Agra, Delhi, and Mumbai Add Big-Name Hotels
PHOTO: The St. Regis brand is coming to Mumbai this fall. (Courtesy of Starwood Hotels and Resorts)
Three of India’s most popular cities have opened new properties by major hotel companies. While Agra, Mumbai and New Delhi all have important roles to play in Indian tourism as well as in providing lodging for other industries and governmental activities. Though India is growing its lodging facilities in such new directions as boutiques and even hostels, traditional full-service hotels are still essential to the U.S. market, which is India’s largest inbound source of foreign travelers at about 15.6 percent of the total.
This coming fall, the 386-room St. Regis brand will come to India when St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood, opens the St. Regis Mumbai . The property, which is owned by Pallazzio Hotels & Leisure Ltd., is the former Palladium Hotel. The hotel is located in Lower Parel, not far from a monorail station that’s due to open this year and a half hour’s drive from Chhatrapati Shivaji International & Domestic Airport.
The hotel will have an all-day dining restaurant, four specialty restaurants, a club lounge, and three bars. Adjoining the hotel is the Palladium, Mumbai’s only luxury retail shopping center. There will also be a pool and a fitness center and more than 5,200 square meters of event space including a 4200-square-meter grand ballroom. Starwood operates 43 hotels in India, with another 37 in the pipeline. In the next two years it will open the W Retreat & Spa Goa, The Westin Kolkata, Sheraton Hyderabad, Le Meridien Nagpur and Aloft New Delhi Aerocity.
ITC Hotels is expanding its portfolio of luxury properties in India with the addition of ITC Grand Bharat, a destination retreat in the New Delhi Capital Region. As the country’s first all-suite retreat, ITC believes it will “herald a new era in the hospitality industry through a mosaic of culinary, recreation and wellness experiences.” Those experiences include a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and a 35,000-square-foot Kaya Kalp spa. The ITC Grand Bharat is ITC Hotels’ 11th Luxury Collection Hotel in affiliation with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
The hotel is comprised of 100 753-square-foot Deluxe Suites and four 5,726-square-foot Presidential Villas set on a 300-acre estate in the Aravali hills, about 45 minutes from New Delhi in Gurgaon. ITC always strives for a cultural authenticity in its buildings and it will feature a blend of Indian architectural influences with detailed woodwork, fabrics, marble and wooden flooring interspaced with hand tufted carpets.
Suites either feature lounging patios with semi-private lap pools, or spacious terraces with views. The living room, bedroom and bathroom are all private spaces which are compartmentalized by sliding doors. A “Retreat Host” (butler) is available at all times. The four Presidential residences have several attending service associates.
Among the hotels dining options are Aravali Pavilion (modern Indian), The India Room (European), the Peacock Bar (cocktails supported by a wine and malt collection) and Apas Promenade (regional specialities). The hotel’s “Cuisine Classica” offers guests a hands-on workshop where they can learn to cook an array of Indian dishes.
The 104-room DoubleTree by Hilton Agra opened in January in the home town of the Taj Mahal. Hilton now has hotels in all of India’s “Golden Triangle” of popular tourism cities: Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. The hotel is owned by Archer Hospitality Private Ltd. Located minutes from the Taj Mahal, the hotel is one of a very few that have views of the monument. It’s also near Agra Fort, Akbar’s Tomb, Jama Masjid and Kinari Bazaar.
Every room comes with Wi-Fi, 42” HDTV with premium channels, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mini bar, electronic safe and a three or four-fixture bathroom with a walk-in rain shower. Each one-bedroom suite additionally includes a separate living room, dining area and powder room. The Presidential Suite is equipped with a pantry and a walk-in closet in addition to a bedroom and living room.
The hotel will also be home to North 27, an all-day international restaurant; Kebab-E-Que, serving Indian North-West Frontier cuisine; Plush Bar; and The Food Store, an all-day café and deli that serves fresh pastries, sandwiches and beverages for dine-in or takeaway. There’s also an outdoor infinity pool with views of the Taj Mahal, a 24-hour fitness center, Kids’ Activities Room, spa and a salon.
More by James Ruggia
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