Neemrana Fort-Palace
Neemrana Fort-Palace

First hand experience

Much before I take the stance to plunge and go for a short vacation, I check and recheck the sanitation norms before finally booking Deobagh Gwalior. From being driven in a disinfected cab, to compulsory temperature checks, mobile check in and ensuring that even my check in luggage is germ-free, before entering my room etc. it all signals the new normal, but is extremely reassuring.

As I walk towards my room, I feel as if Deobagh is built for social distancing, the 15 palatial room property is spread across acres with individual air conditioners in each room.

And the biggest advantage here is that even my sightseeing need is met within the property as it comprises two 17th-18th century Maratha temples, marvellous cenotaphs and one pavilion with 36 vaulted gateways as Deobagh is steeped in history. I love the old word interiors and I enjoy my pretty sit out, from where I can see peacocks dancing in the beautiful gardens.

It’s just the perfect place for unwinding or even for a workcation.

Housekeeping is on request and meals at the restaurant are served by staff wearing face shields and gloves. As I sit with my family over dinner, we tinkle our glasses and are grateful to begin a vacation after a really long time.

Real time at hotels

Hotels in India seem to be on the road to recovery with business from shipping, repatriation, doctors and some long stay guests. As travel opens, with increased domestic and international flights, they expect business to pick up. “At the Sofitel Mumbai BKC, as is with all Accor properties, our focus is the health and safety of all our guests. We have implemented the ALLSAFE label, which represents some of the most stringent cleaning standards and operational protocols in the world of hospitality, vetted by Bureau Veritas. At the same time, we are already seeing a positive response on bookings for weekend getaways and staycations, giving signs of market stability and growth. In addition to this, we are offering some great deals and discounts for our guests and loyalty members, such as our campaign ‘Let Us Take Care of You’, where we are promoting staycations, weekend travels and relaxed holiday time with family and friends. We are also witnessing few residential weddings with a limited number of people to abide by the social distancing laws of the local government,” shares Pankaj Wadhwa, Director of Sales & Marketing – Sofitel Mumbai BKC.

One of the temples at Deobagh
One of the temples at Deobagh

Neemrana Hotels are offering visitors a safe and unforgettable experience. “The Neemrana ‘non-hotel’ Hotels offer visitors the inimitable chance to experience safe, drivable, historical getaways in the comfort of their own sanitised car through these special stay offers. The team that has been lengthily trained with the new etiquettes issued by the Ministry of Tourism, as well as a contact-less check in facility go the extra mile to make each guest’s stay a memorable and comfortable one. The chefs’ local delicacies and tailor-made menus for a variety of palates, along with the magical and private dining venues on terraces and gardens, are ideal to celebrate milestone birthdays, anniversaries, or to just create happy memories in these rather unprecedented times. The Neemrana Fort-Palace, Tijara Fort-Palace and Hill Fort Kesroli are ideal destinations for intimate weddings”, says Sonavi Kaicker, CEO — Neemrana Hotels.

Experts speak

There is a clear upward trend for nearby getaways, staycations and workcations with road trips leading the way. There has been a surge in demand to travel domestically with a strong focus on safety and hygiene measures.

“I am positive that this insatiable appetite to travel will manifest itself even as international flights resume. People would be willing to travel to safe, short-haul destinations once the government permits the operations of commercial flights, which would also provide much-needed oxygen for the tourism industry”, says Riaz Munshi, Director N Chirag Travels and President Outbound Tour Operators Association of India.

The future looks different. And it definitely looks positive. “There will be changes in the way many things were done and this is creating fear in our minds, but I am convinced that there are good things coming for everyone. It is great to just keep your confidence and an open mind. The belief that 'I can and will handle it' will see us through,” says Loveleen Multani Arun Founder Director at Panache World, Bangalore.

Well, I am already on my next vacation at the Neemrana Fort Palace this time round as Deobagh built that confidence in me, that if you follow all precautions, you will be safe…and I like to stay positive too as I try my best to stay safe.

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