THE ANDHRA ART & CRAFT HOTEL LAUNCHED IN VIZAG
By Joanne Pereira
Andhra Art & Craft Hotel, a one of its kind handicraft hotel recently opened its doors in Vishakhapatnam. A property of The Bajaj Group that has successfully amalgamated art and hospitality with their other projects like the Le Sutra and Tribal Art Homes in Mumbai this is a unique concept the world over.
The hotel is a ‘Microcosm of Andhra’ in itself, that boasts around 70 sculptures and 50 art installations that weave in the narrative of Andhra’s arts and crafts within the passages, corridors and residential areas of the hotel, making it the world’s first handicrafts hotel.
The Andhra Art and Craft Hotel has been conceptualized and designed by Le Sutra as its third landmark project. The other two being the world’s first Indian Art Hotel and Tribal Art Homes, both of which are in suburban Mumbai and are recognized for tastefully projecting and elevating the myriad art forms interspersed across India and transforming rooms into cheerful colours to brighten the mood of the guests. With the 24 boutique rooms, the property has joined the ranks of the 50 art hotels the world over.
The Andhra Art and Craft Hotel is designed exclusively by Andhra national award winning artisans, interior designers, craftsmen and sculptors. The property has all its rooms themed on craft forms like Tholu Bommalata or leather shadow puppetry, Budithi brass work, Kalamkari pen art and Etikoppaka toys to create an evolved aesthetic expression encompassing the #HeartofAndhra.
The Hotel aims to be a unique destination not only for leisure but also for business and corporate travellers seeking an offbeat experience after boardroom hours. Some of the amenities provided include a secure private beach that stays open 24/7, an outdoor swimming pool and four in-house restaurants; Dusk – A Lounge Bar, Masala Mafia, Mafia Bar and Sea Deck where guests can indulge in specialty cuisines. A special menu comprising Andhra cuisine has been curated for guests. Additionally, each guest is presented with a souvenir at the end of their stay that represents the art and craft of Andhra. The Hotel is also looking to add an Andhra Crafts gift shop with artifacts curated from local artists and craftsmen. With the additional 24 boutique rooms, the property has joined the ranks of 50 art hotels the world over and holds its uniqueness by being the only handicrafts Hotel in the world.
Mitali Bajaj, Vice President – Corporate Affairs, Andhra Art & Craft Hotel said “Our aim is to create the #HeartofAndhra within Vizag and give our guests a curated experience of Andhra Pradesh. By purposefully using an assemblage of traditional and modern handicrafts in the interiors, the hotel not only pays tribute to the cultural heritage of one of India’s magnificent states but also preserves the legacy of its artisans.
The Indian consumer today is well-informed and always on the lookout for new and unique experiences, be it a leisure or business trip and the Andhra Art & Craft Hotel serves as such with its unique proposition.”
Radha Bajaj who hails from the Le Sutra family though part of their immersion in arts and craft admits, “When we embarked on building Le Sutra, I was vary of the project since I felt that it would not only be more expensive but would also require massive investments of time and effort. I was of the opinion that it was better to design a simple but tastefully done hotel as guests choice is mainly determined by its location. However, when Le Sutra was fully developed, I had to set aside my apprehensions as I realised that the idea was a hit and the effort, a total worth. Today, I am delighted that we already have three properties based on art and another in the pipeline. Ours is the only hospitality chain to theme its properties around Indian art, handicrafts and scriptural philosophy.”
At the Andhra Art and Craft Hotel, the rooms are thematically rendered, representative of the crafts of the region. The narrative of the crafts of Etikoppaka, about 120kms from Vizag, yields to its tasteful incorporation in the decor. Likewise does the Brassware rooms. Traditional carvings and sculptures adorn the rooms in their functional form. The Kalamkari rooms are an ode to the legacy of textiles effected in the rich heritage of Kalamkari art. With its evocative earthy natural colours and traditional motifs the medium tells a story of elements of nature within the regional variations of the handicraft. Highlighting the legendary shadow puppetery of Andhra are the rooms done to Tholu Bommalata, the mastery of culling leather figures which have been part of nomadic performing arts in public spaces