India’s first Hard Rock Hotel is all set to start receiving guests at Calangute in Goa. A converted property, the 135-room hotel is owned by Bangalore-based Convention Hotels India Pvt Ltd (CHI) that earlier had a tie-up with Zurich-based hospitality chain Swissotel Hotels & Resorts to operate and manage the five-star deluxe resort under the Swissotel brand.
The association with Swissotel did not last long as the international hotel management company pulled out of the property within six months after which the resort was operated by the asset owners (CHI) under North 16 brand. Interestingly, the Swissotel-CHI partnership was the shortest owner-operator alliance the Indian hospitality market has seen thus far.
The only other partnership that came close, lasting a little under nine months, was the tie-up between Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and Atul Ruia promoted Pallazzio Hotel & Leisure for a hotel at Lower Parel in Mumbai. Eventually, the asset owners operated the hotel under the Palladium brand before recently relaunching it under Starwood’s luxury brand St Regis.
What is common between the two examples discussed above is the fact that while Starwood Hotels & Resorts got acquired by Marriott International Inc in a $12.2 billion deal, another hospitality major AccorHotels entered into an agreement with Qatar Investment Authority, Kingdom Holding Company of Saudi Arabia and Oxford Properties for the acquisition of FRHI Holdings Ltd, parent of Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel. Both the deals were inked in a span of three to four weeks.
Hard Rock Hotel Goa is being managed by Spectra Hotels & Resorts, a joint venture between CHI and Spectra Hospitality Services, and the resort is currently in the soft launch phase. The two are also exploring other in-country hotel opportunities in partnership with Hard Rock International.
Mobile food and beverage cooler
Godrej Appliances has introduced a disruptive innovation in the form of a mobile food and beverage cooler. Called ChotuKool, it uses a patented technology for cooling and runs without a compressor on an intelligent solid state electronic chip. Being compact and portable, it is ideal for road trips, family picnics, outdoor parties, small office spaces, bedrooms etc. and can be customisable as per the personal taste of the consumer. It can retain cooling for upto three hours without electricity and is compatible with portable car inverters, car chargers and even external batteries, so that customers can charge it on the go. With an internal capacity of 35 litres, ChotuKool is lightweight at 7.3 kilograms and priced starting at Rs 5,250.
Style Studio by Van Heusen
Having reinvented its business model to launch MYFIT last year, apparel brand Van Heusen is now set to redefine the rules of apparel retailing by introducing Style Studio by Van Heusen – a first-of-its-kind innovative and futuristic retail concept in the country. The first store will be launched soon in Bangalore and the company is planning to launch more such outlets in key markets across the country. The brand aims to transform apparel shopping in brick and mortar stores into a whole new personalised interactive experience for consumers. Vinay Bhopatkar, COO, Van Heusen & People, said the Style Studio will make extensive use technology creating virtual images wherein the potential customer will be able to see how the apparel will look on him / her without even having wear the merchandise. The stores will also have styling consultants to help customers in the decision making process.
Gem of a farmer!
It may sound strange that the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), the national trade federation for the promotion and growth of trade in gems and jewellery (G&J) sector across India, has raised concerns over imposition of requirement of PAN number on any transaction of Rs 2 lakh and above. This follows the government to tackle the menace of black money that is stil rampant in the country. Many may find the reason cited by GTF quite frivolous. Its chairman said in a statement that the government move is “not practical” and that it would “discriminate 70% of the rural buyers including farmers as they are not under tax net and do not have PAN cards”. The Federation has now urged the government to remove the Pan card requirement in jewellery sector and maintain status-quo on application of TCS on sales of bullion on Rs 2 lakh and on Rs 5 lakh of jewellery. Apart from it, it has also asked the government to reduce import duties on bullion, gems, jewellery and hewellery machineries. The Federation claims that the gems and jewellery sector is not a source to attract black money since there is a value addition of 15-20% in developing the products while bullion is a preferred segment for investment by black money holders.