In the shade of the temple tree

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Updated: November 01, 2014 3:52 PM

Keys Temple Tree in Shirdi offers to its guest the unique ambience of staying in a resort like property in a pilgrim destination, in an environment where guests can find both peace and relaxation By Sudipta Dev

Keys Temple Tree in Shirdi offers to its guest the unique ambience of staying in a resort like property in a pilgrim destination, in an environment where guests can find both peace and relaxation By Sudipta Dev

20141115eh46The most recent hospitality offering at Shirdi, for both pilgrims and business visitors alike, is Keys Temple Tree. In many ways Keys Temple Tree aims to redefine the hospitality scenario in one of India’s most popular pilgrim towns by providing for its guests a resort like ambience where they can relax by the poolside, have gourmet vegetarian food or spend a few hours at the pool table – all after they have paid their obeisance at the Sai Baba Temple. “It is true that Shirdi is a destination where people come for spiritual reasons but we want to give our property a resort kind of feel. Shirdi city does not have anything to offer to travellers, so after darshan, there is nothing to do, so they go back. There has to be something here which can make people stay. In our property we have something for every age – from a play area for children to an entertainment zone with gaming facilities,” says Satyajit Kotwal, hotel manager, Keys Temple Tree.

20141115eh49Satyajit Kotwal

Situated in close proximity to Sai Baba Temple, the hotel offers complimentary pickup and drop to the temple. The USP of the property, according to Kotwal is the fact that all the properties are situated in the chaos of the town. “Ours is the only one that is a little away. When you open the curtain in your room you see greenery outside, and it is in a calm and quite locality,” says Kotwal. In terms of services also Keys Temple Tree is the only property in Shirdi offering a live counter for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “We also focus on giving personalised service to our guests,” he asserts.

Differentiated facilities

20141115eh47There are 87 rooms in the property. The room categorisation includes the Temple Tree Suite, Junior Suite, and Keys category rooms. Though Shirdi mostly gets family visitors, yet the hotel has a few special rooms for single lady travellers. “These rooms have a video camera outside, if the lady guest does not want anybody to enter the room they have the choice to see, speak and then allow the person to come in. This is in terms of room feature. There are also a lot of process oriented features that are applicable to us, if a single lady is staying she has to get a message from me post check-in and if she needs something she can call me,” mentions Kotwal. There is a CC camera outside those rooms, as part of security process the security personnel have to have a round every hour on the women friendly floor if a single lady traveller is staying there. There are also rooms for the differently-abled as per the norms set by the ministry of tourism, Government of India.

The hotel also has a fully equipped conference hall and banqueting facilities. Kotwal acknowledges that while there are no corporate off-sites happening in Shirdi, there are a few social functions and weddings.

20141115eh48Though the restaurant serves vegetarian fare including ‘upvaas’ specialities, there is a lot of focus on innovation. “In terms of F&B while there is no culture of people coming and dining in the restaurant, it is the hotel guests, so if you have to attract the locals you have to do something unique. For instance we had organised a Dosa Fest and Paratha Festival. These were a hit with the locals. We are planning to have in November-December a Kabab and Biryani Festival,” mentions Kotwal.

In terms of price point the hotel rates are lower than the upscale hotels in Shirdi as the property was just launched six months back. “That is only because we are still new and are yet to develop our share of loyalists. The guests so far have been mostly from south India – Chennai, Hyderabad, and Delhi,” says Kotwal.

While there are many existing properties in Shirdi and quite a few in the pipeline, Kotwal feels that the hospitality scenario is saturated, despite the fact that Shirdi is a recession-proof city. But there is a lot of business for destination wedding, particularly for specific communities, as it is considered auspicious to get married here. Shirdi is also strategically located where people can stay and visit Shani Shignapur, Ellora caves, Grishneshwar and Trimbakeshwar.

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