Eaton, the 93-room property, is being managed by the Langham Hospitality group and has been developed by Wadhwa Developers. “Being inside an airport terminal gives us little architectural control over the property from the outside. But we have tried to make it as close to what Eaton Smart internationally is,” said Raju Shahani, executive consultant (development and operations), India and Sri Lanka, Langham Hospitality.
The hotel tariffs are based on the number of hours a visitor stays there. The slab begins from five hours, with an hourly extension of up to three hours. Eaton Smart would also have ‘aqua pods’, or shower facilities for travellers eager to refresh themselves for the journey ahead. These are charged at Rs 500 an hour.
However, being the first hotel in an airport in India, Eaton Smart also has to deal with various security and bureaucratic issues. “Getting a customer to the hotel sometimes becomes very difficult. We are working very closely with the airports authority. It is not used to having a hotel in an airport,” Shahani said.
He added as was the case with countries across the world, the trend of transit hotels in airports would soon catch up in India, as airports in cities such as Kolkata and Mumbai are revamped. This would only be hastened by the fact that international hotel majors, including MGM, Marriott, Hyatt, Intercontinental and Conrad, are waiting to start operations in the 43-acre Delhi International Airport Limited hospitality district near the Delhi airport.
Langham Hospitality is planning to open another Eaton Hotel in Lavasa by 2015. The company is also bringing its luxury brand Langham Place to India with two properties, one in partnership with the Wadhwa group and the other with Hindustan Construction Limited. These would be developed in Pune and Lavasa by 2014 and 2015, respectively. “In India, we want to grow in quality, not quantity. Besides, India is a highly under roomed market,” Shahani said.