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The fabulous Falaknuma in Hyderabad, the traditional yet modern ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, the Leela Palace in Delhi, the glorious Suryagarh Fort in Jaisalmer — the last couple of years have seen luxury being redefined by hospitality players in the country. The good news for those seeking that indefinable extra edge in pampering and sumptuous comfort is that there are many more enticing luxe launches around the corner. Here’s a glimpse of the most awaited openings ahead.

A Ritzy Affair
There are hotel brands and there are hotel brands but the name Ritz Carlton evokes a certain magic in the hospitality business. The ‘king of hoteliers and hoteliers to kings’ is all set to throw open its doors in Bangalore soon. The 277-room hotel, located in the upscale Residency Road area, promises a varied gastronomical outing with six F&B outlets. Roof top bar Bang ,from where you get a panoramic view of the city, has the makings of an exciting watering hole. Chinese dim sum house Lantern, specialised restaurant The Market and Indian cuisine restaurant Riwaaz add to the variety. A 15,000 sq. ft spa operated by ESPA and a salon run by Italian hairstylist Rossano Ferretti are other attractions. Owned and developed by Nitesh Estates, a real estate firm that makes its debut in hospitality, it remains to be seen if the Ritz brand (a Marriott subsidiary) manages to deliver its legendary service here.

A Taste of Thai
With its water bodies, a profusion of flowering trees, and gorgeous purple, rust and mustard-toned architecture, the first glimpse of Dusit Devarana is an absolute delight. Positioned as an urban retreat, the 50-room resort set amid eight acres of lovely gardens manages to be perfectly secluded despite being located along the busy Delhi-Gurgaon highway. Its international staff — a mix of Thai, Indian and European — promise service that takes care of every cultural nuance of guests. The first taste at the world cuisine restaurant promises an exciting dining experience. Some delightful surprises are a family temple, a yoga pavilion and rooms that open onto water bodies. There’s much going for this place that’s an interesting blend of the best of Thai and Indian hospitality.



No Rush, All Frills

If ITC gave the chatterati a lot to natter about with its Grand Chola, then its upcoming launch at Manesar — the Green Bharat Golf Resort and Royal Spa has quite a few talking points too. With a hundred luxury suites (it claims to be the first all-suite luxury hotel in the country) and four presidential villas built around a signature golf course, ITC promises to push the concept of ‘slow tourism’ — lingering holidays playing golf, enjoying a farm-to-fork experience (the resort will grow its own herbs, vegetables and grains besides boasting of a seven-acre citrus plantation), cultural shows and a head to toe wellness regimen. There will be wellbeing kitchens that create low-calorie gourmet experiences, high-tech services (e-butlers in the shape of iPads) and quite a few other path-breaking service initiatives. Looks like a good place to tee off.

Island Getaway
It’s been getting a lot of buzz, both internationally and in domestic circles. Asian hospitality biggie Banyan Tree’s first launch in India — the 59-villa resort on a private island in Kerala surrounded by backwaters — scores both on location and tasteful architecture. Guests can literally sail into the lobby and the all-pool villas promise water babies a swimmingly good time. Laidback houseboat trips and Kerala-style Ayurvedic therapy complete the idyllic picture. There is only one blip in this paradise — the question mark over the launch as environmental agitations over building on an island have time and again delayed the opening and the issue is far from resolved.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 07-10-2013)


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