As we take baby steps into Unlock 2.0, many boutique hotels in India have started to reopen its doors for guests, but of course, with renewed safety norms. By Tanvi Jain
1. RAAS Hotels
RAAS hotels with its breathtaking properties in Jodhpur, Devigarh and Chhatrasagar, is all set to reopen from July 1 with special welcome back offers on RAAS Hopper — a programme that offers guests a chance to stay for two to three at one of the RAAS properties over one holiday with a package of five to seven–days. This way the guests can hop from one hotel to another and enjoy the unique location and experience of every property. With this offer, you can stay for five nights at a price of four and for seven nights at a price of six. The package also includes breakfast for two, 20 per cent discount on all F&B, private yoga lessons, location wise experience bespoke to the property such as a private shopping tour at Bibaji, a guided trek through the Aravalli Hills or a private cooking session with the Executive Chef at Devigarh, a guided nature walk with its in-house naturalist at Chhatrasagar. While the five-day package starts at INR 60,000 plus taxes, the seven-day package starts at INR 90,000 plus taxes. The hotel is also introducing a nine-night package starting at INR 1,05,000, where you effectively pay only for seven nights.
2. Tree of Life Resorts & Hotels
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Tree of Life Hotels & Resorts is prepping to reopen doors to its handpicked boutique stays, present at easily drivable locations with good road connectivity. With space and privacy being its hallmarks, the hotel is easily able to abide by the new social distancing norms. As all its resorts lie slightly outside the main city, it helps tourists to self-isolate in the lap of nature, also because of inventories limited to just 15 rooms, and most properties having private and individual cottages and villas. The hotel offers organically grown food, in-room services including a spa, private pool, outdoor couple spa, wellness meals and more. You can also organise intimate events here with 50 people. The hotel is following all safety protocols such as refining SOPs regularly, going through guests’ travel history prior to arrival, checking body temperature of all guests, team members, and vendors at the main gate, repeatedly cleaning high contact surfaces, providing safety kits in all rooms containing disposable gloves, N95 masks, hand sanitisers and more.
3. Shreyas Yoga Retreat, Bengaluru, Karnataka
This wellness haven near Bengaluru reopened on June 15, not only with attractive tariffs on all its packages but also with a bunch of standard safety protocols and well-trained staff, to ensure that both its members as well as guests are safe throughout their stay, and are able to deal with special situations. The retreat has with the help of its in–house Ayurveda and Naturopathy doctors, yoga teachers and chefs, put together guidelines on self–care including healthy lifestyle practices and precautions, special diet and herbal drinks, yoga, breathing and meditation practices, etc. Safety protocols include taking body temperature, oxygen saturation and pulse reading, before allowing entry; they have also introduced the mandatory wearing of masks, gloves, and regular sanitisation of hands, vehicles, baggage, etc., as well as the entire property. Disposable masks, footwear, yoga mat, are also being provided in each cottage upon request, and foot-operated sanitiser dispensers are being placed at strategic locations.
4. Ramathra Fort, Sapotra, Rajasthan
Tucked in the far interiors of Rajasthan, situated on a hilltop, social distancing is not a new concept for this rural getaway, which is all set to welcome back guests from July 15, with a monsoon package of two nights and three days that includes wilderness safaris, applicable for bookings between July 15 to September 30. The fort has taken enhanced high standards of service and hygiene, which include disinfecting the luggage before taking it to the room, completing all check-in producers via email, regular disinfecting and fogging of the fort, well-trained staff on mandatory safety protocols to ensure regular sanitisation of hands especially after serving food or touching any edible item. Moreover, the fort is not accepting any supplies before sanitising them and is also promoting outdoor eating for ease of maintaining social distancing.
5. Svatma, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Scheduled to reopen most likely in the second week of July, or the first week of August, as per the awaited Government orders, Svatma in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu will soon be welcoming guests with their special reopening offer of INR 16,500 for two nights plus taxes, and 20 per cent discount on a single spa treatment. The resort has also come up with complete Sidha wellness-focused programmes that include Sidha therapies for weight management, wellness, detox, etc. The hotel has always followed standards catering to all hygiene and safety requirements for its guests and associates. Certain steps that it has taken in light of COVID-19, include converting touchpoints into safety points, mandatory availability of hygiene kits, and sanitisation of every guest amenity. Moreover, wellness therapies are also customised and proprietary spa products are freshly prepared in-house. The cuisine is fresh, organic, authentic and exquisitely flavoured as well as nutritionally balanced for health. The environment is calm and pollution free with medicinal trees and foliage that provide a breath of fresh air.
6. Suryagarh, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Situated at an isolated location around 15 kilometres away from the main city, this traditional Rajasthani retreat has announced its reopening on July 1. The whole staff has been under strict quarantine during which they have been trained in best practices and protocols as directed by Diversey guidelines for hotel reopening, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the WHO advisory on COVID-19. Moreover, the hotel has also come up with exciting offers such as round-trip transfer from Jaisalmer Airport, distinctive Suryagarh menus and ceremonial dinners, live music and cocktails every day from 07:00 pm to 09:00 pm, high-speed wi-fi, and tariffs starting at INR 10,000. Moreover, guests will be provided with touchless and seamless check-in service, and live counter instead of a buffet.
7. Dvara Siruvani, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Dvara Siruvani Resort near Coimbatore is likely to resume operations from July 1. If you are planning to book a stay here, you will have to furnish self-declaration on arrival. It’s mandatory for all the guests and staff to wear masks, especially in public areas and maintain social distancing. Moreover, the hotel has also come up with an in-room check-in facility to avoid unwanted human interaction. Payments will be made digital and all guests will be screened for body temperature. Their luggage will also be sanitised before being taken to the room and the amenities will be provided only upon request. The restaurants will still remain non-operational, instead, guests will be provided in-room dining service. All the staff members will be screened after every six hours, all linen will be sanitised after check out, and all touchpoints will be sanitised. The hotel is also offering special packages for long-term stays and for medical professionals.
8. Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark In Residence At Wild Mahseer, Balipara, Assam
This first of its kind biodiverse haven that reopened for guests on June 8, has some eye-popping welcome offer, such as, a single/double occupancy room at INR 7,500 per night, including GST and all meals, complementary activities such as tea garden tour, botanical trail, slow cycling, cooking classes, tea tasting, indoor and outdoor games, unlimited cups of garden-fresh tea, and a session on Japanese forest bathing technique called Shinrin-Yoku. The place is also actively carrying out orientation on health and hygiene practices such as maintaining social distancing, washing hands regularly, wearing masks, disinfecting all the rooms, washing linen in-house, rigorous cleaning of all hard surfaces, and locally sourcing food items. Moreover, guests could also enjoy online in-house piano and guitar classes, avail high-speed internet connection, order private and exclusive dining services in their respective bungalows, and take up a tea tasting certification course.
Though one might have to wait for a little while to relax in this eco-friendly homestay, as Himachal Pradesh borders are still not open for tourists; but, once it is, it’ll all be worth the wait. The homestay claims to strictly follow all the WHO protocols, such as sanitisation, temperature checks, social distancing, awareness, multiple cleaning, etc. It has also announced a special rate for longer stays depending upon the duration. A stay here post the travel ban, would mean staying in a completely refurbished and touched up home, new and improved pizza oven, multiple new dishes, larger organic menu, and more corners to relax.
10. Mary Budden Estate, Binsar, Uttarakhand
Surrounded by the Himalayas, this hilly paradise is all set to reopen the moment the Forest Department gives a nod to the Binsar wildlife sanctuary, which is expected to happen in the first week of July. All the rooms in this estate have their own private living and dining spaces. The property has made sure to follow all the safety protocols as guided by the WHO, including, frequent sanitisation of rooms, kitchen, living spaces, dining rooms and restrooms. Temperature and health of staff members are also regularly monitored. If you can self-drive, have no travel history in the past two months and are not coming from any containment zones, then you are most welcome to enjoy a luxurious stay at this estate. In order to lure guests, it is also offering single/double occupancy at a special price of INR 18,000 per night — flat 30 per cent discount on original rates — including all meals, soft beverages and taxes. As the estate is also growing 80 per cent of its own food, the guests can enjoy fully organic, farm-to-table cuisine.