Delhi gets its first apartment hotel in a mall

Thursday, 30 October 2008, 07:05 Hrs
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New Delhi: Finding a home away from home is difficult but with the hotel business foraying into innovative territories to keep afloat, the Indian capital has just got its first all-suite hotel.

Svelte-Saket is for long-haul travellers who look for temporary homes with the advantage of professional hospitality.

Delhi-based Tristar Hotels Pvt Limited formally threw open the doors of the high-end 83-key all-suite extended stay hotel at the Select Citywalk Mall in Saket last week. They have tied up with Sterling Resorts' Preferred Group of Hotels for the venture.

Svelte-Saket is the company's flagship property. The tariffs range from 14,000 to 30,000 (without taxes) per night.

"We are targeting groups like MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), business, relocation like the diplomatic corps and medical tourists - segments that are characterised by brisk mobility. Our clientele is niche, mostly groups from Iran, Europe, Africa and Japan, who stay for any lengths between a couple of weeks to two years," George Abraham, CEO of Svelte, told IANS.

The suites are spread across five floors and in two categories - executive and royal suites - and are fitted with furnished kitchenettes, dresser, drawing-cum-dining room and bedrooms like self-contained apartments, designed tastefully with all the amenities that a star property offers.

The high point is the kitchenette, which has a micro-oven, refrigerator, cutlery, storage and cooking space.

The fifth floor that opens out into the terrace is occupied by a roof-top swimming pool overlooking the mall and the skyline of southern Delhi.

Abraham said since the hotel is located in a mixed-use zone, in this case a mall, guests can avail themselves of all the facilities that the entertainment arcade has to offer.

"It offers multi-options like food, shopping facilities and theatres. The ambience is vibrant. A hotel located in a mixed use zone also adds to the product portfolio of the property developer and helps the hoteliers attract guests on the strength of its strategic location. The suites at Svelte are modelled on the Oakwood Serviced Apartments in Bangalore," Abraham said.

The hotel is modelled on serviced apartments that are fast replacing hotels across Indian metros.

The model will be replicated in Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh where the properties will be located in a mixed use zone; and in Bangalore and Hyderabad, which will have standalone establishments by 2010.

Abraham hopes to see more high-end hotels in multi-use areas over the next two years because it will entail economy of scale and slashing of overhead costs.

"Svelte has an all-day multi-cuisine dining hall, a 24-hour room service and a facility chef on call, who can cook special meals if the guest wishes to entertain in his apartment suite," Abraham said.

It does not have speciality eateries despite being a five-star property because the food courts in the mall take care of the guests' culinary whims, the CEO explained.

"But hotels in India are yet to emulate the American model where budget hotels have minimal staff and can make do with a couple of employees.

"In India, guests expect service from hotel owners and the do-it-yourself model does not work, The concept of budget hotels does not work across Asia. It requires changes in mindset," Abraham said.

He said with the business travel segment generating 20 percent of the total hospitality revenue, long stay hospitality products were more viable.

Moreover, the industry estimated to be close to 150 billion in India is looking at nearly 200,000 rooms across the country by the end of 2010.

"India has a large community of expatriate population which goes out of the country or comes in. They need a place to stay in transit, and extended stay hotels best serve their purpose. Saket has become an important centre for medical tourism with the Max Super Speciality Hospital. Those coming for treatment require hotels near treatment centres. Hilton is also building a new property in the area," said Saurabh Bhatnagar, director of global sales and marketing, India and Middle East, Preferred Hotels Group.
Source: IANS
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