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ITC Grand Bharat
The Financial Express - 05 Apr 2015

Celebrating Bharat

Indian hospitality has the undisputed reputation of being world-class. ITC takes things a notch higher with an all-suites resort that epitomises luxury, but is also an embodiment of Indian culture and history down to the smallest detail.


When President Barack Obama visited India for the second time earlier this year, he commented that the welcome he had received was hard to beat. Indian hospitality can, indeed, be second to none, and the Indian hospitality sector does take luxury to high levels. Taking things a step further is an all-suites resort that not only epitomises luxury, but does it with a decidedly Indian heart.

ITC's Grand Bharat, amidst the Aravalli hills near Delhi, captures the essence of India in multiple ways-in its architecture and design, its residences, food, wellness and relaxation-becoming a tribute to the idea of 'Bharatvarsh'.

General Manager for the resort Anand Rao explains: "The ITC Grand Bharat is the country's first all-suites resort that has been built as a destination in itself. The hotel, envisaged as a tribute to the glory of India, is a testimony to the grandeur of India and its finest traditions. It is a hotel rooted to the soil, epitomising the highest ideals of India's rich heritage and culture; both past and present, reflected in its nationally inspired architecture, interior design and warm Indian hospitality."

Spread over a sprawling 1.2-sq-km estate, the resort has 100 suites and four presidential villas, the architecture of which is a confluence of the finest Indian details and techniques. The villas take inspiration from the dynasties of the Mauryas, Marathas, Mughals and the Cholas, while various styles ranging from the ghats of Varanasi to the stepped walls of Adalaj and temple architecture of Odisha are replicated all over the resort.

The main building, also known as Laxmi Vilas Palace, is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic school of architecture, seen elsewhere in the Gateway of India in Mumbai and the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata. The lobby, named the Sangam, is a symbolic meeting of three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Amidst is a painted Tree of Life, surrounded by eight pillars signifying the eight stages of life as indicated in the Vedas.

But despite being an ode to India, the resort, resembling a mini township, has all the trappings of a world-class luxury destination. All suites come either with a semi-private lap pool or lounge terrace. The resort also has south Asia's first and only 27-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, a spa spread over 1,951 sq m offering holistic Indian therapies, and a host of activities ranging from nature trails to Segway tours.

And while ITC is known for its exemplary food, interestingly, none of its signature restaurants or star chefs find a place at Grand Bharat. Instead, you have a 'well-being' chef offering tailor-made menus, plus restaurants offering Indian, European and Asian flavours, with many ingredients grown right in the backyard.

"The Grand Bharat symbolises ITC's vision of creating world-class brands that 'put India first' and is in keeping with our efforts towards sub-serving larger priorities of demonstrating global competitiveness," says Rao, when asked how the resort fares in comparison with global luxury offerings.

"The India of today is not limited to its monuments and rural culture.

Travellers today seek international experiences in an indigenous environment. While the demand may have been predominantly seen for destinations like Agra, Rajasthan, the Himalayas, Goa and Kerala, there is adequate appeal in other parts of the country as well. The resort also falls within the golden triangle circuit-Delhi, Agra and Jaipur-and its close proximity to the capital city facilities a getaway from the hustle bustle, but with easy access," he says, aptly summing up the venture as one offering 'unhurried luxury'. Surely a new era in Indian hospitality!


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