HOTELIVATE’S HOTEL OF THE MONTH
HOTEL OF THE MONTH – MAY 2018
Tucked away in the midst of Rajasthan’s Thar Desert in the Jhunjhunu district of Shekhawati, the 17th century palace, Alsisar Mahal is one of Rajasthan’s hidden treasures. Parts of Alsisar Mahal which were destroyed in battle, were rebuilt in 1954, post which it was restored and renovated from 2000 to 2006, before opening as the Alsisar Mahal heritage hotel as it is known today.
Part of the Alsisar Group of Hotels, Alsisar Mahal is located 200-250 km away from Jaipur and New Delhi. The palace has 51 rooms across two categories, which exude old world charm, combined with traditional Rajput elements. The palace offers a coffee shop, which provides a regal dining experience with intricate gold work along the walls as well as beautiful paintings, serving a combination of continental, Indian and traditional Rajasthani cuisine. Badal Mahal, or Palace in the Clouds, situated on the top floor, has multi-coloured glass windows, paintings adorning its walls and ceiling, and serves similar cuisines as the coffee shop; it also has an alfresco fine-dining area which overlooks the palace. The World War II lounge, as the name suggests, is themed with memorabilia from the war, serving an array of drinks and light snacks. The Dungeon Bar and Lounge is situated in what used to be the jail, in the basement of the palace. With dim lighting, handcuffs and chains hanging from the ceiling, a cage surrounding the DJ console and cell like booths for guests, the night club boasts a fully stocked bar and finger food. This venue is typically given out for private parties. Additionally, every meal prepared at the hotel is made with the freshest ingredients, sourced on a daily basis from the local village. Service is impeccable, with extremely personalised service for each and every guest, rivalling that of even the most luxurious hotels across the country.
Apart from its numerous courtyards, artwork, vintage artefacts, and grand swimming pool, the palace also has a range of activities for guests to indulge in, from sunset jeep safaris, horse and camel safaris, bullock cart rides, heritage walks and a fresco trail tour of Shekhawati. However, the best part of the palace does not lie in its palatial rooms, fine-dining experiences or safaris. Since 2014, for three days every December, Alsisar Mahal is converted into the electrifying venue of one of the most sought-after music festivals in India – the Magnetic Fields Festival. With some of the most renowned international artists from the world’s underground music scene, the festival has gained immense popularity since its inception, with over 4000 people in attendance in 2017. Despite only 51 rooms, Alsisar Mahal hosts 2000 guests year-on-year, pitching over 800 luxury tents behind the palace.
Alsisar Mahal has gained popularity over the last few years on the back of the Magnetic Fields Festival. Alsisar as a destination, being a small, little-known town, offers peace and tranquillity which is hard to come by in today’s day and age. Even though it typically loses out to Rajasthan’s more popular and better-marketed cities and towns, the palace is definitely one of the places to visit in Rajasthan, not only during the Magnetic Fields Festival, but year-round.
Hotelivate rates this hotel as Spectacular!
Location: Secluded but easily accessible
Room Product: Spacious with traditional Rajasthani elements
F&B Offering: Great food coupled with exquisite venues
Drawback: Lack of large indoor meeting spaces and limited inventory
HOTEL OF THE MONTH – APRIL 2018
As Hyatt’s first Andaz in India, Andaz Delhi is perfectly poised to be the epitome of luxury blended with a casual and cool lifestyle. Situated in the heart of New Delhi’s bustling Aerocity, the hotel leverages the brand’s quirky and minimalistic elements in its interiors, decor and overall vibe.
Inspired by the Urdu word “Andaz”, the brand is an expression of personal style and local culture, which is neatly articulated in this hotel through its 401 rooms, suites and serviced apartments. Each of these feature local artisanal products, curated pieces of art celebrating Delhi, indigenous tea and coffee blends as well as locally inspired fabrics, mugs, bathrobes, bathroom amenities, jute slippers, jute bags and the book – 401 Reasons to Fall in Love with Delhi. The hotel even has a fleet of Indian made cars ranging from the vibrant-coloured Ambassadors to Range Rovers and Jaguars, offering a distinct guest experience right from the airport pick-up. What’s more, the associates working at the hotel get to choose their own uniform that reflects their personality – a real departure from industry norms, which is being very well received by the guests.
Additionally, with concepts like Hong Kong, a multi-level restaurant with a club, bar and lounge, Andaz Delhi has witnessed huge F&B success and is being touted as a paradise for Cantonese cuisine lovers. At the hotel’s all-day dining AnnaMaya, a modern European food hall, one can expect local ‘Made in India’ produce with lots of flavour and an emphasis on healthy organic eating. The hotel also has the Juniper Bar, the country’s first gin bar, where one can indulge in unusual concoctions and 35 varieties of home-infused gins. The meeting spaces of the hotel span 37,500 sq. ft. with an oval ballroom, open spaces, studios and innovative catering options.
Overall, with a perfect amalgamation of style, great food, relaxed and sincere service and comfortable ambience woven in with a taste of local, luxury and casual, Andaz is all about storytelling and is refreshingly different from the otherwise uninteresting new hotels opening in the region. It is perhaps for this reason that it recently won the “Best New Hotel of the Year” at HICSA 2018 in the Luxury/Upper Upscale Segment.
Hotelivate rates this hotel as the Best New Comer with a Different Approach to Hospitality!
Location: In close proximity to business hubs, yet offers a quick getaway
Room Product: Very fresh and vibrant
F&B Offering: Innovative
Service: Sincere, casual, personal and makes you feel comfortable
Drawback: Great oval ballroom, but the breakout rooms are far apart
HOTEL OF THE MONTH – MARCH 2018
An unhindered view of the Aravali Hills for as far as the eye can see. A sleepy village below, dotted with traditional Rajasthani homes. The daunting stature of a warrior fort that nurtures a thousand tales, hidden in its alleys. There is something magical about this feeling of peace, serenity and quiet solace that one experiences – Truly, the Alila Fort Bishangarh takes your breath away!
A short drive from Jaipur or Delhi, this majestic resort makes a strong first impression as your approach it’s welcome area; organic vegetables & herbs growing in the vicinity. The resort offers a Mediterranean restaurant & bar (Haveli) by the poolside, a kid’s entertainment zone and a state-of-the-art gymnasium at the lower level. The fort itself is home to 59 luxurious guestrooms, an all-day-dining restaurant (Amarsar), a rooftop restaurant (Nazaara) offering generous portions of traditional Rajasthani cuisine in the table d’hôte format (Dinner only) and a tastefully designed Bar (Madhuveni). Spa Alila (housed in the dungeons of the fort) offers multifarious options of massages & treatments.
An assortment of activities available to guests (Camel-cart ride, cycling through the village, photography tour of the fort, Masterclass in Rajasthani cooking, et al) make their time that much more delightful at the property. In keeping with the minimalist and boutique lifestyle driven ethos of the brand, Alila Fort Bishangarh manages to offer all the elements of luxury without trying too hard to impress. Overall, a bold step by the promoters, this resort has made a timely and opportune entrance in the leisure hospitality space in India. It’s no wonder that this 200-plus year-old fort that opened its doors as the second Alila Resort in India about a year ago is already drawing strong attention of guests from both India & abroad.
Hotelivate rates this hotel as Magnificent!
Location: Easily accessible, yet nestled away – A BIG positive
Room Product: Spacious and exquisitely designed
F&B Offering: Delectable food, albeit limited offering
Service: Friendly, affable, personable and professional
Drawback: The peril of being labelled a great ‘one-time experience’ may make it arduous to attract repeat business
HOTEL OF THE MONTH – FEBRUARY 2018
The Oberoi, New Delhi in its new avatar is clearly the boldest statement ever made by any hotelier in this part of the world. This comes as no surprise, as even back in 1965, when the hotel first opened, it was the country’s most modern five star hotel. Biki Oberoi inherited a legacy, and this hotel allows him to leave one behind that would be hard to match up to. We have no doubt that The Oberoi New Delhi will achieve room rates that are amongst the highest the country has seen in any business hotel.
While the location and blue print have not changed, the rooms are a lot more spacious than before; instead of the previous 283, the hotel now has 220 rooms. In addition, the wall-to-wall windows, walk-in closets and four-fixture bathrooms, all make the accommodation radiate luxury. And, the fact that the hotel has made a huge investment in providing clean indoor air, is an added bonus if you are visiting Delhi! In terms of dining options, the hotel boasts a completely redesigned threesixty (all-day dining) and newly opened Omya and Baoshuan serving Indian and Chinese cuisines, respectively. What’s more, the open-air rooftop bar (Cirrus9) is refreshingly young, and promises to be one of the most happening destinations in Delhi. The Cigar Lounge and The Club Bar further add to the hotel’s diverse offerings. Not to forget the retail therapy guests can indulge in on the ground floor.
To those who miss the old lobby and the jali work, we say change with the times, just like this hotel has. The Oberoi, New Delhi will define luxury and be the benchmark for the next few decades.
Hotelivate rates this hotel as Exquisite!
Room Product: Contemporary and radiates luxury
F&B Offering: Jury is still out…try the bar on the rooftop, meanwhile
Service: The very best
Drawback: The fog and pollution are spoiling the views that the hotel has to offer
HOTEL OF THE MONTH – JANUARY 2018
This 302-room hotel in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex has finally come of age. Having opened in 2011, the property saw a few hardships in its initial years of operations. However, it has made a strong headway in the recent past and is fast becoming one of the most sought-after social hubs for Mumbaikars in that part of the city.
The hotel is distinctly French in flavour. As one walks into the lobby, the soothing French symphony offers both a sense of upliftment and tranquility. A look around the hotel further draws attention to its vibrant interiors – a delicate blend of sophisticated French art with elements of traditional Indian culture. Dining options are innovative and diverse – from Jyran, the signature restaurant serving cuisine inspired from the Northwest Indian Frontier Province, to Pondichéry Café, the all-day dining restaurant; and from Tuskers, the popular vegetarian restaurant, to Artisan, the stylish French Bistro – the hotel offers a plethora of choices for all tastes.
The hotel’s performance has consistently improved over the past 2 to 3 years, and it is assured to pick up greater momentum once the Reliance Convention Centre next door opens. Indeed, an impressive product offering coupled with superlative quality of service make the Sofitel Mumbai BKC a cut above its competition.
Hotelivate rates this hotel as Excellent!
Location: Strategic – in the city’s new CBD
Room Product: Seemingly French
F&B Offering: Lots of variety
Drawback: Lack of larger meeting spaces
HOTEL OF THE MONTH – DECEMBER 2017
This 395-room hotel in the heart of central Mumbai has finally come of age. Opened originally in 2013 as Shangri La, the hotel operated independently as the Palladium for a brief period thereafter, subsequent to which, it was rebranded as The St. Regis Mumbai – the brand’s first property in India.
In terms of performance, the property enjoys one of the strongest top lines that can be expected of a hotel this size and at this positioning, particularly due to its exclusive selection of F&B outlets, ranging from Seven Kitchens – the effervescent all-day diner, to By the Mekong – a culinary journey through China, Thailand and Vietnam, and Yuuka – the award-winning Modern Japanese restaurant, in addition to several bars and nightlife options. The hotel’s location next to Mumbai’s leading retail areas adds to its charm, along with its wide variety of social and banqueting venues. Besides being a fantastic product, what sets it apart from the rest, is the impeccable level of service experienced throughout the spectrum of the hotel.
Hotelivate rates this hotel as Excellent!
Room Product: Expansive
F&B Offering: Excellent
Drawback: Still Searching