Back in March, staying home was a novelty. But as the months stretched, there was only so much one could do. The hospitality sector, which had been in forced hibernation, was quick to the rescue once lockdown eased. Rajasthan, the tourism industry's jewel in the crown, is back to wooing patrons to its hotels.
Executive chairman PRS Oberoi of EIH Ltd, the listed entity of The Oberoi Group that runs hotels under its Oberoi and Trident brands, told stakeholders, "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect very few foreign travellers. The hospitality industry must, therefore, concentrate on domestic travellers." The message went out loud and clear.
From The Oberoi Udaivilas to The Oberoi Rajvilas, offers were rolled out by the dozen. A suite was suddenly available at an attractive Rs 19,000 plus taxes, inclusive of all meals. Though the pool facilities are not open yet, robbing off some of the lusture from suites with private pools, the view of the sumptuous gardens and, of course, the majestic Lake Pichola at Udaipur more than make up for it.
As for the Rajvilas, live like the royals used to at their hunting tents—the property promises to pamper you with way more superior facilities and signature cuisine. And did we mention the Happy Hours?
Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and chief executive of Tata Group-promoted Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), said in a recent analyst call, "Those potential travellers who are not able to travel abroad are stuck here. I’m sure they will need to get out."
With rates that range between Rs 6,000-Rs 20,000 per night, the Rambagh Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Vivanta Sawai Madhopur Lodge and other such iconic properties suddenly appear well within the reach of most wanting a change.
After all, who wouldn’t want to stay at the former home of the Maharaja of Jaipur? Voted the number one hotel in India, the Rambagh Palace’s new Bizcation offers patrons accommodation in higher category rooms, quiet work stations and specially crafted meals. Elaborate splendour, extravagant sandstone balustrades, cupolas and chattris, not to mention the Mughal Gardens, offer the perfect getaway.
Imagine staying at the ITC Rajputana at the throwaway price of rS 5,299 per night. Designed on the lines of the traditional havelis of Rajasthan, the hotel has a red brick facade with different levels jutting out.
Their Day Use offer is what we will root for, which allows guests a 12-hour stay. They have even introduced a flexible cancellation policy. Now when a hotel does something like that, you know for sure that they are trying maybe a bit too hard to get the footfall back.
But who cares? As long as you manage to get a steal deal. Besides these top players in the industry, there are also others such as Jaipur Marriott Hotel with staycation offers at Rs 5,350 per night; or the Treehouse properties in Ranthambore, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bhiwadi and Neemrana, some of which are offering rates as low as Rs 3,500 per night. The 52-roomed Narain Niwas Palace boasting Rajput glory also comes at an attractive Rs 5,000 per night. So where are you headed this weekend?