Strategic location, diverse culinary experiences driving Sofitel Mumbai BKC’s ascent in city’s tourism landscape

A heady mix of regional and global cuisines, a 24-hour spa, and design elements that combine the best of both worlds have positioned Sofitel Mumbai BKC at a unique pedestal in Mumbai’s tourism landscape. In a detailed interview with TourismFirst, Biswajit Chakraborty, General Manager elaborates hotel’s offerings and how it has carved an enviable niche for itself. Excerpts:

sofitel-mumbai-bkcTake us through the product offering of Sofitel Mumbai BKC.

The flagship of Sofitel Hotels & Resorts in India, Sofitel Mumbai BKC is a gem of Mumbai’s five-star hotels, located in the geographic heart of the city – the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). The luxury property of AccorHotels in India has won several awards and is today in the top hotels on TripAdvisor out of over 400 hotels in Mumbai.

Sofitel Mumbai BKC has successfully introduced the city to a unique mélange of French and Indian design inspirations. The hotel is a unique address where buoyant business meets a chic lifestyle. Contemporary elegance combined with exquisite design create a symphony of style in the 302 guest rooms and suites of the hotel. Cutting-edge meeting spaces and lavish venues, the elite Club Millésime Business Lounge on the top-most floor, a wealth of innovative dining outlets, So SPA, So FIT, a serene open-air pool and its strategic location in the new financial centre of Mumbai make this luxurious hotel a haven for both business and leisure travelers.

How do you position Sofitel Mumbai BKC? Given the proximity to the airport and commercial activities in the vicinity, it must naturally be a MICE attraction? How do the hotel numbers pan out? What percentage of your footfalls constitute of the leisure segment and what is the MICE movement looking like?

sofitel-mumbai-bkc-loh-poo1While weekdays at Sofitel Mumbai BKC mostly bring in business travelers, weekends at the hotel are all about guests spending quality time with their friends and family. Sofitel Mumbai BKC offers a number of unique packages to attract the leisure segment, be it a weekend or a weekday. For instance, the “Staycation” package entices citizens to take a min vacation from their busy life and the otherwise buzzing city, to come and unwind at the hotel with exquisite amenities in each of our rooms, rejuvenating treatments at the 24-hour So SPA with L’Occitane, and sumptuous meals at our five exemplary outlets. We have also recently implemented a luxurious Indulgence package for those looking for complete rejuvenation from their hectic schedule. This includes a reinvigorating treatment at So SPA, pampering sessions at the Savio John Pereira Salon and a range of subliminal, yet, healthy delights from Artisan’s French Bistro Menu.

The hotel’s optimal and strategic positioning in the financial centre and geographic heart of the city not only gives guests easy access to the commercial district, but also to major tourist attractions in south and north Mumbai via the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the Eastern and Western Express Highways, making it convenient for business and meetings with corporates. The new airport infrastructure has also benefitted access from Sofitel Mumbai BKC to the airport and back, resulting in saving a significant amount of travel time.

With a decent sized catering capability and an upscale positioning, how has the niche segment like wedding panned out for Sofitel Mumbai BKC?

When talking about niche segments such as Weddings for example, Sofitel Mumbai BKC does experience its share of exposure on the same. Having the French culture embedded in our DNA, Sofitel always sees to it that delivers a “Magnifique Wedding” experience to all its guests/clientele. The ”Grand Salon Ballroom” and “Hriday” each with their distinctive characteristics provide an extraordinary experience.

The “Grand Salon” with its limited capacity proves to be perfect for an intimate ceremony whereas “Hriday,” being an outdoor venue provides the perfect setting for any guest who wants to tie the knot under the stars. With different offers and packages available during this time, the Inspired Meetings Team will help customize the perfect package for the perfect occasion, be it rooms required, spa treatments, or even preparing the bride or the groom for their occasion.

Not only do we touch upon these details, we look into the minutest of details such as even assisting you to choose a gift from the wide array of options available such as designer bouquets or hand crafted chocolates.  The most important aspect to any wedding is the food, and Sofitel Mumbai BKC sees to it that your guests do not go back disappointed. Our culinary artists work closely with the guests so that they are able to replicate or supply whatever food requirements the guests may have. With some guests who have adore global cuisines, it is possible for us to fly chefs down from other hotels in order to satisfy their demands.

As pointed out earlier we want to deliver a Magnifique experience to the guests and hence do everything in our power to see that we can turn their special day into a memory they will never forget.

How important is F&B offerings in the overall hotel product today and how has it worked for your hotel? What are some trends therein? Has the hotel been able to attract discerning consumers for simply for its culinary offerings?

The culinary artists at Sofitel Mumbai BKC pay tribute to the world of Gastronomy and Wine by combining diverse flavours and textures to create the art of ‘Bon Goût’, with five innovative dining options serving culinary delights from around the world.

One can discover an epicurean extravaganza with the extensive multi-cuisine buffet at the 24-hour Pondichéry Café, and indulge in a range of delicacies serving the best of Western, Asian, Indian, Oriental, Mediterranean, Continental and more. The hotel’s signature restaurant – Jyran – Tandoor Dining and Lounge, serves authentic cuisine inspired from the Northwest Indian Frontier – a land of warriors and poets, with a contemporary style making the experience almost magical. The stylish Parisian café – Artisan, has been designed to remind one of an enchanting French Delicatessen that serves an authentic French Bistro Menu with All-Day Breakfast, fine hand-made chocolates, pastries, house-smoked charcuterie, freshly baked breads, cakes and cheese, and converts into a Jazz & Blues Lounge by evening. Tuskers- Pure Vegetarian Fine Dining is a one-of-its-kind specialty restaurant for the selective eaters and unravels a variety of delectable dishes serving a sense-awakening menu including authentic Gujarati, Marwari, Rajasthani and Jain options, in an exclusive independent kitchen to offer the purest of vegetarian cuisines. Cutting edge and an homage to the “Diamantaires” of India, Le Bar Diamantaire – the lobby lounge, with its stunning design and an unique Wine Tower that hosts over 800 bottles of select Indian and international wines, provides the perfect venue for a meeting of minds, friends and deal-makers.

From organizing themed brunch parties to hosting glamourous fashion shows, Sofitel Mumbai BKC is putting together innovative ideas to always keep their guests pleasantly surprised. They even brought over a dozen International Chefs to India including a French Chef for introducing guests to the flavours of France, a Vietnamese Chef for a taste of Vietnam, a German Chef for crafting sumptuous sausages, cold-cuts and charcuterie delicacies and more recently, Thai Chefs and Lebanese Chef for a Middle-Eastern fare. Together with the cuisine, Sofitel Mumbai BKC has also flown down local artists to give guests not only a taste of gastronomy, but also the culture of that particular country through performances, art, décor and more. These initiatives are just a tip of the iceberg to offer guests with unique experiences.

A hotel is an important element in creating the larger tourism profile of the city. What role does Sofitel Mumbai BKC play in augmenting tourism in the city? What is your USP?

A perfect mélange of French ‘art de vivre’ and warm Indian hospitality, the grandeur of Sofitel Mumbai BKC is reflected in its unrivalled facilities and personalised service from the heart, which is referred to as ‘Cousu Main’ in French. A stay at the Sofitel Mumbai BKC is delightfully orchestrated to offer experiences that awaken all five senses. As the only French luxury hospitality brand in India, Sofitel Mumbai BKC’s unique brand pillars and rituals set us apart from our competition to be one of India’s finest.

Sofitel’s personality is distinguished by its four Brand Pillars offering a ‘Magnifique’ experience: embracing and honouring local Culture; showcasing the finest in Gastronomy complemented by classic French techniques; a dedication to the art of Wellness; and a never-ending appreciation for classic and contemporary Design. These four pillars constitute the pure essence of the Sofitel brand.

One of the main features and services that Sofitel Mumbai BKC offers guests is the one of the only 24 hour So SPA in a five-star property, and sprawls over 6,000 square feet and spells paradise. So SPA with L’Occitane promises a unique and personal experience that combines French beauty expertise with the best of Asian traditions. 

Another distinct feature that makes the brand stand out is its unique Rituals. The Candle Light Ritual celebrates the passage from day to night while creating a special and luxurious ambiance for guests in the lobby. It is performed in great style at sunset, when the hotel’s staff – referred to as ‘Ambassadors’, bring the traditions and legend of Paris – the City of Lights, alive by lighting all the candles and lampshades in the hotel through a Ceremony of Lights. Our Food & Beverage Rituals initiate our guests to the secrets of delicious French specialities and include the Bread Ritual, Breakfast Basket Ritual, Cheese Ritual, Pâtisserie Ritual and Wine Ritual. The Name Plate Shining Ritual is performed every morning at 7:00 a.m. and evening at 6:00 p.m. by our Concierge at the main porch. At Sofitel Mumbai BKC, we celebrate this age-old tradition of shining brass plates by paying homage to the blessings of the day and a tribute to the guests who walk-in through our doors.

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