Rooms with a creative vision

Chitra Narayanan | Updated on January 11, 2018

In good spirits: The Chateau de Lille room at Novotel, Delhi

French hotel chain Accor aims to wow its guests and employees – by getting its staff to design a few rooms

Chateau de Lille, says the intriguing wooden nameplate by the door of the hotel room at Novotel, Delhi. Walk in and you are transported to the vineyards of France. On a mantelpiece above the double bed are wine bottles, purple grapes and green vines artistically arranged. The headboard of the bed has the signage of great champagne brands.

To the side is a most unusual chair created from a wine barrel. Another barrel serves as a table with a statuette of Buddha sitting on it. A wine bottle, a crisp with some grape crush, a bunch of grapes and a miniature edible chocolate barrel are placed for the enjoyment of guests.

This is a room designed by the F&B team of the twin hotel complex of Novotel/Pullman in Delhi’s Aerocity. Kirti Malhotra, a passionate wine sommelier at the hotel and her colleague Vineet Singh, have put their hearts and minds in designing the room.

If the wine room is their creative offering to guests, then the housekeeping team has used the insights learned from serving guests to create an exquisitely dainty room for women travellers. From the floral fragrance that greets you as soon as you enter, to the lovely dressing table, chintzy fabrics on the chair to the thoughtful amenities, it’s a room that will undoubtedly delight feminine sensibilities. Meanwhile, the marketing team has travelled down the bohemian chic route for the room it has created. The showstopper is a gorgeous four-poster bed with a lacy canopy. Maps and compasses, games of Pictionary and Scrabble, and photographs convey the concept of journeys past and future.

It’s par for the course for hotel chains to get rooms designed by creative professionals. At the Park Hotel in Hyderabad, for instance, designer Tarun Tahiliani has created the La Sultana Room that pays homage to women of royal courts. At Neemrana Hotel’s breathtaking Tijara Fort, there are rooms that reflect the design vision of film-maker Muzaffar Ali, Good Earth’s Simran Lal and fashion designer Rohit Bal.

But French chain Accor has, in a unique twist, got its employees to design a few rooms at select Novotel and Ibis hotels around the world. Called My Room, the global programme has been rolled out recently. In one stroke it aims to woo two important constituencies – employees and the guest.

In India, the Novotel and Ibis at the Aerocity are the first two to set the ball rolling. Tristan Beau De Lamenie, General Manager Delegate, Pullman & Novotel, New Delhi Aerocity describes how employees came up with eight concepts, out of which three were selected. “The project was designed to motivate and empower our staff and stimulate their creativity. At the same idea the brief was to deliver a great customer experience,” says De Lamenie.

Each team gets a certain budget to unleash its creativity. If you surf Accor’s website, you will find in the UK employees Alex and Maria have created a football-themed room. Other concepts range from Summer Spirit to Pub Quizzes to Street Art.

The excitement of the teams here is infectious. Malhotra, who is as bubbly as the spirit she says she loves, takes you through the concept. “Lille is a small town in France where Accor came into existence. The first hotel of the Novotel group came up near the wineries here. And 2017 was the 50th anniversary of Accor. So we thought why not pay a tribute to the place where our chain was born,” she explains.

The teams were given two weeks to execute the concept. The theme is reflected everywhere, from bathroom to storage. For instance, in the wine room, the corks of the bottles have been very creatively used to create a floor mat in the bathroom.

Urvashi Malik, part of the Bohemian traveller room team, describes how they trawled through Dilli Haat, little-known shops and online portals to get the curios that a traveller might pick up. The rooms will be thrown open to guests in a month, and will be priced at a premium. But then the guest experience promises to be extraordinary, as the employees’ ownership of these rooms extends all the way to the snacks that will be served here.

Published on January 11, 2018

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