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Hospitality

Published on: June 22, 2022, 11:20 a.m.
The Park Indore: Where local meets global
  • The Park Indore brings new levels of luxury to the city

By Suman Tarafdar

Indore isn’t the most obvious of destinations when people are planning their leisure trips. Best known for its plethora of temples and the rather extreme love for food by Indoris, it’s a city that is fast exploding, much like India’s metros have done in the past decade or so. New manufacturing zones, greater investment from global corporations, remittances and new found awareness of wider lifestyle by non-resident Indoris – all have contributed to Madhya Pradesh’s largest city growing by leaps and bounds of late. No wonder then that the hospitality sector is making a beeline, with domestic and international brands setting up shop.

How accurately can a city hotel reflect its locale and how important is it. Those questions are crucial for most in the hospitality sector, but rarely find reflection. While standardised brands, even in the luxury end, might not consider it to be within their remit – a nod to the location coming in the form of visual representation in rooms and public spaces or some token dishes on the coffee shop menu. So, when a hotel does a deep dive to bring out multiple aspects of its location, it’s interesting to see the response, both in terms of its target clientele and turnover.

While the city already has brands such as Radisson, Sheraton, Lemon Tree and Marriott, besides home-grown brands such as Sayaji, the recent opening that has the city’s trendy residents in thrall is The Park Indore, a 99-room hotel that pushes the boundaries for hospitality in the city. Of course, The Park has the advantage of being a brand that while combining luxury and entertainment, is also a much ‘softer’ brand than many other brands in the similar space. Even when couched in a ‘tower’, its interiors make it stand out.

The Park Indore is no exception, amply reflecting the need to reflect the city’s milieu. Take its homage to the city’s craze for food. It has four F&B outlets and has another three slated to open in the second half of the year. It offers massive banqueting spaces and is already considering more outdoor events spaces by expanding to its neighbouring plot. While it is a ‘tower’ hotel, its design incorporates two towers, with a ‘hole’ in between. Think the Zaha Hadid designed Opus in Dubai.

Sure, its lines are boxy rather than flowy, but come evening, it transforms into a stunning visual spectacle as one of the group’s most popular F&B brands Aqua, comes alive with a shimmering lighting, especially on the ceiling, contemporary music, a cabana dotted swimming pool, barbeques and some of the city’s hippest denizens in attendance.

  • Banerjee: we have a lot of bling

    Banerjee: we have a lot of bling

“In this property, we have a lot of bling,” points out Debjeet Banerjee, general manager, The Park Indore. “This city heavily works on social formats – bling is a big aspect keeping in mind local food flavours.” He elaborates by pointing out that while the hotel has worked on the styling and presentation, the taste had to be local.

Reflecting the city

The choice of Indore was in keeping with the group's expansion to Tier II cities. “We are always keen to get into developing cities," says Banerjee. “This project came to us in July 2017. The focus was to make a successful representation of what the ethos of the brand is – entertainment, luxury. We felt that was missing in the city. That’s where the owners Ashtavinayak Leisure and the Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels came together. It’s a 15-year management contract.”

Though the opening of the hotel was impacted by Covid, it opened in December 2021 - fairly fast by Indian hospitality standards. At a price tag of about Rs100 crore, it is one of the most expensive constructions in the city. Banerjee is confident of the hotel’s success. “The city is still developing,” explains Banerjee. “The current guest mix is 40 per cent corporate, 60 per cent social, which includes leisure guests, marriages, other social events and weekend travellers. Transit is a huge aspect, while currently, tourism is not much. It’s a major weekend destination format as in these smaller towns as there aren’t many options to go to.”

“We anticipate soon the mix is going to be 55-45 per cent in favour of corporate, as there are a lot of industries coming up, which will further improve our occupancy,” Banerjee adds. “We are also working on our occupancy so that we become the occupancy leaders very soon. The average occupancy of the city is 55 per cent. We would like us to have 70 per cent. The occupancy increases post September, while May to August is a challenge. Winter occupancies go up to 85 per cent due to an increased number of social events. We are currently driving the ARRs in the city. People are ready to pay the extra bit.”

  • Aqua is the entertainment heart of the hotel

Design led

A differentiator for the hotel is through design, feels Banerjee. This, he points out, is what owner Priya Paul is known for. Local architect Kapil Jain has designed the hotel, while the interiors are by Saheba Singh and lighting by Lucent Technologies. Indeed, even as guests enter the hotel, there are notable multiple design features, from the striking multi-hued chandelier to the extensive use of rose gold as a basic colour scheme. Flowers are everywhere, points out Banerjee. “Rose is one of the biggest elements of this hotel and has been used in the hotel in different forms and formats.” Reflecting local traditions, there is a lot of Chanderi fabrics and jute work from Maheshwar. Gond art is showcased in all rooms. Indore’s local palaces and temples find place in some design form in the rooms.

“Indore did not have concept hotels,” says Banerjee. Well, with this opening, that’s not a claim the city can make any more as the hotel brings the global standards to an ambitious city.

  • Epicentre anchors the dining outlets in the hotel

Local flavours, global plating

The Park has opted to bring some of its best-known F&B outlets to Indore. Aqua is undoubtedly stunning, with long queues forming especially for Sunday sundowners. Someplace Else, the British style pub, brings single malts, cigars and creative cocktails to the city. An ‘adults only’ venue, its smoke-infused presentations, imported meats and cheese and tapas style menu offering Spanish, Indian and Asian cuisines is another big attraction.

The main dining outlet, epicentre, which offers global gourmet , is the longest buffet in the city, with a 159 offering for Sunday brunch -- one destination, five cuisines, and nine live counters, points out Gourav Deep Singh Malhotra, executive chef. Then, there is Flury’s, another Park staple, known for its confectionery delights. “Most local people are insistent on flavours being local, so we keep that intact. We focus on plating. Indore lacked food presentation, even in buffets.” 

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