Hotels that are built around a unique concept or theme with a distinctive architecture have been popular in many countries around the world. From the ICEHOTEL in Sweden to the futuristic Silken Puerta America Madrid hotel in Spain, these properties have been attracting travellers interested in staying in an unusual ambience, often with a subtle theme of fantasy. However, the concept of unique hotels is at a nascent stage in India, but is slowly picking up and catering to a niche segment of Indian travellers. “Indians who are travelling for the first time want to put themselves up in internationally branded hotels. But those who travel frequently want to enjoy a different experience in the country and abroad. This new experience is offered by unique hotels,” states, Upal Sarkar, operations manager, Floatel An Eco-Friendly Hotel in Kolkata. Floatel is believed to be the only floating hotel in India
Another reason for Indian travellers to opt for unique hotels in India is their exposure to the same across international locations. “Lot of Indians are now travelling abroad so they have either seen or stayed at such unique properties there or have information about them. This trend is catching up in India. Investors in India are slowly trying to get into this segment and are realising the importance of having such unique properties,” opines Mathew Joseph, director - marketing, Le Green Hotels & Resorts. Le Green Hotels & resorts has 22 properties across different locations in India, out of which Hampi Boulders Resort is constructed out of boulders.
The construction of uniquely designed eco-properties in India has been mainly influenced by the offerings of the location. Kerala is seen to host a number of eco-friendly properties because of its diverse greenery, awareness of sustainability and support from government and media. However, there are exceptions. For instance, Guhantara, an eco-friendly resort of Rashi Eco Tourism, claimed to be India’s first man-made underground cave resort in Bengaluru, was constructed underground because of less availability of land. “The area was only three acres so if I had constructed anything on the land then I would have been left with less surface area. Hence I went for a cave style underground resort,” explains S N Ramesh, managing director, Rashi Eco Tourism.
A niche product
These unique hotels in India have been attracting a niche segment of international and national travellers rather than the average Indian crowd. “Our target