STAR RESORTS WILL MAKE FOR COMFORTABLE HAMPI TOURS
Saswati Mukherjee, TOI, Mar 11, 2012
Hampi, India's answer to Rome's relics, is on its way to host star hotels, one of the many pointers that at last India's most exotic ancient site will give visitors some comfortable places to stay.
Hampi's magnificence in stone could never really be enjoyed by visitors because of sub-standard stay and food facilities. After touring the world heritage site, there was no going back to a cozy, well-furnished room. It was believed the site itself was enough attraction - but all that's set to change, with the perception gaining ground that people need a comfortable place to stay so they can live the Hampi experience over several days, instead of running away for want of good rooms and food.
With 196 rooms added to its existing infrastructure in the past three years, and another 274 rooms to be added in the financial year 2012-13, Hampi is attracting a lot of attention, both domestic and international. The heartening fact is, perhaps, the interest being shown by big names and the huge investments they are making in Hampi. Consider this: Hyatt Place is coming up in a big way, building a 116-room star property. Orange County is also setting up shop with a 48-room resort.
Another big chain, Windflower Spa and Resorts, is adding 60 rooms in Hampi and Indo Asia Leisure Services is coming up with 50 rooms there, all in the next financial year (2012-13). In the past, other groups have evinced keen interest in Hampi as an investment destination for tourism.
State tourism officials say it is a giant leap, considering that in 2002, there were hardly 50-odd good hotel rooms that Hampi could boast of. The lone hotel worth any mention then was a three-star facility, Hotel Mallige. "It can be attributed to a combination of factors, tourist count and awareness being the most important reasons for its popularity," said a senior state tourism official. It comes as little surprise that big tour operators across the world, keeping the improved infrastructure in mind, have started promoting Hampi as a major tourist destination in Karnataka.