By Pankaj Renjhen, Managing Director – North India, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj
In terms of providing the required accommodation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Delhi has certainly been witnessing some significant operational challenges. There have been delays in approvals and permissions, and rather loud hiccups in the framework. Whatever finally happens at the delivery end, it has become fairly evident that there is bound to be a shortage of rooms in Delhi for the Commonwealth Games.
The Bed & Breakfast Scheme
This has led to backup measures being put in place. Private residences have been given permission to register single rooms as bed-and-breakfast accommodation. The bed-and-breakfast system is not new in the Delhi region. However, it was not profitable until the coming of the Commonwealth Games. Now that the system has been revived and officially ratified, it will doubtlessly continue at an organized level even after the Games. Homeowners who have been issued bed-and-breakfast licenses will have to renew them every two years, and three months prior to expiry.
There has also been some speculation about farmhouses in the Delhi NCR region being mobilized as stopgap accommodation measures. Going by records, requests by farmhouse owners to utilize their properties for this purpose have certainly been made. The provisions for the Bed & Breakfast scheme would extend to farmhouses, as well. Conceivably, a certain number of farmhouse owners may rent out single rooms for tourist use during the Games.
However, because of the personal sentiments attached to these properties, their location, and the fact that they have residential-use status only, this temporary semi-commercial utilization will not turn into a long-standing trend after the Commonwealth Games. These farmhouses are at the luxury end of the residential market, often with carefully maintained ambiance and infrastructure. Offering them up for long-term tourist use would not be a concept that would appeal to many of these farmhouse owners.
In the second place, most farmhouses in the Delhi NCR region are located in clusters around Mehrauli, Bijwasan, Rajokri and Chattarpur, which are far from strategically placed in terms of where the main Commonwealth Games action will be. As such, they would not present much of an advantage for visitors.
Apart from the above measures, approximately 700 under-construction DDA flats coming up at Vasant Kunj and Rohini will be made ready to accommodate visitors.
The Hotels Front – An Update
Meanwhile, the hospitality sector is going all out to meet the deadline. Some of the 5 star hotels coming up for the Commonwealth Games are Crowne Plaza at Okhla Industrial area, Crowne Plaza at Mayur Vihar, Hilton (Piccadilly) at Janakpuri, Radisson Marina at Connaught Place and Hilton Convention Luxury Hotel at Dwarka, among others. The 5-star deluxe Leela Palace at Chanakyapuri is also in the pipeline. 4 star hotels include Holiday Inn at Mayur Vihar and Novotel at Jhandewalan. In the Gurgaon area, the 5 star supply includes Radisson Manesar and Frasers Serviced Apartments at Udyog Vihar. 5 star deluxe hotels include The Westin Gurgaon, The Oberoi, Four Seasons Gurgaon-DLF Golf Links and JW Marriott at Manesar. Some of the four star hotels are Courtyard by Marriott, Park Plaza extension & Convention Centre and Park Inn. However, this is not an exhaustive list.