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GRT Grand Days tightens belt to face competition

Nina Varghese


WITH almost 1500 three-star rooms coming up in the next six months in T. Nagar alone, GRT Grand Days is gearing itself to face the competition head-on.

Mr M.O. Koshy, Vice-President, G.R.Thanga Maligai (P) Ltd, which owns GRT Grand Days, said the company was in the process of upgrading the product and tightening its belt.

Almost 50 per cent of the hotel's clientele is foreign and the hotel's occupancy was hit in May this year when the travel advisories came up. Since then the occupancy levels have picked up mainly with corporate clients and a small trickle of foreign tourists has started, he said.

The company is spending Rs1.5 crore in the first phase of renovations and refurbishing. Mr Koshy said the company has gone in for various cost cutting measures, which would in no way be visible to the customer or infringe on customer comfort.

One of them was the energy audit that enabled the company to put in systems which were cost effective; for instance, the plate heater exchange, which uses the steam from the laundry to heat up the air conditioned indoor swimming pool.

The company has installed a sewerage treatment plant and the water is recycled for gardening. Besides this the company has gone in for extensive rainwater harvesting which has yielded some benefit, Mr Koshy said.

After four and a half years, GRT Grand Days has become a quality standard for other three-star hotels to benchmark against, Mr Koshy said. The hotel's selling point has been the value for money proportion. The competition is mainly from the five star and five star deluxe hotels as the rate war is intensifying. Most hotel rooms are available for Rs 2,500 per night.

The hotel has three restaurants and had earned a name for itself in the food and beverage section. Mr Koshy said that a lot of planning has gone into strategising the cuisine in the three restaurants. The Coffee Shop and the fine dining restaurant, Copper Point, both on the ground floor have been a success. But `The Oriental' which is on the first floor has not done as well as expected and will shortly be re-launched.

"Hot Spot" is another concept, which has been launched at the Coffee Shop. This is open from 11.30 p.m. to 6 a.m. and caters to people who work the night shift and the disco crowd. The late nighters get a snack for Rs 99. As part of the ITDC disinvestment, the G.R. Thanga Maligai group acquired the Temple Bay property in Mahabalipuram. Mr Koshy said that at present renovation work is going on there. Besides the lobby, twelve of the 37 cottages have been renovated. Though the hotel did not close down after the change of hands, the re-launch under the new ownership will be by the end of November or early December, he said.

Mr Koshy said the hotel is to be classified as three star and carrying the GRT principal of value for money further, the rack rate has been brought down from Rs 3,800 to Rs 2,900.

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