Art Unlocked at Le Meridien Gurgaon
Towering over the city’s skyline, the 12-storey hotel offers five star services and limitless opportunities for discovery, especially art
The first impression you get on stepping into Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi NCR is of entering an arthouse and not a hotel. From the towering Paresh Maity sculpture reflecting a distinct Rajasthani style of art interpretation, Grace in Duality, that beautifully manifests the coexistence of two contrasting egos encapsulated in one single art form to Vibhor’s life sculptures frolicking in its landscaped gardens or a new-age couple gossiping at the valet desk. Then, you cannot but miss the wall mural behind the milky white welcomer’s counter on entering the white Greek marbled lobby – the clay mural depicting the weathering of the planet by the forces of Nature. Turn around and you see droplets of the sun falling into water pond below, signifying the sun’s contribution in creating life. And this is not the end. There is a human sculpture made of burnt wood by Satish Gujral too that looks up above at the wall mural as the waves of life flow past him.
Though it can be a task pulling yourself out of this art gallery as it happened with us, my friend and I, we had to. For we were tired and famished. As much as we were looking forward to reaching our respective homes after a week-long assignment in Rajasthan, our car chose to ditch us. After all, the 10-year-old would have been tired too, having travelled through the sand dunes of Jaisalmer, the lake city of Udaipur and the Pink City of Jaipur. Finding a mechanic in these days of pandemic, even at half past eight in the night, would have been a challenge so we dropped the idea. Taxi cabs were on strike due to the ever-rising fuel prices so reaching home seemed out of question. But then what was to be done with the car and where do we spend the night?
As luck would have it, we were near a petrol pump on MG Road near Delhi-Gurgaon border so we requested the staff to take care of our vehicle for the night to which they agreed. Luck continued its journey with us as we found a place to spend our night comfortably, Hotel Le Meridien, just a few metres away. The 12-storeyed beautifully lit structure, towering over the forever-rising skyline of Gurgaon, is located near Global Business Park and DLF Cyber City.
After passing through the normal sanitisation drill at the entry, we filled in a declaration form of not suffering from any comorbidities and Covid-related symptoms. All this happened in a jiffy and we were, thereafter, asked our choice of rooms. We opted for a deluxe one, double occupancy after we were explained about the 210 deluxe rooms, 53 Club Rooms, 21 Executive Suites and a Presidential Suite in detail. Of course, it was the tariff which made us take our decision. We were informed that there are Premier Rooms too but only for online bookings.
While my friend was busy with the checking in formalities, I found out the hotel boasted of a temperature controlled swimming pool, an international hair salon, steam bath, sauna, a modern spa with private treatment rooms to help relax and revitalise. Alas! We couldn’t have used any one of these services, courtesy the pandemic. However, we tired souls were informed that the state-of-the-art gym was operational. Perhaps we will meet it in the morning.
Done with the check-in, we moved towards the guest lifts. We encountered art here too – the digital screen in the guest lift had a moving art theme with a vivid background. As we stepped out and made way to our room, we saw the corridor windows had human figurines. A closer look and we found it to be dancing shadows. A quick shower, followed by an even quicker bite and we hit the bed. Little did we bother to check out the mention made by the front office about the room (908) being one with a view of the Aravalli Hills. The bed, we discovered, was soft and cosy with reading lamps on either sides and even the option of how one wanted the room lights to be – day, night, mood or custom. We chose the night mode and dozed off.
Unfortunately, both of us forgot to draw the curtains the previous night and the sun kissed us good morning earlier than we wanted it to. By the time the morning cuppa arrived, I sat by the huge glass window, mesmerised by the view in front of me – an unending stretch of green through which the Delhi Metro snaked every now and then. It was a sight to behold! Art, I found, had followed us in our room too – a dancing figure on a pedestal and the ergonomic see-through glass desk.
With so much art around, we decided on meeting the Le Meridien General Manager Sanjay Gupta to find out the concept about it all and a little about the property too. As we made our way through to Sen5es Restaurant to meet Gupta, we were greeted by another artwork. This time by Rakesh K which depicted the five elements of Nature – Fire, Earth, Water, Wind and Space – merging into one to create life at the entrance. “These five elements are well featured and experienced throughout the restaurant, all leading to a treat for your five senses – Sight, Smell, Taste, Hear and Feel,” said a voice from behind as we stood admiring the artwork. It was Le Meridien GM Sanjay Gupta.
He led us to the restaurant and as we made ourselves comfortable, he shared, “Art at Le Meridien Gurgaon depicts birth and then the subsequent motion of life. Presented in various forms of wood, metal, glass, ceramic, paint, flora, it has been accentuated by Digital Art on large projection screens throughout the public areas of the hotel. All unique pieces reflect the five elements of Nature and their impact on life here on earth as experienced by our five senses. All artworks express Life In Motion.” We felt a sudden connect.
Gupta also had us know that each guest room has a 43” plasma television, Bose iPod docking station, complimentary wi-fi and high speed internet access of 1 Mbps, a hair dryer, an iron and an iron table as well as an in-room safe. But life for a General Manager is no bed of roses. He has to, 24x7, be on the job, keep innovating and in cases when situations like a never-before pandemic strikes, plan out-of-the-box to make the hotel safer. Sharing his plans, Gupta said, “There is always a chance that a guest may just walk in and ask us as to how safe the hotel is or has the staff been vaccinated? To avoid such a situation, we’re in the process of creating a small laminated card which will say – I’m Vaccinated. All hotel staff will have it so that they do not have to communicate it verbally. This instills a sense of confidence in the guests, especially when the traction in the restaurants is increasing and social functions too are happening with all safety norms and numbers in place.”
The hotel, informed the Le Meridien General Manager, also boasts of around 3,000 sq m of total conference space which includes a ballroom with a 29 ft high ceiling and area of over 4200 sq ft that opens into well-landscaped lawns with an outdoor wedding pavilion, two deluxe board rooms for 14 pax each with 65 inch LED TV and teleconferencing facility, three boardrooms for 10 pax each with 46 inch LCD TV.
“Then we have Bella Cucina, the award-winning Italian restaurant, that serves the best Italian cuisine in town or Latest Recipe, a global cuisine restaurant that is synonymous to the Le Meridien hotels worldwide and is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between meals. Else you can enjoy at the Longitude Bar, a seamless bar at the hub which transforms from a coffee house atmosphere during the day to an evening lounge with cocktail offerings in the evenings or get to Together at 12th, a freestyle restaurant and bar on the 12th floor serving European style food and innovative cocktails made with locally sourced ingredients,” shared Gupta.
Talking about the innovations he and his team introduced during the first wave of Covid-19, Gupta added, “As our guests couldn’t come to enjoy food at our restaurants, we ensured it reached them. This was made possible when Marriott International launched Marriott Bonvoy on Wheels, the food delivery programme. We encountered many challenges to begin with but then we streamlined our logistics and decided to deliver the food through our drivers than depending on food delivery apps. Four of our vehicles were fitted with a hot box and a cold container for the same. This ensures the food reaches the guest in perfect condition on time, minus spillages.”
As the Meridien GM had other commitments, he bid goodbye, wishing us a comfortable stay but not before sharing that apart from all the other technological innovations introduced at the hotel over the last 15 months plus including a barcode to order food, the most innovative one to be introduced soon was to be the end of key cards to access entry to rooms. “We are in the process of devising a process through which the details including a password will reach the guest’s mobile. All one would need to do is scan and operate the lift as well enter the room. We are trying to make it as touch-free as possible,” Gupta said.
We thanked Gupta for enlightening us on more than we had expected and as the checkout time was fast approaching, we proceeded to our room to pack our bags.
Around The World