Delhi: Namaste signage, smell of Indian food to welcome Indian returnees

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New Delhi: Hotel staff sanitise the baggages of Indian nationals stranded abroad arrive from Signapore outside Le Meridien hotel where they will be kept in quarantine, in New Delhi on May 8, 2020. (Photo: Bidesh Manna/IANS)

New Delhi: As the first batch of Indian evacuees from foreign shores landed in Delhi amid tight medical supervision on Friday, the Le Meridien in the heart of the national capital is one of the many hotels where some of them will be quarantined for the next 14 days.

The premier hotel located in Lutyens’ Delhi has made special arrangements for welcoming the guests with an Indian touch.

‘Namaste’, the symbol of Indian hospitality, has been put on signboards to give the guests a homely feeling, while arrangements have also been made to offer them authentic Indian food to make them feel at home.

Speaking to IANS, Rajeev Anand, Food and Beverages Manager at the hotel, said, “The food menu is varying. We’ve been really careful in crafting the menu and have concentrated on the local cuisine as we are sure that the guests are looking forward to homely taste.”

Elaborating on the special arrangements made to welcome the guests, Anand said, “We feel honoured that we are able to provide solace to the guests. The ‘Namaste’ signage has been put out to welcome the guests.”

When IANS reached the hotel, the staff could be seen working hard to welcome the guests and ensure that best services are provided to them.

“We wanted to give the guests a floral welcome, but unfortunately the supply of flowers is not available. So we are just putting a note saying ‘welcome home’. We have also drafted a small letter for the guests, which we will share with them over phone and email, keeping in mind the social distancing norms.

“We have also prepared a small daily menu, ‘what’s cooking today’, which will be sent to them via WhatsApp everyday so that they know what they are going to be served,” said Meera Bhatia, Vice President and General Manager, Le Meridien Hotel.

“Now that the government is bringing people back to India, our hotel staff are all ready to welcome the guests for a stay at the hotel,” Bhatia said, adding that she was expecting 20 to 25 people to check-in on Friday.

While speaking about the reopening of the hotel, she said that they never closed it as there were some standard guests who couldn’t leave the country.

Bhatia also elaborated on the arrangements that have been made to welcome the guests amid the pandemic situation. “We have made extensive hospitality arrangements for the guests right from the check-in point. From baggage sanitisation to X-Ray screening, all the SOPs are in place. However, the services will still remain limited,” she said.

Anand said special equipment, including PPE kits, will be given to the staff who will look after the guests under quarantine.

“They are coming back after a lot of hardship. When you are abroad, you always remember home. Now since the government has taken the initiative to bring them back, we feel honoured and proud to contribute,” he said.

On being asked about the financial strain in the hospitality sector, Anand maintained that “we will sail through”.

He said that there have been past instances of pandemics or riots when the sector was equally hard hit, but it came out bravely. Something that he is certain will happen this time around too.