In winter of discontent, hotels slash New Year prices

December 27th, 2008 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) Global economic recession and the Mumbai carnage have hit New Year festivities so badly that, to attract customers, some major hotels in the capital have cut prices by as much as 20 percent.Prominent hospitality majors like the Taj and the Oberoi, which took a direct hit from 26/11, have cancelled celebrations altogether.

“The Mumbai terror attacks as well as the global meltdown have affected our business a lot as the spending power of people has been reduced by as much as 40 percent and they are shying away from splurging on parties,” Park hotels public relation director Ritu Bararia told IANS.

“Even though we are not offering any ad-hoc discounts to our guests, this time we have slashed the prices of our party entry tickets,” she added.

Aqua at the Park offers a glamorous wine, dine and lounge experience to its guests. Last year couple entry to Aqua was Rs.15,000. This year it has been brought down to Rs.12,500.

Claridges Hotel too is offering a 15 percent discount on various celebration packages.

Last year the cover charge for the New Year’s Eve party at its Mediterranean restaurant Sevilla was Rs.11,950. This time it is Rs.8,000.

“Keeping the sentiments in mind, this time the festivities in all our hotels have been kept minimal. But we are getting very encouraging response from our guests,” said Claridges general manager Rubal Chaudhary.

“As we offer a beautiful dining space with the perfect ambience, we are offering exclusive New Year menus to our guests so that they can have a great time with their dear ones and enjoy the rich experience,” he added.

Deepali Narula of the F Bar and Lounge at Ashoka Hotel agrees that people are wary of celebrating after the Mumbai terror attacks. But queries for the New Year’s Eve party are also coming in.

“I do not think that recession has any major effect on the partying scene in the capital as our party packages are affordable and people have already started inquiring about them,” Narula maintained.

In the wake of the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attacks, which claimed over 170 lives, Oberoi group hotels and the Hyatt Hotel have decided to cancel their New Year’s Eve parties.

“There will be no celebrations during this period at any of our hotels. We will only have special menus for our guests,” said Oberoi group of hotel’s spokesperson.

The Taj Mahal and the Taj Palace hotels here, both of which belong to the Tata group whose iconic Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel in Mumbai was among the places targeted by terrorists last month, are exhibiting peace messages on their Christmas trees.

“We are sending out messages for tranquillity and harmony in the world and we believe that we shall overcome terrorism very soon,” said a Taj group spokesperson.

Restaurants and nightclubs too are set to lure guests with attractive packages, offers and celebrity dance nights.

Noida’s nightclub Elevate has slashed its rates by 10 percent. “People are hesitant to go out for parties and due to recession they are reluctant to shell out. So we have reduced our prices by 10 percent because this is the need of the hour,” promotion manager Tarina Shah told IANS.

This year the New Year’s Eve tickets for Elevate are priced at Rs.5,000, Rs.6,000 and Rs.10,000.

All hotels and other party spots are taking special security measures.

“We have a three-tier security system because of the sensitivity of the location of our hotel. Every guest will be asked to carry his ID proof along with the invites. These are in addition to the security measures that are already in place at the hotel,” Park’s Bararia said. The hotel is at downtown Connaught Place.

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