Recently, we travelled to Kerala to check out the newly opened Port Muziris, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Kochi, which in its own artistic way tries to capture the whole of Kerala in it. The hotel derives its name from the port of Muziris, an ancient spice trade route.
So far, the brand does not have a competitor as the location does not have any other hotel with a similar theme – incorporating vital elements of Kerala lifestyle.
We had a quick chat with Harish Gopalakrishnan, general manager, Port Muziris, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Kochi, who believes that there needs to be a change in the mindset of travellers coming to Cochin (Kochi), which is also hotel’s tagline “Your Kerala starts here”.
Tell us why Kochi was chosen to house the first Tribute Portfolio branded property in South Asia?
This is the first Tribute hotel in South Asia. People have to change their perception for Kerala and Tribute is perfect for it. Tribute as a brand is a handpicked hotel. Under the Marriott International umbrella you have 30 brands but whenever you stay in any of these properties in any part of the world, you will find a limited taste of it anywhere. Tribute has its own individual taste of it.
How does the hotel capture the true essence of Kerala?
The property represents Kerala’s culture, which is visible in its art, interiors, artisanal beverages, and cuisine. Our purpose is to give guests a pleasant start to their journey in Kerala.
To elaborate more on this, we have had artists who know stories of Kerala to curate their ideas on the canvas that is adorning the property right now. Every art you witness in the corridor or around the property has a story behind it. We display arts from an artist’s imagination such as— how the spice trade might have started and some artworks have scenes of the life in Kerala among others.
What markets are you targeting?
Apart from India, Middle East and Europe are our major markets. Also, we are expecting American tourists as they love the art of Kerala and are interested in knowing what the state has to offer.
The hotel opened few weeks ago. What has been the reception so far?
Within India, we have guests coming over from the northern regions who want to explore Kerala. Kerala has been talked about a lot; it has been the hotspot for a long time. We have expected many people coming from the north to experience Kerala.
What are some current hospitality trends in Kerala?
The current trend is that the average stay for a guest staying in Kerala (in one property) is now one and a half to two nights, as they wish to explore various parts of Kerala. For instance, the tour of Cochin (Kochi) is about one day long then they move to other destinations such as Kumarakom and Munnar.
How is the hotel environmentally sustainable?
Our usage of plastic is quite minimal. Apart from using it for coffee sachets and water bottles, we prefer avoiding plastic in our day-to-day services.
How do you tackle the competition in hospitality market?
Presently, we do not have a competitor as the location does not have any other hotel with a similar theme. In the long run, if someone comes with a similar idea then it’s a different story.
This new property houses 54 guestrooms and three inclusive suites, what new additions are in the pipeline?
We aim to convert the backside space of the hotel as events space, mostly for hosting weddings. The existing meeting room is a perfect for a small social gathering or a hangout place for celebrities.
Also, we do not have a spa but we are planning to launch it soon. We have the location for a spa upstairs but a third party will be running the spa for us. The spa is expected to open by next month.
Recommended: Zero per cent alcohol drinks, tea ritual at the Kettle (an afternoon tea with Kerala delicacies) and Kerala thali for lunch.
Highlight: In an effort to boost the Muziris Heritage project, interested guests will be taken on a luxury taxi boat ride to the port of Muziris.