Himmat Anand launches India’s first Ehotel in a Delivery Container!

About 18 years again I used to be visiting a really expensive buddy in Perth, Australia – Joyce P. Westrip. She is an acclaimed writer, a Yr 2000 Order of Australia Medal (OAM) awardee, a veritable Indophile and an unofficial ambassador for numerous arts and cultures, together with being a patron and benefactor of a number of vital cultural our bodies.

Her husband Charles Frank Westrip was an especially notable Western Australia Actual Property Developer, an OAM winner, and an avid supporter of the Arts and Music. Charles was the Chairman of West Australia Arts Orchestra, Perth, 1962-1990, Deputy Chairman of Western Australian Opera Firm, Perth, 1964-1995 and Chair, Founding father of Richard Wagner Society, Perth, since 1986.

Each inveterate vacationers, habitué of luxurious locations and highfliers lived in a gorgeous, giant waterfront house. I had the privilege of having fun with their luxe quarters whereas on a quick trip.

As soon as Charles had handed on and Joyce had acquired on with age, she took a call to downsize her life. She removed her luxuriously decadent bits and items – together with a Napoleon Bonaparte Writing Desk, inexperienced vintage Chesterfields, lamps from the Nizam of Hyderabad’s Palace, a bespoke, artisanal alfresco hearth, a treasure trove of artworks, a prize assortment of cookery books so costly that they have been their weight in gold – to go dwell in a a lot smaller sized and less complicated residence in a Senior Dwelling neighborhood.

Although age and well being have been the deciding components for the transfer made by Joyce Westrip; the COVID 19 Pandemic has coerced a complete lot of us to have a look at life, dwelling, luxurious in a model new perspective.

Whereas up to now opulence, ostentation, excesses, exorbitant life-style have been thought of luxurious, the Coronavirus onslaught has made us redefine luxurious inclining us in the direction of experiential dwelling, the worth of time now we have on our fingers, the areas we want to or can inhabit and the advantage of disconnection from an erstwhile 24X7 wired existence.

Given this mind-shift, the journey and hospitality business – simply one of many hardest hit – has sensitized itself to this new regular, taking smart, progressive steps ahead.

Recognizing an excellent alternative to maneuver forward with the instances within the face of such grave adversity have been topflight, maverick hoteliers like Himmat Anand.

A dreamer with an acute entrepreneurial bent, Himmat left the company world in 2007 after having labored an extended innings with the Taj Group of Lodges and with SITA / Kuoni Journey, which included postings in Frankfurt, London and Paris. On the time of his exit, Himmat was the Chief Working Officer – India & South Asia – at Kuoni Vacation spot Administration. He went on to pursue his many years previous dream to launch the Tree of Life Resorts & Lodges in 2010, which right now function in 10 areas. Himmat additionally based a uniquely positioned PetotelA Canine’s Story in three areas.

Within the Fall of 2021, Himmat Anand has damaged the mould to create a brand new product – one of many pioneering ideas on this planet and positively India’s first – with the disclosing of his Ecotainer.

This uber eco-friendly and path breaking idea entails making a lodge in a Delivery container.

I used to be launched, a number of years again, to the idea of creating magnificent dwelling areas in transport containers through the irrepressible Bryce Langston, a New Zealand primarily based actor, musician, filmmaker and environmentalist. Bryce has spent greater than eight years travelling the globe exploring the Tiny Home motion because the creator and host of the favored on-line internet collection Dwelling Large in a Tiny Home.

I’ve been astounded by the sheer magnificence and ingenuity of the properties constructed within the sturdy but stodgy containers; and the probabilities that lay therein. However even for me, the constructing of a lodge in a straitjacketed, prosaic, heavy obligation industrial product has been a completely novel thought. Moreover, what Anand has achieved is supremely aesthetic, straightforward on the surroundings, and an excellent template to construct upon.

So I invited Himmat Anand, the creator of India’s first Ecotainer Resort for a fascinating, eye-opening and educative dialog –

L. Aruna Dhir – How have you ever branded it? What’s the Ecotainer named as? And when does it get launched?

Himmat Anand – To begin with thanks for the very attention-grabbing questions – away from the common!

Being a ‘new’ product class, I wished the title to talk for itself. The ethos behind this product is eco-sensitivity, to no matter extent we are able to obtain it. Therefore the phrase Eco needed to be part of the title. Container is what the product actually stands on.

Thus got here concerning the marriage of each phrases together with the model – Tree of Life Ecotainers, Agra.

I’m opening the Ecotainer on 15 December 2021 with 4 Items to start out with.

L. Aruna Dhir – What put the seed in you to develop a transport container right into a nice lodging area?

Himmat Anand – Rather a lot has been mentioned about Covid and its affect on journey and tourism. It definitely has modified the best way folks will journey in future. Journey is now extra concerning the experiences that one presents.

Covid has additionally put nice strain on the psychological wellbeing of individuals – they wish to get away from all of it, they wish to immerse extra with their environment, they wish to attain out to others for sharing and caring.

Covid has introduced an enormous shift in the best way folks journey. The Ecotainer matches in very nicely with the brand new thought course of. Being environmentally pleasant is discovering higher acceptance with the traveller of the long run. What higher manner than to start out with recycling.

I see the holiday-maker staying away from conventional metropolis centre lodges, away from crowds. I see extra consciousness in the direction of the surroundings. I see area and privateness because the premiums.

This led to the plain query – what can I do to supply all of them of this?

L. Aruna Dhir – Why did you select Agra as the primary vacation spot to start out this challenge?

Himmat Anand – As I ventured into this challenge, a lot of my well-wishers termed it as “loopy”! Utilizing transport containers in creating an eco-friendly resort in Agra gave the impression to be an antithesis of what hoteliering and the vacation spot itself have stood for.

My drive got here from a need to suppose out of the field (actually!) and do one thing completely different, to problem set hoteliering norms and to create one other area of interest for the Tree of Life Resorts.

Agra is simply too deeply related to the Taj Mahal and has an overdose of the whole lot ‘Mughal.’ For me, it has turn into kind of staid and boring, needing a shake up!

Placing up one other conventional ‘lodge’ in Agra would solely add to my wrestle of promoting the rooms as soon as accomplished. Subsequently, I used to be very eager to introduce an uncommon, progressive, unprecedented ingredient.

In addition to, what’s life if dangers are usually not taken?! Furthermore, to craft out a brand new mould and to form new mindsets – which the Ecotainer helps me obtain – is immensely gratifying.

L. Aruna Dhir – What goal buyer base are you for the Ecotainer?

Himmat Anand – So as to achieve success in enterprise you can not anticipate the market to develop or come to you. It’s a must to create your personal market.

Fortuitously for us, the Tree of Life Resorts has carved out its personal area and a section of company who get pleasure from what we in another way provide in every vacation spot.

I therefore see our current buyer base as a super start line for this distinctive challenge. Fairly clearly, the Ecotainer is extra for these wanting an ‘outside’ expertise.

L. Aruna Dhir – Alternately, what cross-section of individuals do you suppose might be to come back and keep within the Ecotainer? With the Pandemic, the consciousness in the direction of surroundings safety and conservation has risen in leaps and bounds. So I believe there could be many new takers who would select this expertise. Your ideas?

Himmat Anand – As you mentioned, Covid has created that robust need in folks to be away from crowds and constructed up areas. So sure, now we have an enormous goal market ready for us – of the curious, conscientious, away from the cookie-cutter traveler.

Given the character of this product, there will even be many excited and charmed first timers to the Tree of Life model.

However I additionally suppose that the normal traveler too is pivoted in the direction of dipping into newfound, avant-garde experiences!

L. Aruna Dhir – Are you able to enlist all of the options of the Ecotainer?

Himmat Anand – The target is to not cloud the ‘container’ expertise and but present all comforts. The mattress is mounted, manufactured from bricks, however comes with a cushty 10 inches mattress. The edges of the containers have been reduce and changed with giant glass home windows and slides to permit numerous mild and recent air inside.

Electrical fittings are manufactured from pure wooden and ropes, to go along with the texture of the construction. We’ve got additionally used jute rugs and jute dustbins.

A big flat display screen tv might be supplied together with air-con for cooling and heating.

L. Aruna Dhir – Are you able to please describe the within area, dimension and the skin areas of the Ecotainer?

Himmat Anand – Ever since I began the Tree of Life Resorts over a decade in the past, I’ve all the time checked out every property of ours from one clear perspective – what’s going to my visitor need? This one is not any completely different.

It can have all of the services {that a} visitor expects when on a vacation. Nonetheless, this time I wish to convey the outside indoors, with focus being extra on the previous.

I’m a complete of round 15 items on three acres of land, consistent with the Tree of Life thought means of staying ‘small.’

It will give our company enormous quantity of personal area – once more, a positioning which the Tree of Life stands for. The concept right here is that whereas the indoors might be sufficient and cozy with 300 sq.ft. plus of area, the main target might be on all that’s supplied outside.

Every air-conditioned Unit may have round 1,500 sq.ft. of personal backyard area, outside coated and open seating, grill and bonfire. There might be a biking monitor, together with sports activities services like Croquet and Badminton.

We will even present some very attention-grabbing excursions to neighbouring locations, together with a ship journey on the River Chambal.

Himmat Anand— Photo by L. Aruna Dhir
Himmat Anand— Photograph by L. Aruna Dhir

L. Aruna Dhir – Are there any distinguishing aspects you want to level out?

Himmat Anand – I imagine that we’re the primary branded lodge chain within the nation to convey out a product like this and on the degree that we’ll.

It has its challenges however I do see us as being the front-runners on this area. I’m already getting queries from folks desirous to affiliate with us and desirous to know extra about it.

As for the ingredient of quirk you say that I introduce into my manufacturers of lodges – nicely! simply the truth that one can keep in a transport container within the land of the Taj Mahal is a big idiosyncratic attribute in itself!!

L. Aruna Dhir – Are you able to enumerate all of the methods by which the Ecotainer is a completely eco-friendly enterprise

Himmat Anand – It’s my perception that it is extremely troublesome to be “completely eco-friendly” within the hospitality sphere. It’s a difficult and costly section to be in and there may be extra lip service occurring, with solely a handful dwelling as much as what they declare on the environment-awareness entrance. And I admit that whereas I’m very acutely aware, I’m no crusader of staunch eco-friendliness as I can not dwell as much as all that it actually wants!

So this challenge is a stability, striving out to do as a lot as I bodily can. The beginning is therefore with re-cycling transport containers, which in itself is an enormous first step. We’ll use bamboo furnishings as we go alongside. A whole lot of timber have been planted within the three acres, making it a inexperienced paradise in about 4 years time. Photo voltaic power might be used to the utmost and we will even encourage the rising of our personal greens, with the help of the native villagers. And most significantly, we’ll make our company acutely aware of the eco-space by way of close to zero plastic use and many others.

L. Aruna Dhir – How comfy are the Ecotainers?

Himmat Anand – As I mentioned earlier, I all the time begin a challenge from – ‘what does my visitor need?’ Like all our properties, we’ll present our company all of the comforts that they count on throughout a vacation.

L. Aruna Dhir – What’s the pricing that you’ve got mounted for the Ecotainer?

Himmat Anand – Right here once more, I imagine that whereas distinctive merchandise command their very own value level, one can’t be too distant from market realities. Additional, with the appearance of OTAs, all charges are bare and there’s no camouflaging.

The problem might be to steer clear of the group of lodges that Agra has, the place pricing is presently depressed. Whereas it’s too early to resolve on the worth level, I see it within the reasonably priced vary of Rs.7, 000/ an evening with breakfast.

L. Aruna Dhir – As a hotelier who has basically developed properties within the luxurious area, how does the Ecotainer match into that section? Does it in any respect, or you might be coming into the price range section with it?

Himmat Anand – Luxurious has moved away from the glitz and glamour that it stood for, a decade in the past. Immediately, there are numerous types of luxurious. For instance, not having web connectivity for a few days within the wilderness could possibly be a luxurious for a stressed company honcho.

In the identical vein, Tree of Life Resorts additionally advanced its personal definition of luxurious once we began out some twelve years in the past – area and privateness being the 2 essential cornerstones.

I additionally am of the opinion that pricing is now not an indicator of luxurious or price range within the bigger sense. The individuality of a product is what instructions a value and given this, I do imagine that the Tree of Life Ecotainers will discover its personal distinctive area and value level.

Source: L. Aruna DhirSource: L. Aruna Dhir
Supply: L. Aruna Dhir

L. Aruna Dhir – The Ecotainers appear to be very nicely fitted to Staycations and Bizcations. Do you agree?

Himmat Anand – Staycations and Bizcations have all the time been there in a restricted manner. Covid has simply created a brief over-hype which is able to fade away as we get used to dwelling with Covid.

I don’t see these segments at their similar degree a 12 months down the road. And I doubt that Agra as a metropolis would be the alternative of those segments.

L. Aruna Dhir – What does the Ecotainer expertise evaluate with? Is there an previous mannequin that may familiarize company to an Ecotainer keep?

Himmat Anand – I doubt that there are any comparisons. The visitor’s need to get pleasure from completely different experiences and {our capability} in assembly his or her expectations is what’s going to decide the success of this new mannequin.

L. Aruna Dhir – Like your different manufacturers, is the Ecotainer additionally pet-friendly?

Himmat Anand – The Tree of Life will all the time be extra than simply pet-friendly – we’re pet-loving!

The truth that Jugnu, my Labrador pet baby is the official mascot of my Model elucidates this.

Sure, our 4 legged company will benefit from the enormous open area that we’ll provide them together with their very own in-room eating Wags Menu, a cushty mattress, sanitized bowls, toys to play with – the works!

L. Aruna Dhir – Are the Ecotainers deliberate as single items or as clusters?

Himmat Anand – They’re Unbiased Items of 300 sq.ft. plus space with hooked up loos, and with over 1,500 sq.ft. of backyard space segregating one from the opposite.

Like I mentioned, privateness and area are the luxuries that the Tree of Life believes in.

L. Aruna Dhir – And to ask you the inevitable query, how is the Ecotainer Covid-ready and crisis-proof for different unforeseeables?

Himmat Anand – We’ll for now, comply with all the rules which can be anticipated of a resort, with out going overboard. Different unforeseeables might be handled as and after they occur.

Visitor and employees security is paramount to us, with out creating paranoia.

L. Aruna Dhir – From a hotelier’s standpoint; I reckon an initiative corresponding to this is able to be pocket pleasant with far much less overheads and growth prices. Are you able to please share your ideas on this?

Himmat Anand – Land price is the primary issue for any lodge challenge and that is still fixed, no matter what class of lodge one places up. We on the Tree of Life are all the time located on very giant parcels of land, however away from metropolis centres. Our land price is subsequently a fraction of what most lodges pay.

Alternatively, we all the time do restricted variety of keys – say between 10 and 20 odd. This key to land space ratio is what drives up the general challenge ratio.

Whereas with the Ecotainers, we’re doing transport containers, we’re not compromising on the standard of what we provide indoors and outside as our company now have a sure expectation of brand name Tree of Life.

So over all, I might say such a challenge is about 20% cheaper than a historically constructed lodge.

L. Aruna Dhir – How do you want to increase this line of e-hotel? What are the subsequent locations you will have considered and why?

Himmat Anand – The Tree of Life is a pure leisure model and we won’t pursue the eco area aggressively as that isn’t our forte nor our intent. This might be a one-off within the Group, a end result of my need of the previous couple of years to suppose out of the field and do one thing completely different.

So whereas the model will proceed with its regular and thought out enlargement within the leisure division, there won’t essentially be one other e-hotel. On the similar time, as they are saying, By no means Say By no means!

L. Aruna Dhir – Lastly, as a quick ahead future chance, would an entrepreneur such as you consider an ecotainer or e-hotel on wheels; the place a visitor might drive their serviced caravan to a set of pre-leased parking spots to select from? Is that idea a chance?

Himmat Anand – Time has come for this section to develop in India. What we now want are established and safe camp websites on in style circuits, the place Campers can park for the evening.

These are just about non-existent, not like as in Europe or America. Nonetheless, we’ll steer clear of it as it isn’t our core competence.

The serendipitous streak in people coupled with our starvation and insatiability for neoteric, offbeat experiences has seen us take the world of hoteliering to tree homes, luxurious boats, cruise liners, ice grottos and extra.

A couple of years again, the famed designer Jean Marie Massaud had envisaged futuristic journey with Manned Cloud that was dreamt up as a lodge flying within the sky like a cloud.

As a matter of reality, plans are afoot to open the primary lodge in Area in 2027 with Orbital Meeting’s Voyager Station. Apparently, Voyager Station is already taking reservations. It’s going to price you a cool $5 million for a three-and-a-half-day keep.

After which there may be Richard Branson based Virgin Galactic which has by now made its maiden flight, and is gearing as much as run common paid passenger service flights as early as subsequent 12 months.

With the Tree of Life Ecotainers, Agra; I’m each delighted and relieved to notice that Himmat Anand has chosen to remain nearer to the bottom and kinder to the surroundings!

L. Aruna Dhir

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