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Riverside retreat

Ganga Kutir, which was opened to guests last Puja in a soft launch, hosted its first big official bash on Sunday. Juhi Chawla was the star guest for the formal launch of the Raichak resort, which saw performances by Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya, Ustad Murad Ali and Arif Khan. Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi with wife Tara Gandhi and Juhi’s husband Jay Mehta were also present, along with invitees which included Kalyani Chawla, Shamlu Dudeja, Kiran Uttam Ghosh and Komal Sood.

But the centre of attraction was undoubtedly the hotel itself. Serene and scenic, it occupies two of the sprawling 65 acres of land which is also home to The Ffort Raichak.

So why come up with another hospitality address so close to an existing one? “The Ffort Raichak is for the family. Ganga Kutir is for someone who wants to be on his own,” explains Harsh Neotia, whose Ambuja Realty is behind both properties. In the past four months, occupancy at Ganga Kutir, about a 90-minute drive from the city, has been 33 per cent, says Neotia. Weekends and conference trips will bring in a large section of the visitors, adds Neotia.

Ganga Kutir is for those in the mood for luxury — and those who are willing to pay for it. Deluxe rooms are Rs 12,000 per night, while premium rooms are Rs 15,000 and the presidential suites are Rs 18,000. Taxes extra.

Around 14 months went into building the 16 rooms in the property designed by Sri Lanka-based Channa Daswatte, at a cost of around Rs 11 crore. A Rs 4 crore extension plan includes 11 more suites. “There will be duplex suites where you can walk straight into the swimming pool from your room. It should be ready by this time next year,” reveals Neotia.

Several parts of the hotel have Sinhala names. While the conference room is called Magul Maduwa or ‘the space of celebration’, ‘the great house’ Mahawasala has three rooms, in addition to Neotia’s own private rooms. The Wahalkade is the reception area.

“All the rooms have a view of the river. It is a retreat into peace where you can commune with nature,” says Channa Daswatte whose association with the celebrated Geoffrey Bawa and his coastal projects in Sri Lanka drew Neotia’s attention. “All the bricks that you see have been made in the kiln next to this place,” he adds.

Planning the interiors took six to seven months. And Daswatte is designing “something similar” for actress Juhi Chawla in Alibaug.

 

Saionee Chakraborty
(Which is your favourite weekend getaway? Tell t2@abpmail.com)

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