of a 360-degree experience. “When it comes to food, each gravy is different from others and we use recipes from the kitchens across Punjab. The vibrancy extends to leaving a fragrance on the palate and we use ingredients which are a coolant for the body. We get a lot of European guests and we keep it soothing instead of spicy,” he explains. And, this was quite evident in the Amritsari machi, batter fried fish flavoured with cumin was soft, flaky and melts in your mouth.

The aloo bukhara kofta brought back pleasant memories which had nothing to do with potatoes. For those who grew up eating this plumy fruit in grandmother’s backyard, it is like revisiting the past where all the good memories are. And this version was an exotic spin with chewy kofta filled with chopped cashewnuts in mildly spiced gravy. But what caught our attention was the saag wala meat which featured lamb cubes in fragrant spinach cream gravy. The meat was dreamily tender matched beautifully by the herby flavour of the spinach. The potato kulcha and tandoori naan were perfect accompaniments along with the channa pulao, for a quirky twist. Dessert was a traditional affair – classic kulfi falooda where the icy kesar kulfi merged with the sweet vermicelli falooda for an explosive end to the meal, punctuated by courteous service by our waiter, Debraj Chakraborty, who was well-informed of the menu. What makes Up North a really special destination for a meal is that every detail – right from the classic menu on boards large enough to be carried around right down to the serving plates, which fuse into an asymmetrical form. And with great food and chef Chahal’s special attention, it was quite a different experience, worthy of an encore.

n n

Text: Natasha Rao Photographs: Sten Langmann

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“When it comes to food, each gravy is different from others and we use recipes from the kitchens across Punjab. The vibrancy extends to leaving a fragrance on the palate and we use ingredients which are a coolant for the body.” - Jaideep Prasad


Spa Myrah

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Conceptualized by its CEO/founder Nisha Javeri, the ‘Myrah Spa’ can be best described as an oasis of peace & calm! Nestled in a quaint bungalow tucked in the leafy by-lanes of Juhu, Myrah Spa provides an extensive range of spa body therapies, spa facial therapies, spa baths and envelopments & lounge getaways.


lucidating about her dream-project, which reached fruition four years ago, Nisha Jhaveri says “At Myrah we constantly focus on the larger picture of the wellness business which is centered on ‘guest wellbeing and experience’. Myrah is operated and managed by a team of professionals, all of whom are eclectic individuals with relevant wealth of expertise and are absolutely passionate about the brand as well as the ‘Well-being Quotient’.” Myrah’s spa packages are called ‘journeys’ – and whilst there is a standard point of reference for them, usually they are customized individually according to guest preferences and lifestyle choices. Constant training, professional therapists, extensive menu, constant upgradations and a completely different brand growth strategy are some of the USPs of Myrah Spa, which proffers only the best therapists possible. “Myrah adheres to the International Spa Standards and therefore no matter what prior experience a therapist may have, they yet have to undergo training

and gradations through tests etc. before being active on the floor. Also the SOP is an integral manual laid down for all therapists,” confirms Nisha. Focused on giving every guest a ‘royal aura’ when he/she walks out from the spa, Myrah offers a range of exotic services on its menu. These include indulgent massages and facials using products like caviar, diamonds etc; treatments like Cell Renewal and Anti-Ageing; and packages such as the ‘Sinful Chocolate Almond Body Polish’, ‘The Divine Rose Bath’, and the ‘Gold & Caviar Facial’ to name a few. “Our signature menu celebrates pure decadence even as it accords a holistic well-being for you” remarks Nisha who has also created a special menu for business guests who’re short on time but equally need a sport of pampering to soothe their frayed nerves and bodies. Contact details: Myrah Spa, 11Palm Springs Society, J.V.P.D Scheme, Mumbai 49 n n

Text: Reshma S Kulkarni Photographs: Myrah Spa

“Myrah adheres to the International Spa Standards and therefore no matter what prior experience a therapist may have, they yet have to undergo training and gradations through tests etc. before being active on the floor.” - Nisha Nisha Jhaveri

all PIC hemant Rawat

food forum From the success of his Eggspectation restaurants to conceptualizing the Italian restaurant – La Brezza with Enoteca Bar at Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort, Greater Noida, Enzo Renda, Co-Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Eggspectation, has over 20 years in the restaurant business. Talking to Meghna Bhaduri, he expresses his motivation and drive for the business So, tell us a bit about you.

I immigrated to Canada in 1976. I was about 16 years old and I had dreams with my family. I had dreams of becoming a businessman and basically went to school at night and worked during the day. But my work during the day was in offices with business people. I worked for places like Shell Canada, their refineries, Pratt & Whitney Engine, engine manufacturer and ended up through all these different office works, ended up at IBM. I ended up worked there for seven years. But seven years later I decided I wanted to do something else. I thought restaurants would be easy… they weren’t. So, I brought a franchise from France with my mom. We were business partners and we developed that, but it didn’t last very long in Canada and we kept the location and did a little Italian Bistro. That’s where it all started. We also did a high-end Italian restaurant. Then I decided to go back to Italy. I went to Venice, actually mainland Venice, and worked in a hotel where I was in-charge of the whole kitchen. By the way, I was never a qualified or a trained chef. I’ve learned along the way. I learned because of my own business and chefs that I hired. I learned to cook with them, but IBM taught me how to learn; how to set up processes, like open manuals; how to streamline a process; how to create actually. In November 1997, I began to focus my efforts exclusively on Eggspectation and subsequently, in the summer of 1998, we, my partner Jimmy Skindilias



and I, purchased Eggspectation and developed the franchise. I was in-charge of franchising and business development, things I knew how to do. I’m a hands-on person. So basically in the past 10 yeas, I decided to not just do the business side of things but also get involved, be more hands-on from the culinary side because I enjoyed it. And it really it all started because of India. Because in India, the challenges were great; I had to develop relationships and understand the culture. Basically my employees here were having a difficult time. So I said let’s change the tactic. So, for the

first time seven years ago, I wore a chef coat. No one here had ever seen me in a chef’s coat; it was the beginning of a great relationship, where I broke the barrier. The chefs here finally realized that I wasn’t just saying things because I read it somewhere. So, I came into the kitchen to show them how to cook. Twenty chefs stood behind me saying “Huh! Let’s see that what he can do”. And I know that they were all waiting to either see me get burnt or fail. But that didn’t happen. So I lead by example.

So as a chef what are the biggest challenges?

Well, the biggest challenge is that when I leave, things get replicated the same way, with the same consistency, with the same passion. The chefs now trust me and when I tell them just a bit a garlic, they’re not going to take a whole spoonful, but just a bit. It’s about developing trust. I trusted them to do what I need and they trust me that what I tell them makes sense. This is what we learned at IBM – the teamwork, to listen to ev everyone, that there are no bad ideas, there’s just a better ideas. So that’s the biggest challenged – breaking the barrier.

But why did you choose India?

I didn’t choose to be here. India chose me. I was asked if I was interested in expansion in India. I was actually traveling through Asia then – I was in Shanghai. But I didn’t feel comfortable in China, because of the language. I knew I wanted to expand, so I though let me try India.

Was there a stage, while you were here, where you thought this will is not going to work?


food forum a pan after a while. But I hold the pan as a chef and a calculator as businessman. I do marketing for my company too. So, when I come here I also take care of the marketing side. So, when I am doing marketing, I don’t talk recipes, but marketing concepts. We have to adapt to each tasks with passion.

What are some of the major disadvantages that you faced in India?

There was stage when all my partners said that. But I never gave hope. Because I was not trained to give up – and that could be a bad thing too. Actually, that’s when I decided to be hands-on. And putting on the chef’s coat helped me cross the barrier. I knew I had to find a way, and if I don’t find the way, well, then that means there’s somebody better than me who can do it and that would be the only the time I would pull out.

But do you think you have an advantage or a disadvantage over a trained chef.

There was stage when all my partners said that. But I never gave hope. Because I was not trained to give up – and that could be a bad thing too. Actually, that’s when I decided to be hands-on. And putting on the chef’s coat helped me cross the barrier. I knew I had to find a way

Yes. You know, how you say that they’ve Indianized the spaghetti with meat sauce. The reason is because they don’t have this type of relationship. They don’t the type of training that I give. I mean, we have huge manuals where the recipe is given step by step, streamlined to perfection. Most chefs don’t have that – the skills sets to built a step-by-step process. I am fortunate to have them because of my past experiences. Most senior chefs don’t want to tell you what are the ingredients they’re putting in are, so the poor chef has to run around them trying to see what they’re doing. With me, they don’t have to do that. Initially, they had a hard time believing that I was actually giving them exact recipes. I train them with the true ingredients that I believe are the best and the system and how to do it. They see because they see me do it and it’s real, that it actually works. And they don’t have to run around me to see what extra spices I am putting. We’re in this role for a limited amount of time and we share the best in the most that we can. I see my love for cooking not as work; it’s art, a tradition, because we were raised in it. Many chefs do it for monetary reason. I mean I do it too but for me it’s pure passion. Some chefs have that passion, but if we go around very few of them really do it because they like it, they do it because it was put in front of them. I don’t think some of them as executive chefs; don’t even hold Tx hospitality

Well, first of all I have to change the terminology, instead of disadvantages and problems, I call them challenges. The first was, understanding the culture and not resisting it. I guess I was very fortunate to understand this through my upbringing and my professional life – that you need to face challenges, but facing doesn’t mean to go to war with them either. Facing means, first understanding it and that it is never-ending. So, basically every time I come, I try to understand just a bit more. It’s called never-ending improvement. But it’s that challenge that keeps me passionate. The challenge is that I can influence one individual at a time. I love that. It’s got nothing to do with India. I do it with everywhere. I am passionate about trying to convey my love for food, business, marketing, India, family...

But how did they receive the food you’re presented in Indian?

It wasn’t easy because they had pre-conceived ideas. They only knew Diva and La Piazza and they personified it as the best Italian food. So everything I did was compared to it. But how am I going to convince you that they are Indianized – I am not. But with time and patience you’ll understand. There’s no other way to do it. It’s like telling the history of my promotions. Instead of just saying this is the right way to do it; I come with a promotion that has history, tradition, and background. I try to connect with some reality of life. I research the recipe, how it started, so I influence you into believing that my recipes are authentic. There is no other way to do it because you’ve eaten there so many times. You know, 4-5 years ago, I heard somebody say they thought pizza was invented in the US because of Pizza Hut. I don’t blame him. It wasn’t his fault if the first pizza that were made here, were by Pizza Hut. But bringing a bit of history and culture will help them believe that my way is an authentic. It doesn’t mean that’s the only way, because in Italy there’s a thousand different ways of making pizza, it doesn’t mean they’re not authentic, but Pizza Hut is not authentic. But I’m not here to talk that. My challenge is with everything you have been exposed to. Like example, this promotion I’m doing. We offered it to a couple of guests, but with no history or background. They did n’t quite like it. The second time round the waiter explained and it changed their perception. But I think all foreign entrepreneurs face this challenge.

50 may 2012

So, do you think the spectrum of taste has changed in people in India?

Yes, I know it’s not because of me; it’s because of their travels. It’s because India is opening up to the world, its evolution. I think I am here at the right place, at the right time. And I’m contributing to the change. It’s part of globalization. Naturally, our menu here, I consider it a globalized menu, where I try to keep the authenticity of every region because there’s French in my menu, Italian, a bit of Greek, Mediterranean, and a lot of Indian. And our success depends on keeping 100 plus items all in harmony and authentic at the same time. So, I go back to my past, my business, and my training. I know how to break down a process. But the first time I cooked, it was a disaster in my own restaurant. This is about 20 years ago. It was costing a fortune; in North America chefs are very expensive. So I got a crash course from my chef. I thought I’ll pick up from the chef; but I had never cooked. I was in front, you know, talking to people, sitting them down. The chef asked me if I was sure. So, he gave me a crash course, and what a disaster. Ours was a high-end Italian restaurant and I was in-charge of the whole kitchen. It took four hours for some of my guest to eat. But they stayed. I think some of them felt sorry for me. Under stress you always hold on to what you know best, so I looked at my menu and decided we would change it according to what I think I can do. But I could do nothing so I took every recipe and I broke it down into a system and build the process to it and timed it. So, the 140 items are based on a process without jeopardizing any authenticity. It’s about understanding how to combine foods at a certain points in time how the system works. In Montreal, there are days we serve 1,000 people and they have to be served in 20 minutes. They’re six people in the kitchen, plus the dishwasher, and maybe a prep. Between six and seven that’s it, we can’t get more than that into the kitchen anyways. That’s just the way it is.

How do you come out with a new concept like this pizza promotion?

First of all I don’t come up with a concept just to say ‘Let’s do a pizza promotion’. You don’t really need another pizza promotion. It’s very challenging because everybody has pizza. What am I going to say more than anybody else, right? Every dish that I create has a history and has culture to it. That’s the way I like to do it. So, the pizza promotion is part of my culture. I know where it came from; I know how it started. I like to share my culture. I do research. For example, where was pizza created? It was not invented in Italy. Italians took it from North Africa in the 1500 and 1700! It was part of flat bread, fried flat bread, which traveled all the way to North Africa. The middle-eastern have their flat breads too. But when this flat fried bread ended up in

Italy, Italian being Italians, they had to perfect according to them. So, they put yeast in it. Now all of a sudden from a flat bread it started rising. They loved this fried dough – they can put sugar on it, it became sweet, they can put salt and it became salt. So they thought, why not lot of vegetables? Then there was tomato that came from the Orient, so they made the tomato sauce. They thought why not make it in the stove? Then evolution brought ovens into homes, and somebody decided that from the pan, why not only finish it in the oven. It was this evolutionary thinking that made Pizza Hut possible. It was an Italian who went to New York and wanted to innovate in his business to do pan pizza, but couldn’t do all the steps so he eliminated a step and commercialized it. I don’t eliminate steps. I streamline a process, but it doesn’t affect the authenticity. Our dough is a 100% semolina flower from Italy. Our tomatoes we get from Italy because the tomato here is too sour. I ensure that the basics are authentic, from the dough to the olive oil, to the tomatoes; I even put bottled water in the dough, in order not to change it. We create the dough and then when you place your order, we open it like a pizza, we’ll fry it first in pan – the traditional old way. We then put it in a hot pan and finish it off in the oven –the real authentic pizza pan.

But do you keep dishes from other countries authentic? Well, because I am very fortunate. First of all, my wife is Greek, so is my partner. And Montreal, it’s a melting pot. You can eat authentic Indian, Portuguese, African, Greek, and Italian! All the regions of China were presented. So we are fortunate. But we do a lot of research. I don’t take anything for granted. Remember, I’m not a trained chef; I trained myself be to a chef. I don’t think most trained chefs go through such research, because they assume they know it all. Why am I different? I think at every single step. It’s my beliefs and my experience put together that make that difference.

Is being an Italian, one of the reasons you are into food so much?

I believe that that is one major reason. You know, if you travel through Italy, even the royal family, one cooks. Sophia Loren, the actress; she goes to hotels and wants her own kitchen so she can cook! I mean we are pretty fanatic about it and it’s really in the upbringing. It’s ridiculous. It doesn’t matter which class you are from. In elementary schools in Italy, we are actually serve three-course meals to our children – 7-years-old kids from four kitchens, about 300-500 students! If you take a basket of vegetables to a 6-7-yearsold Italian child, he will be able to identify each vegetable perfectly. It’s embedded in us. n

Photographs: Hemant Rawat

Tx hospitality

51 may 2012

I hold the pan as a chef and a calculator as businessman. I do marketing for my company too. So, when I come here I also take care of the marketing side. So, when I am doing marketing, I don’t talk recipes, but marketing concepts. We have to adapt to each tasks with passion

world hotels

Yarra Valley

Tx hospitality

52 may 2012

a australia

WinE & DinE


Golden beaches, cascading waterfalls, camping trips on extensive plains... a australia offers this and much more. however, one of the best ways to ‘savour’ this kangaroo-land is to indulge in the culinary delights to be found tucked in the various beautiful valleys that the country beholds. presenting a sneakpeek at some of the best valleys and wineries of a australia and the gourmet destinations they behold! †Yarra Valley -

Eleonore’s Restaurant

Situated an hour’s drive away from Melbourne, The Yarra Valley is home to 40 wineries, ranging from small, family-owned operations to sprawling big-name estates. They grow some of australia’s finest pinot noir and sparkling wine here, along with a huge range of other cool-climate wines. To enjoy the experience, follow one of the many self-drive wine trails; go for a hot air balloon ride; or indulge in the culinary delights that form this valley’s highlight. The region is known for its delectable produce - including freshwater salmon, trout and caviar, ice creams, hazelnuts and chestnuts, organically grown fruit, berries and vegetables and handmade cheese, pastas and preserves. later on, enjoy some Devonshire tea; shop for art and antique treasures; take a ride on australia’s oldest steam train or go for a traipse into the wilderness. In the heart of the Yarra Valley lies the iconic Chateau Yering. Born in 1850, the hotel was ‘reborn’ in 1997 as a gracious five star luxury property with period fittings throughout, offering luxury accommodation, service and dining. The original house remains largely intact - although some alterations have occurred over the years to individual rooms. The library, Chinese room and lounge are in their 1854 form with original fittings, Australian Cedar window, jambs and doors, substantially as they were the earlier days. ‘eleonore’s restaurant’ is partly the original Dining room, which was connected to the main house by a passageway. This was later extended and widened into what is now the Blue Drawing

room. eleonore’s restaurant is furnished with comfortable high back chairs, ornate plaster cornices and ceiling roses decorated with gold leaf and antique brass light fittings. This room overlooks one of the finest rural vistas in Victoria and offers contemporary cuisine. The wine list features a comprehensive selection of Yarra Valley wines. The cellar pre-dates the house having been constructed in the 1840s and then extended in the 1850s. Chef Mathew Macartney of eleonore’s restaurant describes their motto saying “Our goal is to cook within the seasons and finding inspiration through sense of place and working with the abundance of produce around us.” †Hunter Valley –

Esca Bimbadgen Restaurant

Spring in the Hunter Valley is when the wineries and rolling hills are the backdrop for outdoor opera, jazz, blues and sculpture. September and October are especially great to visit Hunter Valley to see spring flowers in riot at the ‘Festival of Flowers’. Relax with a gourmet picnic ham-

Voted in the top ten in the World for food in Conde naste n traV ra eler’s raV Gold list, the ‘Cape lodGe restaurant’ at MarGaret riV i er reGion iV is beinG desCribed as one of australia’s a finest neW Generation dininG establishMents. the Menu ChanGes daily based on fresh loCal produCe and the Wine list features a Wide seleCtion of preMiuM MarGaret riV i er and baCk iV VintaGe Wines Carefully Cellared in the teMperature Controlled Wine Cellar.

world hotels

reCipient of one Wine Glass in the GourMet traV ra eler raV Wine 2011 Wine list of the y year aW aWards, and a pioneer of fine dininG in the hunter Valley, esCa exeMplifies the unique nature of a Winery restaurant, rather than siMply a restaurant in a Winery

per at Bimbadgen Blues. See world-renowned tenors perform at Opera in the Vineyards. Savor saxophone riffs and fine wine at Jazz in the Vines. Follow an art trail at Sculpture in the Vineyards or wind through exuberant blooms at the Festival of the Flowers. For a truly transporting performance, don’t miss Opera in the Vineyards, held each October on the green lawn of Wyndham estate. enjoy regional gourmet delights at the food and wine fair, then settle in to enjoy the magical evening performance from your picnic rug or seat in the marquee. Both art and wine lovers will adore Sculpture in the Vineyards, a free outdoor exhibition held across five boutique wineries on the Wollombi Valley Wine Trail. From October until January, you can meander through the scenic Wollombi Valley to see more than 60 sculptures and sample local wine at the cellar doors. In these unique outdoor galleries, works by local and international artists sit amongst poplar trees, next to sandstone cottages and alongside tranquil brooks. Create your own Hunter Valley adventure on a bush walk, tandem skydive or hot air balloon trip over the vineyards. esca Bimbadgen is situated high on a hill in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country. Dedicated to the art of food & wine matching, esca’s modern australian cuisine, fresh local and homegrown produce and spectacular views make for a truly memorable dining experience. esca’s contemporary restaurant design features large glass windows and an open balcony allowing guests stunning wine country views over the Bimbadgen vineyards to the Brokenback ranges. esca Bimbadgen is a regional restaurant that uses produce sourced locally or grown on the Estate including lemons, figs and fresh herbs. A feature of the menu are the esca Tasting Plates, like a “mini-degustation”, where guests can enjoy three ‘tastes’ from the menu each matched with a Bimbadgen estate wine. The wine list offers not only wines from Bimbadgen, but a selection of wines from other Hunter Valley producers and classic wines from regional areas throughout australia and the world. esca also has a private dining room for serious wine and food tastings and occasions. recipient of one Wine Glass in the Gourmet Traveler Wine 2011 Wine list of the Year Awards, and a pioneer of fine dining in the Hunter Valley, Esca exemplifies the unique nature of a winery restaurant, rather than simply a restaurant in a winery. †Margaret River Valley Region -

Cape Lodge Restaurant

Tucked in Australia’s sunny southwest corner and fringed by tall forests and crashing surf, this is a place where great wine, fine food and breathtaking scenery meld into one. Situated at a 3½ hour drive south from Perth, the Margaret river region produces less than 1% of australia’s total wine, but more than 15% of its premium wine. Evans & Tate, Fermoy Estate, Flinders Bay Wines

and Flying Fish Cove are just some of the worldclass wineries amongst the more than 60 here for you to explore. Be sure you try the cabernet for which this area is renowned. apart from that, head to one of the many gourmet restaurants among the vines. Browse through the many art and craft galleries. This foodie haven is also a natural paradise of underground caves, pristine white beaches, towering karri forests, bush tracks and walking trails. Join the locals on the worldclass waves of Surfers Point or canoe or kayak along the Margaret river. Indulge in abseiling, rock climbing, whale watching and Great River and ocean fishing to fuel your spirit of adventure. The ‘Cape lodge Margaret river restaurant’ sits over the main lake and features wide overwater alfresco decking, comfortable guest lounge and private dining room. Voted in the Top Ten in the World for Food in Conde Naste Traveler’s Gold list, the restaurant is being described as one of Australia’s finest new generation dining establishments. The menu changes daily based on fresh local produce and the wine list features a wide selection of premium Margaret river and back vintage wines carefully cellared in the temperature controlled wine cellar. executive Chef Tony Howell places an emphasis on using only the freshest local produce and changes the menu daily. The Cape lodge Gourmet retreat and Cooking Classes are ideal for lovers of great food and wine experiences. Described as one of Australia’s “finest new generation gourmet establishments”, the restaurant offers a range of cooking classes, master classes and gourmet events throughout year. apart from that, an array of tours such as The Margaret river Discovery Tour, Wine & Nature Based Tours, Best of the Best Wine Tour, Margaret river Vintage Wine Tours and so on, make for an even more holistic and enjoyable experience. †Barossa Valley –

appellation Restaurant

South australia’s Barossa Valley is a world-class wine region. Just over an hour’s drive from adelaide, this picturesque region was settled in 1842 by european immigrants and still retains its charming old-world character with its gracious heritage towns, century-old cellars and some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vineyards. With 150

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wineries and more than 70 cellar doors, there is a lot to see, sip and taste in the Barossa Valley. Follow a food and wine trail between boutique producers or take a scenic drive through the rolling countryside. There’s a thriving arts scene and spas for relaxation. Add abundant seasonal produce, artisan food producers and awardwinning restaurants to that and you can see why the Barossa is a gourmand’s dream destination. Follow the Barossa’s carefully designed food and wine trails. Taste delectable breads, smoked meats and other regional produce on the Butcher, Baker and Winemaker Trail. Or collect your Esky of hand-made cheeses and begin matching at wineries along the Barossa Cheese and Wine Trail. Wind down the palm-lined Seppeltsfield Road past 11 cellar doors and local food and wine producers. If you prefer to stroll, the Para Road Wine path takes in four acclaimed cellar doors along the river in historic Tanunda. Play golf between the gum-trees on one of the Barossa’s championship courses or stroll through the fragrant lavender farm. Like fine wine, Barossa just gets better with time! Food, wine, luxury accommodation and a genuine welcome await you at The Louise Barossa Valley. Co-located restaurant ‘Appellation’ is highly regarded as one of Australia’s finest dining destinations; where fresh, local ingredients, informed service and an award-winning exten-

sive collection of wines ensure a memorable dining experience. Combined with one of the world’s greatest vineyard regions, the dining experience at Appellation is a compelling reason to visit here. Executive Chef Mark McNamara, has joined the owners Jim and Helen Carreker to develop the food and wine component of The Louise into an Australian beacon for local, interstate and international travelers. Wine is integral to the food experience at Appellation and thus they ensure that their food is always wine friendly. Appellation has recognized the growing need to cater for specific food allergies by developing menus specifically tailored to individual requirements. Many restaurants require all diners at a table to opt for either a degustation menu or a la carte menu. Appellation’s approach is to combine the possibility of degustation and a la carte dining for each table. Each menu offers the opportunity to enjoy the finest of seasonal produce from their friends, neighbors, region and South Australia. With a passion for real, fresh local ingredients, Mark and his team are guided by the rhythms of the seasons… harvesting from their kitchen garden, baking their own breads, butchering and curing their own meats… and see wine and food as the most natural of partners. n n

Text: Reshma S. Kulkarni Photographs: Tourism Australia

Tx hospitality

55 may 2012

‘Eleonore’s Restaurant’ is partly the original Dining Room, which was connected to the main house by a passageway. This was later extended and widened into what is now the Blue Drawing Room. Eleonore’s Restaurant is furnished with comfortable high back chairs, ornate plaster cornices and ceiling roses decorated with gold leaf and antique brass light fittings.


Kitchen Tx hospitality

56 may 2012

Trends TravelX Hospitality talks to Marco Pesce, Country Head, Electrolux, and Vishal Raman, Senior National Business Development Manager, Electrolux, kitchens on a large scale and what works.


s a brand that has had a strong international background working with some of the world’s leading property developers, architects and kitchen specialists. Electrolux offers a broad portfolio for hotels and serviced apartments. Today, some of the finest imported modular kitchens in India come from Italy and other European countries and include brands such as Del Tongo, Snaidero, Veneta Cucina, Valcucine, and Boffi. As Vishal Raman, Senior National Business Development Manager, Electrolux, explains, “We have cocreated many kitchen/appliance solutions with our colleagues in Italy and Germany, who been working closely with kitchen manufacturers in those markets for decades.

Things like built-in fridges need to be tropicalized so they can stand the high heat of Indian summers. – Vishal Raman


With Asia experiencing a remarkable boom in hotels and serviced apartments, cities like Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and now India Is seeing a shift in the perception of what a kitchen is. “Throughout Asia, kitchens are emerging from their traditional boxes to become places for interaction and there are influences, both local and global, that are driving this transformation. For example, traditionally only women and their helpers worked in the kitchen. Today, new spaces are being built with family-friendly open plan designs,” adds Raman. On a larger front, the stove has transformed into a multi-variable ‘hob’. “The most common

The most common hobs you’ll find today are gas, ceramic and induction. The best hob depends on the kind of cooking you do. - Marco Pesce

hobs you’ll find today are gas, ceramic and induction. The best hob depends on the kind of cooking you do,” explains Marco Pesce, Country Head, Electrolux. “Gas hobs are best suited for wok cooking and chefs who seek quicker, more precise changes in heat. Heat is also spread more evenly throughout the cooking implement than on electric hobs. Electric ceramic hobs are easy to clean and heat up gradually. It’s also better for keeping a consistent heat so dishes like sauces and delicate foods like fish are better cooked with ceramic hobs. Induction hobs may cost more and require special cookware, but are the most energy efficient of the three. Like ceramic hobs, its strength is in maintaining a consistent heat while cooking and it’s also easy to clean. Another advantage of the induction hob is how safe it is to use as it employs an electric field for heating, so little fingers won’t get burned if they accidentally touch the hob,” he adds. And with the hobs come the hoots. These are no longer huge, metal monstrosities that made hearing difficult, but elegant and efficient. Pesce explains further, “Cooking hoods use either extraction and/or re-circulation to clear the kitchen of cooking smells, odors and particles. Extraction hoods remove smells to the outside via ducts, while re-circulation hoods use filters to ‘scrub’ the air before releasing it back to the kitchen. It’s not the size of the hood that matters when deciding if it’ll do the job in clearing the

air, but its extraction rate relative to the size of your kitchen. In order to efficiently remove odors and particles from the kitchen, the hood needs to be able to move ten times the volume of air in the kitchen in one hour. The type of cooking you do, also matters. Wok cooking for example uses powerful gas burners and may require more powerful extraction.” But with space a issue how much thought does one really need to give, especially when you’re talking about the most important part - the cooking? “You don’t want to be buying a hob that’s too large or too small for your kitchen. Hobs are typically 60cm wide with four burners, which allow more working space for large meals,” says Pesce. But are all imported appliances suitable for India? It really does depend on the brand and location. “Things like built-in fridges need to be tropicalized so they can stand the high heat of Indian summers. Those which are only semi-tropicalized, can’t stand up to intense heat and can cause moisture to pool and swell the expensive cabinetry of the custom modular kitchen. Or certain cooking styles call for round-bottom pans, so certain built-in gas hobs have with open trivets and safety flame devices. Even the hoods need a power boost to deal with the hot oil and aromatic masalas, something normal European strength hoods can struggle with,” says Raman.

Tx hospitality

59 may 2012

We want to continue working closely with our partners and friends in the fields of design, architecture, modular kitchens and construction to share trends and help customers add real value to their projects with our Electrolux products, service and international experience and connections


Value of Restaurant

Management Software With the restaurant business ‘hotting up’ and customers having more ‘eating out’ options, Manoj K Mohanty, Vice President Sales, South and Central Asia IDS NEXT, talks about why the Indian restaurant industry, which is slated to grow nearly four-fold to around Rs. 28,000 crore by 2015, should pay more attention to technology. Tx hospitality

60 may 2012

Are You Leveraging a Restaurant Management Software Yet?

Restaurant management software plays a key role in accounts and billing. Small hotels and restaurants have evolved from bookkeeping methods of billing to sophisticated POS systems and accounts receivable modules that automate data entry and enable data storage directly in the Front Office Management application. In addition, modules like F&B costing make it easier for hoteliers to get in-depth visibility into profits. Restaurant management software also plays a central role in operations, from entering Benefits of Restaurant orders, billing and generating reports Management Software for business forecasting. Another œœ Streamlined operations area where software can play a role through materials manis tracking of restaurant inventory agement, quality managethrough a centralized method. ment, food and beverage Restaurant management softmanagement, point-ofware also comes with loyalty and sale (POS) and accounts rewards management modules. receivables These help restaurant staff to stay œœ Improved efficiency and updated on offers at the restaurant productivity across differand at branches in other geograent departments phies. Tracking services like home œœ Access to consolidated delivery can also be processed through reports to stay ahead of software. Touch screens have also simcompetition plified the usage of restaurant software to easy to use and efficient tools. The presence of technology in a restaurant is not only in back-office operations but in customer facing areas too. Solutions like tablets, games that engage guests; applications that facilitate feedback or quick access to social media sites are some of them. A growing number of restaurants are using tablets to digitally display their menu and allow customers to order using this tool.


Fisherman’s Wharf, Bangalore


he restaurant business is ‘hotting up’ and customers have a plethora of options when it comes to ‘eating out’. Foodies are warming up to a variety of restaurants, from fine dining to fast food chains and quick service restaurants. As dining out becomes common, the Indian restaurant industry is slated to grow nearly four-fold to around Rs. 28,000 crore by 2015. The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) says the organised restaurant sector currently enjoys 16% market share in the estimated Rs 43,000-crore restaurant industry and is likely to increase to 45% by 2015. India has become a popular destination for international restaurant chains like California Pizza Kitchen, Krispy Kreme and PF Changs’, and hoteliers in the country are diversifying to cater to segments with their established homebred brands. As the restaurant space fills up, one way to attract and retain guests is to deliver high quality, personalized service that is powered by flexible, versatile restaurant management software. These can automate a host of functions, enhance efficiency, plug revenue leakage and provide greater visibility into restaurant income, inventory, customer feedback and more. The biggest advantage of a restaurant management software however is that it frees up staff time to focus and provide personalized guest experience.

How to Identify a Good Restaurant Management System

Technology is indispensable as it coordinates the functioning of multiple departments in a restaurant, such as the front desk, reservations, and inventory management. For a restaurant, which is part of a hotel, restaurant management software also tracks room inventory and room service. In a restaurant chain, software offers a centralized information system that allows management to track changes and make strategically business decisions. Make sure that you choose restaurant management software that is quickly deployable, low on maintenance, user friendly and intuitive to use for non technical staff and provides management with insightful analytics and business intelligence to optimize your operations. Manoj K Mohanty, Vice President Sales, South and Central Asia IDS NEXT, a hotelier with a Master’s degree in Computer Science, joined IDS in 2004 and today handles India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and CIS countries.

Tx hospitality

61 may 2012

The presence of technology in a restaurant is not only in back-office operations but in customer facing areas too. Solutions like tablets, games that engage guests; applications that facilitate feedback or quick access to social media sites are some of them



A WINE LIST Both the service providers from the hospitality industry and the consumers, are well travelled today and are in touch with international trends. Several international hotel and restaurant chains now exist in Inda and are creating new benachmarks in the country.

Tx hospitality

62 may 2012


he market is moving now towards specialization in both the food and beverage segment. Various trends that are gaining momentum include: Molecular gastronomy and cocktails, organic and best quality F&B, innovation, variety, smaller portion size but trendy presentation, craft beer and fine wines, single malts, and vodka and tequila. Among the new domestic wine brands that are widely visible are Revielo and Fratelli, which have come with some good varieties. Compared to international brands, our wine production and wine drinking culture is still at a nascent stage. It is difficult to draw parity with top wine producing regions that have been making wines for 100s of years. But some domestic wine players are working well on making top quality wines that will find International consumers. We have to work on our quality, consistency and marketability to compete in the open market. Besides Aspri, a number of international brands have now entered the market. To mention a few: Raventos I Blanc from Penedes, Spain, Yering Station from Yarra Valley, Australia, Feudi di San Gregorio and Argiolas from Campania and Sadinia regions of Italy respectively, and Domaines Baron de Rothschild Lafite wines from France, Chile and Argentina. International wine brands that are well visible across multiple markets in India include Two Oceans, South Africa; Casa Vinicola Zonin, Italy; Maison Albert Bichot and Gerard Bertrand from France; Los Vascos, Chile; Jacobs Creek, Hardys, and Yellow Tail from Australia. Domestic brands include Sula, Grovers and Revielo. India is one of the fastest growing markets for the luxury brands in the world. This confirms the high disposal income with sizeable population. The wine producers are following this trend. Moreover, per capita consumption of wine is believed to be only 45ml, which means consumption can only grow from here on. Today, both international and well-traveled domestic clients

visit hotels and restaurants across the country so a wide variety in food and beverage offered is a good hallmark of the overall quality of service provided by the unit. But I believe a genuinely extensive list should cover at least the following three key aspects: Variety, diversity and good value. Any restaurant, should offer a variety of wines covering varies styles, tastes and nature, should offer diversity of wines covering key wine regions, and should offer good value for money. Also, the list needs to cover varied price points to cater to larger segment of consumers. A good selection of wine by glass list is a very strong element of a genuinely extensive list. Having international brands on the list provides this required quality, variety, diversity and varied value in any list. Today the international wine market in India is believed to be around 2,00,000 cases of 9 ltrs. Which is miniscule as compared to Top 10 wine consuming countries. And although wine is new to Indian culture, it is catching us fast with the upper, upper middle and middle-income segment. I travel across the country to conduct wine sessions, tasting and wine dinners. The last session I did was with a group of YPOs from Punjab Chapter in Chandigarh and it was a pleasant surprise to meet with several YPO members who are well traveled and well exposed to fine wines. Similarly the interest and understanding of the premium and Ultra premium Spirits is growing well. Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO, Core Brands, has over 18 years of experience in the F&B industry. He was among first five Indians to be facilitated as the “Commanderie du Bontemps” at “Fête de la Fleur” 2007 (Château Smith Haut Lafitte), organized by the most famous wine fraternity in Bordeaux.

Tx hospitality

63 may 2012

Today the international wine market in India is believed to be around 2,00,000 cases of 9 ltrs. Which is miniscule as compared to Top 10 wine consuming countries. And although wine is new to Indian culture, it is catching us fast with the upper, upper middle and middle income segment



the Wave Heading one on India’s biggest online travel information platform, Varun Chadha, COO, JourneyMart.com.com speaks to TX Hospitality about the product and how changes in the industry has affect it.

C “In the midst of these evolving trends, online travel platforms primarily add value via an accurate depth of unbiased information and facilitating bookings, offering consumers the choice of purchasing products from various suppliers, so they may search and secure the best deal both online and offline.”

onceived as a ‘Market Place for Travel’ and trading since 2001, JourneyMart.com is one of India’s foremost online travel providers and has been evolving with the dynamism and innovation, which characterizes the travel industry and consumer mindset. “Our positioning and proposition is led by consumer needs and changing industry trends. Specifically, we saw there to be a vacuum in the online discovery and planning stages of travel,” explains Varun Chadha, COO, JourneyMart.com. “While most focus on transaction, our endeavour is to provide invaluable travel related information and holiday ideas, which we do so in the form of over a 1,000 travel guides to destinations in India and around the world, travel features and articles, travel news which is an industry first and an innovative holiday search, ‘Destination Explorer’ which seamlessly integrates technology with travel expertise and depths of data to recommend holidays based on various preferences including a users ‘Reason to Travel’, ‘Season to Travel’, Travel Distance and Duration. A user can further filter through destinations worldwide by opting for interests such as sightseeing, shopping, activities and dining.” Further, being a ‘Marketplace for Travel’ the service also offers a choice of travel products to the consumer, including a Meta Search technology for online flights and hotels. “We offer a repertoire of holiday products through our alliances with various leading travel service providers such as Cox and Kings, Thomas Cook, Trip Setters, Aman Travels, Caper Travel, Leisure Hotels, Tx hospitality

64 may 2012



When and where was your last holiday? The family got together spent a couple of days each in Prague and Budapest and then caught a Royal Caribbean Cruise from Rome. We sailed the Eastern Mediterranean and visited Turkey, Greece and Italy.


I am a big foodie so don’t necessarily pick favourites. I have a knack of finding what I want on most menus. Having said that, Chinese seems to be my favourite these days.

What is your favourite holiday destination and why? My favourite holiday destination is anywhere on a cruise ship.You get to visit exotic destinations, whilst travelling in ultimate luxury at sea, with everything catered to from the moment you step on the ship, which in themselves are destinations.


Which destination have you still not explored but would like to and why? I would definitely like to see more of our country to begin with, as there are various regions I have yet to visit. A visit to and cruise from South America to Antarctica would also be high on the priority list.


What is your favourite restaurant and cuisine in India and abroad?

Kairali, Make Plans Holidays, Country Inn, Ranbanka Palace Hotel, U&I Holidays, 36chhutti.com and Ark Travels, to name a few,” adds Chadha. So, how much of the changes the hospitality industry has undergone effect a site such as this? “The hospitality industry, responding to consumer needs, is increasingly becoming more focused in its offering, with more conceptual and boutique properties springing up across the country and internationally,” Chadha shares. “The same trend applied to agents and operators, focusing on various niche holiday ideas and specific destinations. Further as the internet brings greater transparency in service offerings, consumer now have multiple resources to review and source products, with a greater amount of direct selling from end providers to consumers, specifically online. In the midst of these evolving trends, online travel platforms primarily add value via an accurate depth of unbiased information and facilitating bookings, offering consumers the choice of purchasing products from various suppliers, so they may search and secure the best deal both online and offline.” With a site that is visited by so many and experiences so much, does hospitality industry in India have potential when compared to other Asia-Pacific countries? Chadha thinks so, adding


Which airlines do you like to travel in best and why? Jet Airways for their on time and professional service.


Which hotels do you like staying at best and why in India and abroad? ITC hotels in India for their warmth, hospitality and service.


What gadgets can you not do without when travelling and why? My Blackberry helps when I am travelling on business and short trips around the country but when I am holidaying aboard I leave behind all gadgets.


Which flight/hotel facilities do you like best when travelling and why? Already answered.

that there is demand but the industry needs to scale up on all fronts. “I recently read a report where we had the one of the poorest ratio of people to hotel rooms amongst our contemporaries. With an emerging middle class and India attracting more visitors by the year, there is huge potential and all stake holders will play an important role in shaping this industry,” he says. “I see there to be a lot more boutique hotels coming up in the next few years which offer comfort and personalised service. There is also huge demand and need to focus on the budget traveller, hence see some headway being made here. The big chains have already set base and there are a few waiting in the wings to check in.” But with such a large and active space, which technically with no walls to contain it, how can the quality of properties listed be monitored. Yet, Chadha explains it’s possible by liasing with a reputed meta-search engine, which searches over 150 websites, principals and intermediary online platforms, to provide users the best deals available, and forward information to relevant partners to materialise. And as one sees an emerging middle class and a better infrastructure supporting the online medium, one also sees a definite rise in the number of hotel bookings done online.

Tx hospitality

65 may 2012

“With an emerging middle class and India attracting more visitors by the year, there is huge potential and all stake holders will play an important role in shaping this industry. I see there to be a lot more boutique hotels coming up in the next few years which offer comfort and personalized service.”




Like staying in hotels? Here are a few things that can add that bit of style and colors to your personal space.

Angry Birds Speakers and Headphones by GEAR4


Timeless Teak Collection by LoomCrafts

This beautiful range comprise of armchairs, seats, recliners, sofas, dining sets, coffee tables, sun-loungers along with bar tables and stools, which will transform the beauty of your outdoor area. Available at: All major cities of India Contact: Loom Crafts Furniture (India) Pvt. Ltd., www.loomcrafts. com, Tel: +91 120 4561647


Wooden Framed Mirrors by Blackberry Overseas

The versatility of the mirror makes it a favorite tool of interior designers. Framed or unframed, mirrors can enhance any dĂŠcor, bringing style and shimmering grace Cost: `50,000 onwards. Available at: BlackBerry Overseas Pvt. Ltd., G-11, North Square Mall, Netaji Subhash Place, Pitam Pura, New Delhi110034, Tel: 011-47050973

Tx hospitality

66 may 2012

Angry Birds has become the cultural phenomenon of the decade, accounting for more than 200 million minute of gaming every day. Angry Birds has topped 350 million downloads with its appeal reaching avid followers including Conan O’Brien, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Mad Men actor Jon Hamm. Cost: Angry Bird Shrub Finch - Red Bird Speaker, with 3.5 mm Line-in jack and Power Output of 30 Watts, and weighing 1400 grams, is Rs. 6,140. Angry Bird Ballistic Jackdow - Black Bird Docking Station, with input options for iPod, iPhone, iPad and 3.5 mm Line-in jack with Power Output of 30 Watts, and weighing 1400 grams, is Rs. 7,690. Angry Bird Helmet Pig - Green Bird Docking Station, with input options for iPod, iPhone and a Power Output of 30 Watts, and weighing 1400 grams, is Rs. 7,690. Tweeter Headphones, with bass slinging 9 mm drivers along with 3.5 mm gold plated input jack, are Rs. 1,190. Available at: In Stores in your city or online at www.intersection.in


Multi-utility Designer Sideboards by IDUS

This marvelous collection boasts of elegance and style that has not been seen in any design amongst residential and commercial furniture segment before. All the designs items in this new collection are highly utilitarian and engaging, both in dimensions and style. Cost: `40,000 onwards Available at: IDUS, 10/57, Industrial Area, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi-110015, Tel: 01145888000


New Range of Bed Linen by Maspar

The collection is made from the finest fabrics and trims, using only the best materials to create the most eye catching and exquisite product. It includes everything to suit the needs of everyone - comfort, sophistication, style, grandeur and luxury. So, relish rhythmic stripes, grid chenille and cultured prints in its new collection. Cost: `450-7495 and is made of 100% cotton. Available at: All exclusive stores of Maspar in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ludhiana and Pune.


“Swing Chairs” from Philippines by World Bazaar

This beautifully crafted “Swing Chair” is created from synthetic wicker; it can stand upto moisture and UV rays and also require very limited maintenance. If a piece gets dirty, it can be simply cleaned with water. All the cushions are provided with water repellent fabric, which is a boon not even against rain for outdoor use, but also against stains and spills in indoor use. The swing chair permits the maximum load weight of 120 KG. Cost: `27,000-55,000. Tx hospitality

67 may 2012


1 2 3

When and Where Was your lasT holiday?

Last summer; it was in Dunkirk, the English Channel, North of France. It was a work cum pleasure trip.

Which airlines do you like besT and Why?

KLM and Emirates... though they are expensive, they are worth it because of there services.

Which hoTel do you like besT and Why? in india and abroad?

In India, I like the Taj, because of a touch of the Indian tradition... right from the moment you enter the premises to your whole stay, from their security guards to their entire staff... it portrays Indian culture beautifully. Abroad, I like The Westin Taipei, Taiwan, ROC, as I found it to be the most modern lifestyle hotel so far.

A MArine M rine A Gladrags finalist (2010), Aaran Chaudhary a former marine made it to the 7th place in Mr international, nternational, was a contestant in Khatron ke Khiladi (Season 4), is set to make a mark in Bollywood but its his love for travel that’s taken him across the world. Tx hospitality

68 may 2012

4 5 6 7 8 9 10

WhaT do you do To relax during a Trip?

In the Airbus, I talk less, sip white wine and enjoy the delicacies on board, watch my favorite movies and rest.

WhaT gadgeTs can you noT do WiThouT When Traveling and Why?

My iPod is mandatory, with my favorite music on it. I also take my camera, as I love to click locations and the people around.

Which flighT/hoTel faciliTies do you like besT When Traveling and Why?

Emirates because of the vast variety of foods on board and the entertainment box too. They have something for everyone from all corners of the globe. The hotel has to be the Taj always because of the Indian spirit. It always feel like home.

WhaT is your favoriTe resTauranT and cuisine in india and abroad?

In India, Murthal ka Dhaba, Sonepat on the Chandigarh highway. My favorite food is parathas, makkhan and lassi. Abroad, I like the Maharaja in Capetown, South Africa. As for the cuisine, the priority is still paratha and lassi, but I like their Veg Cheese Lasagna too.

WhaT is your favoriTe holiday desTinaTion and Why?

Lakshwadeep, because I have always been into diving and water sports... And there you get the best waters and clubs to pursue all this...

Which desTinaTions have you sTill noT explored buT Would like To and Why?

I want to go to Nepal. I’ve heard a lot about the beautiful scenic location, amazing mountain peaks; I also want to hike to the lowest base camp of Mt Everest.

WhaT is The mosT exoTic locaTion you have been To?

Once as a marine officer, I was in Madagascar. Since then I’ve always wanted to get stranded on Madagascar Island with my lady. It’s all jungle, natural beauty, beautiful beaches and lots of mangoes... That’s my most exotic dream you can say... hahaha. n Text: Jayshree Mulherkar Tx hospitality

69 may 2012

Offers &


ayurVedic geTaWays

cool summers!

cOsT: `120150 per drink

Where: Kairali - The Ayurvedic Healing Village, Kerala Package: Deluxe Villa – 3N/4D, Double Occupancy Rs. 26,600, 7N/8D, Double Occupancy Rs. 62,200, 14N/15D, Double Occupancy Rs. 1,24,400, 21N/22D, Double Occupancy Rs. 1,86,600; Classic Villa – 3N/4D, Double Occupancy Rs. 31,100, 7N/8D, Double Occupancy Rs. 72,700, 14N/15D, Double Occupancy Rs. 1,45,400, 21N/22D, Double Occupancy Rs. 2,18,100; Royal Villa – 3N/4D, Double Occupancy Rs. 37,100, 7N/8D, Double Occupancy Rs. 86,700, 14N/15D, DouDou ble Occupancy Rs. 1,73,400, 21N/22D, Double Occupancy Rs. 2,60,100; MahaMaha raja Villa – 3N/4D, Double Occupancy Rs. 58,100, 7N/8D, Double Occupancy Rs. 1,35,700, 14N/15D, Double OccuOccu pancy Rs. 2,71,400, 21N/22D, Double Occupancy Rs. 4,07,100 inclusiOns: Welcome drink on arar rival, all meals (vegetarian only), two Syurvedic treatments per person daily with steam bath (except for P&R packpack age), complimentary yoga session daily morning, complimentary meditation session daily evening, daily personal life style & fitness evaluation, free use of swimming pool, library, gym & all indoor & outdoor facilities, complicompli mentary lecture on Ayurveda (once a week), complimentary lecture on yoga (once a week), complimentary lecture on Ayurvedic cooking (once a week ) Valid: Till September 30, 2012 32nd Milestone, one of the oldest brand names in entertainment, hospitality and good food, brings in a refresh refreshing way to beat the summer heat, by offering a variety of fun, delicious, yet healthy drinks guaranteed to energize you while quenching your thirst. These drinks will revitalize your senses and rehydrate your skin by restoring the moisture lost under the punishing rays of the sun, and are guaranteed to completely recharge your batteries. The drinks on offer include fresh combinations of juices, along with smoothies, fizzes, and slushes. Special Drinks Menu Includes: Nirvana (Green Apple, Cucumber and Celery Juice) acts as detox that cleanses and boosts your body; it relieves everyday stress maladies; Close Up (Tomato,

InternatIonal Honeymoon Getaway Where: The Strand Yangon, Myanmar By GHM Offer: 3D/2N Valid: Till 30 September 2012 inclusiOns: 2N/3D with daily breakfast, return airport transfers, butler service, one bottle of Champagne at arrival, one 90-minute Strand massage for two persons at The Spa, a session of lovely bathing ritual in the suite, two full-day sightseeing city tours, one lunch at a local restaurant on second day, snack and tea break on second day, ferry to/from Dhala and trishaw ride in Dhala, entrance fees for Kandawgyi Park, Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Mahabandoola Park, Kyauktagyi Pagoda, and bottled water and refreshing towels. cOsT: US$ 500-750 per night depending on room. Conditions apply. Carrot, Ginger and Apple Juice) gives you a glowing complexion and fresh breath; Thirst Quenchers (Orange, Ginger and Cucumber Juice) an extremely rehydrating drink, it improves your skin by restoring moisture and balances body temperatures; Kiss of Goodness (Pineapple, Apple and Watermelon Juice) revitalizes you, by regulating body salts and boosts immunity; and Cleopatra’s Favorite (Green Apple, Cucumber and Kiwi Juice) rejuvenates your body to give you a flawless complexion. Also on offer are Mango Passion, Banana Buzz, Sinfully Oreo, Mint O Fresh, Strawberry Fizz, and Lychee Blast Where: Mamma Mia, 32nd Milestone, 32nd Milestone, NH - 8, Gurgaon Time: 10.30 am till 10.45 pm

Hilton HHonors

2012 Spring Promotion Hilton HHonors, the loyalty program for Hilton Worldwide’s portfolio of 10 distinct hotel brands, has announced a new 2012 Spring Promotion. When booking by 6 April, guests can save up to 20 percent off a mini-break when staying by 10 June 2012 at any of the 240 participating hotels in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio in more than 170 destinations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “With winter behind us and springtime holiday season approaching, this is one of the best times to travel,” said Jeff Diskin, senior vice president, global customer marketing, Hilton Worldwide. “The HHonors Spring Promotion gives our guests and members across Europe, Middle East and Africa the perfect reason to get away, for less, and

The Ananda Wellness Experiences

to create memorable travel experiences with their friends and family.” To participate in the Hilton HHonors 2012 Spring Promotion and for full terms and conditions, visit Hilton. co.uk/bookearly or Hilton.com/weekends. Hotel stays must be booked by 6 April 2012. For more information on Hilton HHonors or to become a member, visit HHonors.com.

Special Dining Offer

Pink… the new obsession… the color of creativity and liberated thought; creativity that gives birth to a great new concept of innovative cuisine – The Pink Poppadom. Where: Pink Poppadom, Ista Bangalore Offer: Special dining offer 15% discount on Food and Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Valid: Till 30th September 2011. Come savor the mango in season. Try some unique signature dishes from the special menu like Kairi Chicken Tikka - raw mango tartness, glazed in clay oven and served with peppery mango spiced butter milk, Grilled Salmon – Spicy Polenta tian, Saffron Mango Beurre Blanc, and Mango Tart – chocolate dome, sesame mango emulsion, brandy flambéed Where: Pink Poppadom, Ista Bangalore Cost: Approx. Rs. 2,000 per person plus taxes. Valid: May 2012 for dinner only

These signature all-inclusive packages are programs, which are tailor made for individual health goals. Ananda’s wellness programs follow a holistic approach towards achieving the best results in a safe, nurturing atmosphere expertly guided by our team of expert Ayurvedic doctors, skilled therapists, nutritionists, yogis and spa cuisine chefs: Weight Management -14 nights, Ayurvedic Rejuvenation - 7 nights, Detox - 7 nights, Renew - 7 nights, Stress Management - 5 nights, Active - 5 nights l

Explore the Unexplored!

This summer don’t simply get-away but, also get-it-right. Take the offbeaten path, only to experience the unexpected. Set out to explore the unexplored, surely to be pleasantly surprised. Located in a lesser known village, tucked away from the maddening rush and crowd of hill stations, is a boutique luxury resort, the first of its kind in Uttrakhand. Enjoy the most comfortable settings to relax and rejuvenate within the property or explore the wonders of nature, culture, heritage and abundant flora, fauna of Dhanachuli. Where: Te Aroha, Dhanachuli, Uttrakhand Package: 2N/3D in a Deluxe Room for two persons. Inclusions: Breakfast, lunch and dinner Valid: Till 31st July, 2012 Poetry Retreat Package: Deluxe room - Rs. 6,000, small suite - Rs. 6,800, large suites - Rs. 8,000 - per person (on twin sharing basis) Inclusions: 2N/3D, all meals, welcome drink on arrival, bed tea, and evening tea Tx hospitality

71 may 2012

Ananda Getaways

Offer: Book 2 nights and get Rs. 3,000 credit for use against any spa experience or F&B purchase. Book Himalayan Bliss or Couples Connect for 3 nights and get a Rs. 5,000 credit for use against any spa experience or F&B purchase. Complimentary visit to Rishikesh to witness the Ganga Aarti l

Ladies Spa Getaway

Offer: Book 2 rooms on any Ananda Getaway or Wellness Experience package for a minimum of 3 nights and get 10% discount on the package price, one trip to Rishikesh to witness the ‘Ganga Aarti’, ‘Navgrah Pooja’ ceremony, and a special Ayurvedic cooking class conducted by Ananda’s Executive Chef l

Small Group Offer

Offer: Book 3 or more rooms and get a 15% discount on any packages (valid on all rooms booked), book 5 to 7 rooms and get a 20% on any package (valid on all rooms booked)

Last word

The Importance of Specialized rooms for

Business Executives

Looking towards the general phenomena of the preset hotel industry, it is necessary that there be a focused detailed study of business executives fundamental requirements, standard, and extended facilities such as aesthetics that are both practical and functional

Mrinal Kanti Chakraborty



hen designing a hotel room, most interior designers chose the color scheme or patterns keeping in mind the hotel’s theme, region or location. And, as hotel rooms are typically designed to please all categories of guests visiting the hotel, choosing the hotel room décor and furniture for business executives is of prime importance. Looking towards the general phenomena of the preset hotel industry, it is necessary that there be a focused detailed study of the fundamental requirements of guest who is a business executive. The design must incorporate the standard as well as the extended facilities with aesthetics that are both practical and functional. In order to draw the first impression and attention of the guest, the furniture in each of the executive rooms need to be of value, which also means long lasting. Besides being property equipped with Tx hospitality

modern equipments such as a mini bar, a personal locker, easy Internet accessibility, coffee/ tea maker, a functional and modern bathroom, the room space must be well-illuminated, well ventilated and aired out. Then there is of course the most important in the guest hotel room – the bed. Which every brand be used, it simply needs to be large, comfortable with pillows that allow the guest to slip into a good night’s sleep and be refreshed enough to begin the next day’s chaotic schedule. These are just the basic features hotels today need to make to ensure the executive guest feels perfectly at ease and is enjoying his stay at the hotel. Over and above this, just adds to a good experience! Mrinal Kanti Chakraborty is Vice President Operations at Hotel Nandan, Guwahati, Assam (a unit of Shyam Udyog Pvt. Ltd. the First Classified Three Star Hotel of North East India). Mrinal heads the Hotel operations in Assam as Hotel Nandan expands the portfolio of Room Division & Banqueting at Guwahati.

72 may 2012

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