Curated gourmet experiences @ ibis Mumbai Airport Hotel

During these tough times when travel is limited we have been concentrating on staycations and drivecation experiences for our august readers. This time we focused on ibis Mumbai Airport.

With nearly 2050 hotels worldwide ibis (from Accor group) is one of the fastest growing budget priced brand. In India with 20+ hotels it’s becoming quite popular especially the airport hotels – Delhi and Mumbai. While I had the opportunity to cover ibis New Delhi Aerocity twice, it was my first time at ibis Mumbai Airport.

This hotel is prominently located and clearly visible to those using Western Express Highway while crossing Vile Parle. The biggest advantage is its walking distance from the domestic terminal and a 10 minute drive to the International terminal making it an ideal hotel for passengers who have an early morning or late night flight or an interconnecting flight.

Check in was smooth and it was nice to see all the hygiene protocols being followed. The hotel has 148 soundproof rooms (much required when close to an airport). The hotel also offers complimentary high speed WI-FI access. While the rooms are typical ibis size and the bathrooms are well-fitted with small shower cubicles, the hotel scores on its excellent quality of food.

For food connoisseur the hotel features its signature ‘Spice It’ restaurant – a culinary concept tailor-made for India serving Indian, Oriental and European cuisine prepared from the freshest locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant turned out to be a highlight for us as Vinay Kadam, Executive Sous Chef, ibis Mumbai Airport provided us with a variety of local delicacies. On arrival for lunch he treated us with Mumbai’s famous Vada Pav. Over the next three days we had a thin crust and delectable pizza, Penne makhani, Corn sichami, Pav bhaji paratha, Dhokla, Rasmalai panacotta, Banana ginger smoothie, Baked gulab jamun, Chocolate pudding and chef specialty Chur chur parathaa.

In an e-interview with Gaurav Chavan, GM, ibis Mumbai Airport he highlighted on staycations, tackling of COVID issues etc.

The arrival of vaccine-resistant variants of Covid-19 makes it crucial for hotels to up the antenna. Whats the scene at ibis?
COVID-19 has affected every sector across the globe, and the hotel industry is among the hardest hit. Research suggests that recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels could take until 2023—or later. We have intensified hygiene & prevention measures to ensure the guests’ safety. The ALLSAFE label that is vetted by Bureau Veritas represents our new elevated cleanliness protocols and standards and provides assurance that these standards have been met in our hotels.

Do you think this will affect staycations and drivecations and what promotional strategy are you planning?
As per the current trends, we have seen a heightened demand in domestic leisure travel towards several locations which has popularly named as “revenge travel”. Mumbai market may witness a slight slowdown in case further restrictions and travel advisories are put in place by the state government.

Revenue dent was faced by all hotels. How do you plan to get more revenue as well as the cost control measures being planned?
As a leading smart economy hotel brand in the world, we prioritize customer centric value add-ons over discounts/deals. The hotel remains dependent on domestic; leisure & corporate travel and to continue to have a strong engagement with its customers by way of promotions run at a pan India level for both Rooms and Food & Beverage.

How important are millennial’s to your hotel?
Here at ibis, our innovative approach to hospitality, ibism, represents a cultural movement that does not judge or exclude and is designed for everyone, including families, friends, seniors, small businesses, couples travelling for leisure or partners on business. Placing people at the heart of everything, it is all about you – making guests feel welcomed, heart-warmed, incredible and like they belong. Taking the ibis brand further, ‘ism’ epitomises a personalised approach whether it’s being trendy, fun, young, distinguished, quirky or anything that makes you feel alive and at home.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenges our industry faces today?
During such testing times, staycations and workstations have emerged as the latest trends as people are looking for ways to break free from the months of restrictions.

The escalated demand is likely to impact both leisure and corporate travel. In addition, as India has a strong domestic base, it would continue to be the key growth stimulator in this sector, as domestic leisure travelers would prefer to drive for short breaks over weekends or same city staycations.

Due to COVID norms both hotels and guests are looking for contactless dining options. Traditional room service has been replaced by packaged deliveries to guest rooms. As this becomes a norm or process of choice for both guests and operators more attention will go to specialty containers, chefs improving food presentation. To try out in room dinning option I ordered dinner which came in compact containers.

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