Marriott matters in Chandigarh

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Updated: September 02, 2015 7:06 PM

The city of Chandigarh stands at an interesting juxtaposition aiding both the business and leisure roadmap for development. Facilitating this union is a hospitality set up that is strategically placed at Sector 35-B. The JW Marriott Hotel Chandigarh is all set to augment the city’s growth potential By Reema Lokesh

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The city of Chandigarh stands at an interesting juxtaposition aiding both the business and leisure roadmap for development. Facilitating this union is a hospitality set up that is strategically placed at Sector 35-B. The JW Marriott Hotel Chandigarh is all set to augment the city’s growth potential By Reema Lokesh

20150915eh53Rubal Chaudhry

The team at JW Marriott Hotel Chandigarh under the leadership of its general manager, Rubal Chaudhry, is one enthusiastic bunch of hospitality professionals. I encountered this enthusiasm at the airport itself, when the only concierge of the city of Chandigarh, Manoj Sharma, the hotel’s chief concierge was there to receive me at the airport. Unlike any other typical drive from the airport to the hotel, (wherein the driver doubles up as the local guide), Sharma amazed me with his knowledge about  the city that goes beyond its famous architecture and garden grandeur. I guess he sensed that I also belong to that enthusiastic breed and hence he ensured I do a bit of a de-route before we reached our destination. We stopped at a bungalow property, which houses historic records of the place and its people – The Le Corbusier’s Museum, which sadly is not frequented by many. From the city’s unique drainage maps to its medicinal flora promenades, my first entry into India’s well designed city was loaded with information.

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Destination hotel

For the general manager, the property is surely a destination hotel. India’s Tier II and Tier III cities are on a growth map including Chandigarh, due to the promise that the surrounding regions hold. Chaudhry is extremely upbeat about growing along with the market and he is convinced that the city is untapped. His past experiences as a hotelier has shaped his vision for the future but is grounded in his working style and approach. The company is looking at the millennials as they are the future workforce. He also predicts a change in the style in which hotels will function in the future. He relates to the Marriott culture of ‘hire and hold’ and believes that an open door policy works wonders for the team. He believes in his team and gives them their space to perform and progress.

Team work works

JW Marriott Hotel Chandigarh is all set to position itself not only as a five-star hotel in Chandigarh but also as a hotel that means business. The hotel aims to work as a catalyst that brings in the business to the city, and is at the focal point of all the action, be it business or leisure, weddings or sports. For Sunny Ghaiee, director of sales and marketing, JW Marriott Hotel Chandigarh, his mission seems to be quite clear that the hotel should be the centre point for all events, be it business or pleasure. An experienced hand in the north India hospitality market, Ghaiee understands the local temperament and culture well and works around the demand to provide the client an offer that they can rarely refuse. From organising seven course pre-wedding tasting sessions, catering to tastes and preferences which are highly personalised, his narratives gave me a peek into the nuances of this market vis-à-vis the others. The formula seems clear that it is all about pampering the guests and giving them a sense of ownership, as it works well to bring in the repeat customer. Supporting his views is his colleague, Pallav Singhal, director – F&B at the hotel. A chef by profession and former executive chef at the property, he decided to step out of the kitchen to drive in the business and make the hotel’s F&B outlets aspirational in the city. His formula is to delight the customer by giving them an F&B experience that is not tampered with. He states clearly that a Chicken Tikka Pizza or a Dal Makhani Penne was a big no for him. Initially it was tough to explain this to the clients but slowly he was successful in getting through to this clientele about specialised fine dinning experiences.

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Today  his formula has worked at the hotel’s F&B outlets namely Saffron, the fine dining Indian restaurant that offers North West Frontier cuisine and the Oregano Restaurant and Bar that offers authentic Italian flavours; both being popular fine dining outlets for locals, corporate clients and expatriates. While Ghaiee and Singhal ensure the who’s who of the region enter their abode, it’s the executive chef, Naveen Handa who finally sends them back as satisfied customers when it comes to the palate. Chefs as we know them today are architects of food and most have a celebrity appeal. Chef Handa prefers to remain totally low key and focus on the food and his own fitness, (who follows a strict fitness regime). The menu at Saffron is carefully planned by him. The people of that region prefer the fixed menu option, which has to come with a full loaded starters menu rather than small portions a la carte style. Saffron restaurant offers food from pre-partition Punjab. As per the hotel’s record, during pre-partition era Punjab was eight times the size of the present Punjab and was a culinary hub with Amritsari Macchi, Saffron Tandoori Murg, Raunak-e-Seekh and numerous vegetarian delights. The tandoor in the hotel functions round the clock and it does not fail to give its guests the famous tandoori roti straight out of the tandoor. Kadhai Jhinga, Raan-e-Sikanderi and Tari Wala Desi Kukkad are the specialties of the place. After all the rich North Indian food, if you are craving for some South Indian specialities, then Chef Somu is surely your Man Friday. He brings in authentic flavours of South India right on to your plate in Chandigarh.

For those tired souls and soles, do take a walk into Quan Spa. Ankit Rawat, the spa manager at the property is committed to wellness and he confesses that he prefers the outdoors and swears by yoga. He gives you an interesting insight into Reiki and alternate healing that can work even for chronic ailments.

High on MICE and weddings

If it’s a wedding in the region or even for other parts of India, this property is considered to be a wedding destination hotspot. Anshul Kashyap, marketing and communications manager of the property states that they will soon reach the 200th wedding celebration mark as they have successfully conducted 196 weddings till now. The hotel has a robust banqueting space that is spread over an area of 30,000 sq ft both indoors and outdoors. The Grand Ballroom offshoots into four halls and is adjoined by a green lawn. The various venues can accommodate between 100 to 1000 guests. There is a pre function area with a separate entrance which makes a function a private and an exclusive affair. Another interesting concept in the banqueting space is The Living Room. Based around the concept of a New York style apartment, The Living Room offers a casual and relaxed environment for business meetings and blends the comforts of a living area with the benefits of tech-savvy meeting rooms. Each room is well equipped with a large drop down screen with a lift projector and a surround sound audio-visual system and wired for both cable and wireless Internet.

The open kitchen area is well stocked with beverages, health bars, bite size pastries, sandwiches and whole fresh fruits. Chefs are also present to whip up a quick bite for you. With 164 luxury rooms, (122 deluxe rooms, 38 executive rooms, four junior suites and one presidential suite), the JW Marriott Hotel Chandigarh is ready to invite the world to this future growth city of India.

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