1050 – Walked into a small, well appointed and neatly furnished room. A utility desk, similar study desk, both window facing, with a neatly made bed facing a nice, large LCD TV were what I first saw. The room also contains a couch (convenient, considering there’s no place for extra chairs), an ironing board and everything else one expects in a hotel room. The telephones were wireless, a nice touch. The air conditioner wasn’t working, which was fixed in ten minutes. My free wi-fi was enabled very quickly and was blazing fast. Caught up with work, posts, Facebook and emails, then grabbed a little shut-eye before making my way downstairs for lunch.
1300 – Joined the rest of the very interesting group of journalists from all over and introductions went all around. Starting with mildly spiced Paneer Tikka and Murgh Malai Tikka we lunched on Dal Makhani, Mutton Curry, Navratan Qorma, Shahi Paneer and hot tandoori rotis. Very balanced homestyle food, with neither a surfeit of flavors or oil, except for the sweet overtones in the paneer of course. Michael explained that the sweetness found in Gujarati food began due to the salty nature of water found natively, continuing on as a matter of tradition or habit thereafter.
1500 – Checked out the Four Points by Sheraton close by, a property I stayed in a few months ago when it was the Royal Orchid, an experience I wouldn’t care to repeat. Stayed for tea and a spread of snacks whilst the GM expounded the virtues of the brand, including a special section on the care given to selection of the beds.
2000 – After a little rest, descended to Lobby level for a banquet of sorts, with guests and customers of the property. Quite like a gatecrashing a wedding, to use a phrase coined by my fellow writers. The food and arrangements were reminiscent of one too.
2200 – Returned to my room and chatted away with new found friends and discovered the possibility of Aloft investing in Neuro marketing; subliminal advertising to be more precise. As I mentioned earlier, Aloft has cordless phones installed in the rooms, which are a great feature. They should however, have important extensions printed on them, as should the main phone unit. also, some bathrooms have soap racks and some didn’t, one of a few inconsistencies, which the folks at Aloft may like to remedy. Interestingly, Avnish’s TV had four Gujarathi channels while the rest of us had the whole lot (new opening issue).