Birthday Celebrations During COVID @ Meluha The Fern

So after more than six months I stepped into a hotel and the occasion was to experience a staycation as well as celebrate my daughter Poojas birthday. Meluha The Fern located in a prime area and close home was an ideal choice.

Along with the reservation confirmation in order to facilitate Express Check-in they had requested all our details along with scanned copies of our photo ID. Also a link for a Self-Declaration regarding COVID. “Tough measures, but it’s all for the safety of both my staff and our guests. It’s a challenging time and working styles have changed throughout our hospitality industry,” said Punish Sharma VP – Operations, The Fern Hotels & Resorts. Under his purview are 15 Fern hotels.

A sanitized vehicle came to pick us up and a 15 minute drive we reached the hotel. Check-in was done and our Aarogya Setu app (tracking app developed by the Government of India that uses the smartphone’s GPS and Bluetooth features to track the coronavirus infection) was checked.

We checked into the luxurious Fern Club Suite that is spread across 700 ft² with separate bedroom and living areas, and spacious bathroom. Meluha The Fern (probably named in honor of the legendary Indus Valley Civilization), has 141 guest rooms available in four categories – Winter Green rooms, Fern Club rooms, Hazel Suites and Fern Club Suites with most of the modern amenities without losing the sense of eco friendliness.

We spent three days of opulence and noticed that for the hotel VP, Punish Sharma stringent hygiene and deep cleaning procedures was a priority. Due to COVID 19 the Tiara restaurant at lobby level provided only breakfast buffet spread and rest of the day it’s a la carte. Alternately you could order food as room service. Even here considering safety and hygiene the food trays were placed outside the door of the guest and room cleaning services were at request or after checkout.

The hotel has taken an innovative approach to encourage social distancing in their restaurant by placing mannequins (dummies) in the lobby and restaurants. “Aren’t they nice? They are taking up some of the space that guests would normally fill at the restaurant. Many guests have appreciated our efforts to promote social distancing. Our priority is to create a safe and welcoming environment for staff and customers,” said Punish Sharma.

The quality of food remains at a very high level. For the birthday celebrations they provided a separate section in Tiara restaurant. The par excellence Chef Parimal Sawant who is also the Culinary Director at The Fern Hotels & Resorts made an alluring cake as well as tasty bakery items which were spread across the table. My daughter invited few of her friends and we tried to make sure social distancing was followed. During our stay we also enjoyed vadapavs (a Mumbai specialty), thai curry and other delicacies.

Talking on the changes due to COVID 19 the chef highlighted some interesting pointers. “As chefs I believe we seem to have lost our identity to a certain extent. Earlier we used to have a lot of interactions with the guest but now due to social distancing it has stopped. Menus also have gone digital. Inside the kitchen also more care is taken like after every half an hour all our food handlers will have to wash hands. Also we have now pre packed lunch and dinner for guests. Many guests opt for takeaway food and we have special handis (clay pot) to pack food,” said Chef Parimal Sawant. During our departure the chefs had prepared our takeaway dinner in handis so we could experience that also.

The hotel also has its own in-house small Spa and Steam facilities, a roof top pool with an excellent view as well as a fully equipped state of the art gymnasium but all that was closed.

Meluha would be a good option for those exhausted from Zoom calls, restrictions on social events and want to take a break from day-to-day routine while staying safe in a COVID-world.

“The best part of a staycation is it supports the local tourism industry and probably will play a key role to tourism recovery from COVID-19,” feels Param Kannampilly.

With 80+ hotels spread across India, Nepal and Seychelles it’s one of the fastest growing hotel chain in India. In order to promote staycations they have launched Fern Winter Staycations. “Currently 46 of our leisure resorts and city hotels are offering Fern Winter Staycations – curated Vocal for Local short leisure getaways close to home, this winter season. Understanding the COVID situation we have given the guests the option of unlimited date change options at no extra charge. Apart from providing hygienic accommodations we also give complimentary breakfast and meals or F&B meal credits in all our packages,” said Noshir Marfatia, Senior VP (Sales & Marketing), the Fern hotels & resorts.

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