Listed with Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange, The Grand Bhagwati Banquets & Hotels Ltd first launched in 1989. The Surat hotel is the second 4.5-star property. The company also has properties in Rajkot and Indore, and a 3-star economy brand — TGB Express — in Ahmedabad and Nadiad. WHAT’S IT LIKE? The entrance leads into an open space that has a set of sofas, a bakery, a 24-hour business centre, and two lifts and an escalator that take you to the main reception area. From here you need to change lifts for the rooms. The front desk, to the right of the lift, is dressed in mirror work and floral etching. Opposite this, on a dais of sorts are four leather sofa sets around glass coffee tables, which can easily serve as spots for quick informal meetings.
The property is also popular for hosting lavish weddings. They are Asia’s only vegetarian five-star property, which makes it a preferred venue for celebrations as a majority of Surat’s population abstains from eating meat. When the weather permits, the 3716 sqm lawn is much sought after.
WHERE IS IT?
Near the Magdalla Circle on Dumas Road. It is 20 minutes from the railway station and 10 minutes from the airport.
There are 170 rooms, of which eight are suites and the rest are Deluxe and Standard rooms. Each room has soundproof windows, a work desk, free cookies, magazines, 32-inch HD satellite television, walk-in shower, bath products, tea/coffee making facilities, 24-hour room service, a free bottle of water, and an English newspaper. A wifi coupon is offered at `200 (about £2) for two hours, and this can be tweaked to better suit usage preference in terms of both time and speed. Executive rooms and suites have free wifi. Also, the suites, Superior and Executive rooms offer free fruit baskets. Smoking rooms are available on request.
The rooms are brightly lit, play with a royal colour scheme, have grand designs for their beds, and artistic wall paper. In a few rooms the choice of colours can be stark and may take a few minutes of getting used to. While some rooms have a view of Surat’s famous flyovers, others overlook empty fields that can be very pretty during the monsoons. They are arranged in a square around a balcony that overlooks the reception area. The night I stayed, the hotel was full of wedding guests and their loud chatter echoed from the lobby and into my room. Barring that, my Superior room was convenient with adjustable air-conditioning, a large desk with an electric socket within reach, an easy-to-control lighting panel, an assortment of tea-bags and a coffee maker above the minibar. The marble-floored bathroom had a walk-in shower and a tub.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Cafe Piano is a 24-hour coffee shop. This is where the breakfast is served. The spread is impressive with a mix of Indian and continental options, and ends with an array of desserts. Mr and Mrs Somani is a modern Indian restaurant, and one of the top choices for Surat’s social population. It gets its name from the owners of the Bhagwati Group as all recipes are from their kitchen. Don’t leave without trying the paan shot. Zia, Crystal Lounge, and Club Café are the other restaurants in the hotel. Gujarat is a dry state, hence the hotel lacks a bar.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
The ground floor has a 24-hour business centre that serves up to 12 people. The nine banquet halls can be used for video conferences for up to eight locations, and apart from this, the facilities available are projectors, sound system and wifi. The halls have a combined capacity of 7,000 people.
An outdoor pool (not temperature controlled), gym with Precor’s cardio and weight machines, squash court, badminton court, game room, and home cinema give guests a nice mix to choose from.
This is a suitable property for corporate travellers and groups. The soundproof windows do a good job in muffling the sound of traffic, the staff is prompt and succeed in giving you a homely feel. The in-room dining is a limited, but delicious menu.
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in July start from ₹5,000 (£50) for a Deluxe Single room.
Magdalla Circle, Dumas Road; tel +91 (0261) 3980111; mobile +91 89800 01054; thegrandbhagwati. com