Neemrana Hotels

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Neemrana Hotels
Type Private
Industry Hospitality
Founded 1991
Founder(s) Aman Nath and Francis Wacziarg
Headquarters New Delhi, India
Number of locations 17
Area served India
Website Official site

The Neemrana Hotels is an Indian organisation, noted[1] for restoring ruins and turning them into heritage hotels.[2][3]

It was started in 1991 by Aman Nath and Francis Wacziarg. Aman Nath was a post-graduate in medieval Indian history from Delhi University,[4] and Francis Wacziarg a former French diplomat and resident of India since 1969, and they were researching wall frescoes for writing The Painted Frescoes of Shekhavati,[2] when they encountered the 15th-century Neemrana fort on the Aravalli range in Rajasthan.[5] The fort was built by local chieftain Nimola Meo,[6] and had been a ruin for 40 years. They bought the fort for Rs 700,000 in 1986[7] and restored it, opening as a hotel in 1991 with 12 rooms.[8] Following this restoration, the hotel has been used as the venue for the International Festival of Indian Literature in 2002, for Mastermind India,[5] and for several Indian weddings.[2]

Restoration process[edit]

Neemrana Fort Palace hotel, at Neemrana, Alwar district Rajasthan, the first property of Neemrana Hotels, opened 1991

The modifications made to the ruins to retain a consistent design include basic amenities like plumbing and air-conditioning hidden from view, and designing 19th-century rooms in the colonial style[7] They call their hotels "non-hotels", to emphasise this design.[6] The buildings are restored in phases, with revenue from guests of restored parts being used to restore the rest.[8] Along with their practice of using local artisans and materials, this keeps costs low, and their hotels break even in two to three years rather than the industry average of seven to eight.[2]

The Punjab government transferred the Baradari Palace in Patiala to them as a public-private partnership, and the Rajasthan government leased them the Tijari Fort. Similarly, the Pataudi Palace (of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore) was sold to them, and Thakur Mangal Singh sold them the 14th-century Kesroli Palace in Alwar.[8] The Tijari fort at Alwar is not a ruin but a building that had been left unfinished in 1845 because of war; the pair have undertaken completion. Most of their projects have been initiated by the owners of the buildings approaching them, and they have over 200 potential projects on hand.[2][8]

The company also manufactures jam from the fruit orchards in Ramgarh, and tea from the plantations in Coonoor and Coffee from Coorg. It also runs a "Neemrana Music Foundation".[9] The clientele, which initially consisted mostly of foreign tourists, is now (as of 2010) 70% Indian.[2]

In 2011, Neemrana Hotels had 25 properties in 17 locations and crossed INR300 million (US$5.0 million) in revenue.[10]

Examples[edit]

Bungalow on the Beach, Neemrana Hotels, in Tranquebar, Tamil Nadu
Piramal Haveli, Bagar, Rajasthan

Ruins and forts restored by them and turned into hotels include:

Books[edit]

Rajindra Kothi (Baradari Palace), Patiala, became Punjab's first heritage hotel in 2009[13]

Books published as part of the project(?) include:

  • The Painted Frescoes of Shekhavati[2]
  • Jaipur: the Last Destination[5]
  • Arts and Crafts of Rajasthan[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mentions (some detailed) in about 72 books and 8 papers and 43 news sources
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Pramila N. Phatarphekar, Accidental Hoteliers, Open Magazine, 24 April 2010
  3. ^ "The heritage tourism specialists". Financial Express. 31 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Alka Pande, A new lease of life, The Hindu, 1 August 1999
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Savita Gautam, Ruins revisited, The Hindu, 29 July 2004
  6. ^ a b Arundhati Basu, Article in The Telegraph, Saturday , 13 September 2008
  7. ^ a b Malini Suryanarayan, "An interview with Mr. Aman Nath, architect, interior designer and art restorer", The Hindu, Wednesday, 20 December 2000
  8. ^ a b c d Malini Goyal , Forbes India, Hotel kings bring back the fine life to palaces, IBN Live, 24 August 2009
  9. ^ Chitra Subramanyam, Holding fort, India Today, 27 November 2008
  10. ^ "Neemrana hotels: Making History Hip". Outlook Business. 18 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "High on history". Financial Express. 3 January 2010. 
  12. ^ "Holding fort". India Today. 27 November 2008. 
  13. ^ "Fort right". The Tribune. 6 August 2009. 

External links[edit]