SAYONI BHADURI – Mumbai
. “Indian food culture is an independent culture which cannot be coEurope-based Relais & Chateaux is looking to bring Indian cuisine restaurants in India under their bannermpared to any other. We are looking at bringing under the Relais & Chateaux banner Indian restaurants serving unique Indian culinary experiences,” said Jaume Tapies, chairman, Relais & Chateaux.
Currently, there are four hotels affiliated to Relais & Chateaux in India. “We hope to have five projects in India by 2014. And in another five years we hope to have 20 hotels in India,” said Tapies. The company is looking at setting up circuits in the four regions of the country. Of these north and south circuits are already underway with the existing hotels. “We are looking at projects in Kolkata, Darjeeling, Assam, Nepal amongst other places to develop the east circuit which is expected to be active in another two-three years. We are now looking at building itineraries to understand the region better,” he added.
The company started in 1954 as a unit made by independent hotels and is present in 60 countries today. “We started in Asia five-seven years ago. And the region contributes seven per cent to the total business for Relais & Chateaux with an average increase of 37 per cent,” Tapies informed. The total business growth is about 6.9 per cent. Australia and US are growing source markets while southern Europe is the worst. The hotels have an independent personality starting from the local inn-keeper with a passion. “Relais & Chateaux becomes the best way to discover and taste the world for the discerning traveller. Cuisine and food most are the most important part of the Relais & Chateaux experience,” explained Tapies. The five core elements which make a Relais & Chateaux property unique are character, charm, courtesy, calm and cuisine.
He further added that the ownership and project details of each resort is independent. The common thread which ties these hotels together are the values of ‘internally personal generosity’. People at the hotels are willing to share more than just the regular with a guest. “The concept of luxury today is about discovering a sense of wellness and enriching one’s spirit. People at a Relais & Chateaux resort are devoted to the guest and offer a personal touch,” said Tapies. Relais & Chateaux has 22,500 employees globally. Of which 10,000 go for trainings every year to the RC Academy. There is also a model of personalised training which is conducted for each hotel. “We are also introducing an e-learning model for our team,” he added.