For her bachelorette party, Rashi Arora wanted two things. That her last celebration as a single lass inspires curiosity in those not invited and for those present to carry the evening's events to their graves.
“A hotel room figured as the best option for the occasion. It's the ultimate in privacy. Our girlie secrets would be safest within those polished walls,” says Arora (24).
Hotels are now the latest haunt for twenty-somethings who find themselves done with yuppie nightclubs and hassling house parties and too cool for orderly hall parties.
Megha Tandon (22) can’t remember the last birthday she attended outside a hotel room. She says it beats being surrounded by a bunch of strangers in a club or feeling compelled to invite 35 friends who didn't matter. “Clubs aren’t open till late enough and watching a bunch of acquaintances get sloshed on my expense is no longer cool,” says the make-up artist.
The perks of renting your own luxury pad are multiple: privacy, room service, ambience and access to the hotel’s amenities. “A house party implies parental involvement at some point. In a room you call all the shots, you can make a royal mess and get someone else to clean up after you,” stylist Simran Lamba (22) points out.
When hostage to a work schedule that allows no vacations, an overnight stay in a hotel serves as the perfect getaway within the city. Rajvi Mankani insists that no Mumbai experience compares to an upgrade to the 17th floor of the Taj Palace and Towers in Colaba and waking up to a view of the sea. “The pool, lounges, restaurants, spas and other facilities are great distractions. You could be living 20 minutes away from the hotel and never know you’re in the same city,” says Mankani (23), an ad sales professional.
Mankani's escape from the city within the city set her back by Rs 21,000.
For a suite, the damages are close to Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 during off-season in five-star hotels. Overnight rentals for a regular room range from Rs 7,000 to Rs 15,000 — staggering figures that the young, swish set mentions matter-of-factly. “Booking a table at Prive plus alcohol would cost you just as much. If we simply want to chill, four or five of us split the room cost. We are allowed to bring our own booze and food and breakfast is complimentary. If it’s your birthday you incur the entire cost but it helps to have an acquaintance in the hotel cut you a good deal,” interior designer Ekta Khialani (24) offers.
However, a hotel imposes other restrictions: the guest list needs to be limited and the noise levels can't match up to that of a house party. But neither matters when you have a quiver of tricks. Says Dishant Pritamani (24), a businessman from Juhu: “The point of renting a room is to host only your intimate circle, but if you have more than five close friends you are bound to have run-ins with hotel security. To work around it you can spend quality time with your partner until a certain hour, have a bunch of friends visit you after that and make sure no more than the specified amount crashes in the room,” he recommends. “Or you figure out the hotel’s various exits and work out a subtle plan to smuggle your posse in.”
A poker zealot, Pritamani is negotiating for a room in a Powai hotel as the new venue for his gang’s game nights. “You can rent a chalet for about Rs 7,999, bring your own booze, have about 10 people come in for the game and leave in the wee hours when it’s time to crash,” says Pritamani.
For the rich and yet-to-be-famous, a presidential suite is the only room worth renting. “During off-season the best hotels will charge no more than Rs 40,000 for a suite. Here you can pack in more people and make more noise as it’s usually alone on a floor,” says Rajiv Tandon (25), founder of Plan B Entertainment.
This year Tandon has already attended 10 hotel room bashes, several of which were his own.
“It’s the next level of partying. When you start clubbing as early as 16, you tire of the nightclub scenario by the time you are 20. It saves you from drinking and driving back home. It’s a private affair with no supervision and no real non-negotiable restriction,” says the regular at The Ambassador hotel in Churchgate.
Tandon believes that hotels too stand to benefit.
“Occupancy has been at an all-time low. An overnight stay amounts to more than just cost of room rental. At some point you are bound to call on room service, or order in an extra breakfast as hotels only serve complimentary breakfast for two guests. You will inevitably use the pool facilities or at the very least turn to the mini bar when your after-party booze runs out.”