With the 44th Chess Olympiad slated to be held in Mahabalipuram near here during July-August, 2022, officials of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and Tamil Nadu government are checking out various hotels for the boarding and lodging facilities offered, hoteliers said.
Hoteliers are also told that the chess players and others should be served nutritional food, preferably continental or European cuisine and the top teams will be housed in category 'A' beach resorts.
The Chess Olympiad will be held in the convention centre at the Four Points by Sheraton, located in the Mahabalipuram area, one of the main tourist destinations in southern India.
"The officials are checking out all the hotels/beach resorts on the ECR (East Coast Road) and OMR (Old Mahabalipuram Road) stretch and inspecting the rooms, restaurants and other facilities offered by the properties," said an official of a star hotel on OMR.
The properties available for the chess players and others include a mix of luxury beach resorts and star hotels.
Many luxury beach resorts on the ECR, and star hotels on the OMR and nearby corridors have offered a sizable number of their rooms to the Tamil Nadu government for the Olympiad, hoteliers had told IANS.
"The officials want the rooms from July 25 onwards till August 9. We have offered 110 rooms out of our 129 rooms," Amit Kumar, General Manager, Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort and Spa told IANS.
"The tariff rates are yet to be fixed. The officials -- TN government and FIDE -- have visited our property and others as well. Since the state government is involved, perhaps they would come out with their offer," a hotelier on the OMR told IANS, preferring anonymity.
"The officials had told us that the tariff includes breakfast and does not include lunch, dinner and other things. The players will take their food in the hotel alone and not anywhere outside. Apart from the rooms, the banquet hall should also be provided for serving food for the players," Kumar said.
On the food to be served for the players Kumar said: "We were told the food should be nutritious and healthy. We will offer Continental/Asian/Indian as well as South Indian cuisine to the players."
Properties like Sheraton Grand, Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay in Mamallapuram, Taj Fisherman's Cove Resort and Spa and InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort fall under the category 'A' resorts.
Hoteliers told IANS that the tariff rates for Olympiad participants should not be very low so that their existing customers do not feel cheated.
The Olympiad starts on July 28 (rooms are required from July 25 onwards) with technical meeting and opening ceremony. The first round will begin on July 29 and there will be a total of 11 rounds.
The last round will be played on August 9, after which the closing ceremony will be held.
Chess players from over 160-190 nations are expected to participate in the event.
Around 2,500 persons -- chess players, coaches, team managers, chess officials from different countries, journalists and others -- will arrive in the city for the Chess Olympiad.
Further, the FIDE Congress will also be held alongside which would elect the global chess body's office bearers.
"No hotel will offer all its rooms for Olympiad players/officials. We have to cater to our regular guests and others who have reservations as well," Yangya Prakash Chandran, Founder and CEO, Crossway Hotels and Resorts, told IANS.
"That apart, the resorts on the ECR do very good business throughout the week. The Olympiad is a two-week event. The resorts may not be inclined to accept bulk bookings at a discounted rate," he added.
The room rates on the ECR goes up to Rs 1.5 lakh, depending on the star and room category.
Concurs Vikram Cotah, CEO, GRT Hotels and Resorts, which owns the 150-room Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay in Mamallapuram.
"We have offered 120 rooms for the Olympiad and plan to add 10 more. We also have our regular guests and there are guests who have reserved the rooms and they can't be turned away," Cotah had told IANS.
He said the Radisson Blu Resort offers different staying options -- rooms, villas, chalets -- with tariffs ranging from Rs 12,000 to Rs 1,50,000 per night.
It will be interesting to see the teams that would be accommodated in the beach resorts.
"In the past, the Olympiad organisers had allotted hotels to teams based on their average ELO ratings. Higher-rated teams got higher star hotels and lower-rated ones got lower star rated hotels," Chess Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay, who had represented India in seven Olympiads, told IANS.
"We were told the top-ranking teams/players will be housed in our property as it is new," Kumar said.
Queried about the global media mileage that their property would get owing to the Olympiad, hoteliers told IANS: "The branding and media mileage will be derived by Four Points by Sheraton as it will be the Olympiad venue. For other properties, it is like any other busines."
Not agreeing fully with that view, Kumar said that, exposed to the hotel's offerings, chess players will spread the good word which in turn would build the goodwill, brand image and ultimately result in guests.