Renovated Taj Mansingh may have a floor of service apartments; third-gen Machan opens

NEW DELHI: Taj Hotels is planning to have a dedicated floor of service apartments at its prime Mansingh Road luxury property in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi. The hospitality major feels that in the current pandemic times certain categories of people like expats and corporates will feel more safe and comfortable in an enhanced sanitised property like this.
The planning for service apartments comes as Taj Mansingh is nearing the completion of its first phase of a multi-year renovation that is like to in all cost about Rs 250 crore. “The first phase of renovation covering public areas, including Machan, lobby, two floors of Chambers joined by a glass elevator, and three room floors, at a cost of Rs 50 crore is soon going to be complete. Then over the next three years, the remaining work will be completed. Taj Mansingh is our crown jewel and we have not scaled down our capex plans for it despite the pandemic,” Puneet Chhatwal, IHCL MD and CEO, told TOI.
“We are planning to have a dedicated floor of serviced apartments with small kitchenette in Taj Mansingh. We feel the well off, expats and corporates may be more comfortable in a place like Mansingh than in some other rented place where the control and sanitisation is not as efficient as it is here,” he added.
The number of rooms-cum-suites at Taj Mansingh could reduce from 290 keys to 225 or 230 due to one floor getting apartments and Tatas going in for bigger renovated rooms for greater guest comfort. IHCL had started renovation of Taj Mansingh — which it retained for another 33 years in an auction by NDMC in 2018 — last July. It had a planned a capital expenditure of Rs 250 crore over three years. First the work was stopped last winter due to spike in pollution that led to a two-month ban on construction activities. Then this January work resumed only to be stopped by the pandemic lockdown in March-end. Renovation finally resumed in July.
The highlight of the renovation is the third generation Machan where Chhatwal has introduced a special midnight menu priced about 40% lower than daytime charges. The midnight menu (from 11 pm to 6 am) has Kona Coffee, tomato soup and Hungarian paloc (lamb-sour cream soup) priced at Rs 5 (Rs Five Only) — almost the same pricing that Machan had for these items in 1978. However, each guest will need to place an order for at least Rs 500 to enjoy the Kona coffee and/or tomato/lamb soup for Rs 5 (18% taxes extra).
“Machan was started at a specific price point to be affordable to all. The world was different when it had started. There used to be Kona coffee, club sandwich, etc. Kona coffee was priced at Rs 4-5 for almost a decade. The idea (of the pricing) is to get close to the heart of all people,” Chhatwal said.
“Machan has been a defining part of the city’s culinary landscape for many decades. Its décor is based on Indian wildlife, reminiscent of the days where


were built for game hunting for princes.… We welcome guests to experience Delhi’s much loved institution once again,” said Satyajeet Krishnan, area director (north) and general manager, Taj Mahal, New Delhi.
Taj will shortly be opening its Connaught property in Delhi’s CP.

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