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It's full house in city hotels, thanks to Bush

It is not Maurya Sheraton alone that is making hay while the US President beams on the Indian Capital.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 01:12 IST
Sonal Srivastava and Upala Sen
Sonal Srivastava and Upala Sen

It is not Maurya Sheraton alone that is making hay while the US President beams on the Indian Capital. The rest of the city’s five-stars are also doing some neat business, though only a handful credit it to George W. Bush. Here’s a quick dekko at the hotelscape.

After Maurya, it is Le Meridien which is shouldering the crucial role of playing host to the President’s men…and canines.

According to a source in Meridien, the hotel is clocking 100 per cent occupancy. Of all the 358 rooms, around 87 are occupied by American secret service agents alone — and that includes the seven canine sergeants and their handlers.

If Meridien is making the security entourage feel at home, Shangri-La Hotel is housing the international media. According to Ruchika Mehta, marketing communications manager, Shangri-La, “Media people have put up here busy working on documentaries on India, its culture and all the hype and hoopla surrounding the important visit. We are oversold and clocking at minus 50.”

Says Akhil Mathur of Meridien: “All the hotels are doing good business because of the Bush visit.”

Looks like there is some truth in that one. Oberoi, too, is choc-a-bloc though hotel sources let in that the US delegation is not responsible for the awesome figures. Business, leisure and tourism are riding an all-time high drawing in more and more guests. Claridges is also toeing the 100 per cent occupancy line.

Both the Taj properties — Taj Mahal and Taj Palace — are running full house. A lot of the crowd owes itself to state delegations and the trade fair and various international conferences that seem to be the flavour of the season. Of course, there is a lot of excitement in the kitchens of Taj Palace, where Corporate Chef Taj Luxury Hotels Hemant Oberoi, flown down from Mumbai, is busy whipping up a special fare for Bush.

Sources say actor Aishwarya Rai is one of the special guests expected at the high-profile luncheon meet with Bush at Taj Palace.

Vendors not happy

Manas Marg (the road adjacent to Maurya Sheraton) usually has on its pavement a sabzi mundi. Those selling vegetables here were asked to leave by security personnel. They have relocated in a lane just off the street.

Malti, a hawker selling fresh vegetables, has no idea why security is so tight, but her 12-year-old daughter Shivani, is more clued in, “The US President is coming but I am really not that happy about it. In the sabzi mundi, all the vendors could get equal attention of buyers, but now we have pushed to the end of a lane and that means we don’t get as many customers as before.”

Nikhi, a 20-year-old fishseller, echoed similar sentiments. He said, “I am sure it (the visit) is good for the country but it’s not good for us. Customers cannot drive in here anymore because the area is sealed off. I am glad he (President Bush) will only be here for another two days only.”

(With inputs from Sreevatsa Nevatia)

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 01:08 IST