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Palatial indulgence in Karnal

In the historic state of Karnal, Haryana, Noor Mahal, opened in 2012, is the picturesque five-star hotel pampering guests with all-round palatial hospitality. Akshay Nayak writes on the amenities at the hotel that make the stay experiential

Drawing its name from Karna in Hindu epic of Mahabharata, the city of Karnal greets you with its wide roads flanked by lush green fields. The soothingly calm weather with some drizzle having just past, the way en route Noor Mahal – a jewel in Karnal, was more than warming and welcoming.
Standing tall at 100 ft, Noor Mahal is an elemental attraction in the city of Karnal. Boasting of grandeur and opulence, the five-star hotel spread across 10 acres, is surrounded by dramatically perennial green fields. Presenting a panoramic view of the lush green Karnal, Noor Mahal is a feather on the cap for Karnal’s increasing tourism potential. Located equidistant from Chandigarh and New Delhi Airport, the hotel is an ideal place to be at for weekend getaways as well as weddings.

Heritage grandeur
The palace-style built-up hotel greets with an astoundingly melodious Rajasthani folk music and dance as you enter in the lobby. The lobby of the hotel itself is a historical hobbyist’s paradise. The silver-coated furniture pieces, opulent upholstery, and age-old artefacts like painting with goldwork, a Swarovski chandelier, a palatial door from a fort of ruins and many more to explore, can be witnessed at this astoundingly spacious area. The hotel’s architecture is a mix reflection of that of Mughal and Rajputana, designed by one of India’s popular architects Himmat Singh.
The lobby leads to a lot of amenities like the state-of-the-art gym, spa, salon, spacious 13 indoor banquet halls and the scrumptious fare at the three tastefully designed restaurants to satiate the taste buds. The all-day diner – Brown Sugar; an Indian specialty cuisine restaurant – Frontier Mail and the chic bar – Polo Bar, each has a diverse spread of menu to cater to the diverse palate of the guest.
Drawing influences from the frontier mail – India’s first air-conditioned train, the key attraction of Frontier Mail restaurant is its impeccable ambience brought about by sculpted resonance between the starry lighting, intriguing F&B offerings and the life-size frontier mail resembling coaches which include the covers to seat at and relish the lip-smacking meal. The 94-cover restaurant also boasts of a live kitchen to let the guest enjoy the view of their roti being tossed in the air or the juicy kebabs coming out sizzling from the earthen oven, before sinking their teeth into them.
Brown Sugar presents a buffet spread and an a la carte menu throughout the day and has the capacity of hosting 106 patrons at once. It caters to all palates with Pan Asian, European and Indian cuisines on offer. Polo Bar is for the aficionados desiring age-old polo side dining ambience while enjoying a range of scented cigars and whiskies. The bar resembles the upholstery, low seating arrangements, and rare old pictures of polo clubs from the era of British Raj.
For dreamy destination weddings, the humungous property spread across 10 acres has an expanse of 35,0000 sq ft of indoor and adjoining outdoor banqueting spaces. Darbar is the largest indoor banquet space at the hotel which can accommodate 400 pax which can be further merged with the Raja Bagh for scalable events. Sheesh Mahal is another closed banquet facility with a capacity of 150-200 pax, which can be merged with the Rani Bagh. Rang Mahal is one more indoor banquet space which can accommodate 80-100 pax. Interestingly, the hotel is booked round the year mostly for weddings and corporate events. The Deewan-e-Aam and Deewan-e-Khaas are the gathering places for families and to observe the invaluable rites of weddings.

Maharaja’s siesta
The 122 subtly designed rooms possess intricate design elements. The Tikwi artwork is seen all around in the hotel and also in the rooms. Categorised in five formats, the rooms are equipped with all the comforts and the luxe design imitating the hospitality enjoyed by the Maharajas of the bygone era. The most iconic of all the rooms and suites is ‘Khawabgah’, the largest in the categories with a living room, two flanked bedrooms, and a dedicated balcony.
Noor Mahal offers activities within the property for the guests. The activities include grappling, wall-climbing, commando nights, etc.
The Tasvir Khana showcases the glimpses of the moments lived by the maharajas and the kings for a visual fare of some of the rare pictures from over the past decades. A swim at Jal Mahal – the swimming pool, is therapeutic and one can let go off the day-long work stress with a pint of beer by the poolside. Noor Mahal is adding more elements like an amphitheater, outside excursions.

 

‘Karnal is a rewarding market for noor mahal’

Kr. Roop Pratap Choudhary, MD, Noor Mahal and Jewel Group of Hotels in conversation with Express Food & Hospitality throws light on how Noor Mahal immerses the guests in royal hospitality

How has Karnal as a market been for Noor Mahal?
You would be surprised to know that Karnal has proved to be an excellent location for Noor Mahal. Karnal and its vicinity have been an amazingly rewarding market and we have regular customers from across the country. Due to our service and offerings, Noor Mahal has become one of the most preferred wedding and MICE destinations in the country. Word of mouth from our happy customers has been our strongest marketing vehicle.

What are the local attractions?
Karnal is a mystical land of Mahabharata and allows immersing in the cultural heritage and rural experiences. It gives a chance to get away from the hustle-bustle of crowded city life and spend time in unpolluted lands, up and close with nature. It is the perfect location for people looking for a staycation or looking for offbeat locations. Among the rustic locales of Karnal is a beautiful lake, the famous Kalander Shah’s Tomb and Chhachhrauli Fort that is a majestic architectural wonder. One can also explore the beautiful lake of Kurukshetra dedicated to the great Indian epic Mahabharata.

Apart from the aesthetic touches, how do you give the lavish maharaja/ maharani experience to the guests?
We have always endeavoured to stay true in extending the royal experience to our guests. Apart from capturing royal essence in the aesthetics of the hotel, every other element is also curated to give the royal experience. We have designed our restaurant Frontier Mail, based on the train with the same name that used to run before partition, to transport them to that era and experience the old world fine-dining. The menu of the restaurant has been curated incorporating authentic regional dishes of the era, most of these recipes can be traced back into our royal heritage.
Our restaurant Polo Bar recreates celebration of the sport of Indian Royals, Polo. The food and drinks offerings of our restaurant have also been designed in line with the theme so that our guests can feel like a part of the same world. To bind all these things together our staff follows the true practices of the warm Indian hospitality across all departments and treat our guests like royalties.

Which are the key visitor profiles for Noor Mahal’s business?
We have happy customers from across the country, but a majority of our guests come from Northern India – Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, etc. Noor Mahal has earned its repute as a favourite wedding destination and we are quite popular for MICE events as well. Though generally, winters are the season for travellers, holidaying and weddings, we are fortunate to have guests coming throughout the year to make memories at Noor Mahal.

What is the future roadmap for Noor Mahal?
Noor Mahal has earned a reputation as one of the most preferred wedding and MICE destination in the country because of our palatial – royal experience which has been incorporated in every aspect of our hotel, ambiance, and service. People are losing interest in contemporary hotels and properties, now there is a positive sentiment towards traditional Indian architecture for an enhanced experience for their functions. This has helped us carve a special place in the hospitality industry. We are promoting ethnic and food cultures of the Indian royal era all year round to appeal to our customers.
We are in the process of expanding our offerings, taking the royal – heritage concept to the next level. Noor Mahal will soon have three more royal and awe-inspiring conventions as well as weddings spaces adding grandeur to its existing royalty, luxury, and scalability.
The year 2020 is going to be a turning point in our expansion story. The group has aggressive expansion plans, and it aims to expand its footprints in other parts of the country including prominent foreign destinations in the years to come. We aim to become the royal abode and an ideal getaway option for every millennial traveller of the world.

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