A hat-trick of presidential honour for ITC Maurya


New Delhi: For the ITC Maurya Hotel, with its sprawling presidential suite, complete with its own library and sauna, it will be a hat-trick of honour as it prepares to host US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle early next month.

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Obama will be the third US presisdent after Bill Clinton in 2000 and George W. Bush in 2006 to stay at the hotel that is close to the capital’s diplomatic enclave and embassy row.

Obama, who will be in India Nov 6-9, will be staying at the hotel’s Grand Presidential Floor for two nights. It has its own library, a private dining room and sauna.

“Obama’s visit is a special occasion for the hotel because it scores a hat-trick for the Maurya, which had earlier played host to president Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Obama and his family – wife Michelle – will stay at the Grand Presidential Floor where the two other US presidents had been lodged,” a source in the hotel told IANS on condition of anonymity as security restrictions forbid them from sharing sensitive presidential details with the media.

The Grand Presidential Floor of the ITC Maurya is a unique suite that “is bigger than a suite but short of a floor”.

“There is no other hotel in India that has a presidential floor quite like that of The Maurya,” the source said.

“The Grand Presidential Floor is named after Chanakya (venerated statecraft adviser to the great Mauryan emperor of ancient India). It is designed to show the power of space,” the source said.

The presidential floor has its “own library, a 12-seater private dining room, its own sauna and steam bath”.

“The bottom line of the presidential floor is opulence, luxury, comfort and style,” the source added.

The hotel has kept its luxury spa, Kaya Kalp, ready in case Obama and his wife choose to pamper themselves with traditional Indian rejuvenating therapies, the source said.

A special valet will be assigned to the US president and “trained teams experienced in serving presidents before will cater to Obama’s needs”, the source said.

Obama had said he wanted a special platter named after him at the Bukhara fine dining restaurant in the hotel, like the one named after former US president Bill Clinton.

Bukhara is known for its traditional north Indian, Mughalai and north-western frontier food.

“The Obama platter will be eclectic with a choice of the best of Indian meat and vegetarian dishes,” the source said.

“We are working on a platter for him. Another eatery at the hotel, Dum Pukht, which will be reopening very soon expects the president to sample its food,” the source said.
Dum Pukht is known for “slow-cooked” Awadhi or Luckhnavi food.

All the 440 rooms in the hotel have been booked for Obama’s entourage. Some of these rooms will be used to host summits and conferences.

A posse of securitymen have already checked into 50 rooms at the ITC Maurya and the adjacent The Taj Palace Hotel to conduct security drill prior to the president’s visit.

A dog squad has been pressed into service.

Why was The ITC Maurya chosen in preference over other hotels – especially The Taj, which was keen to host the US president?

“For three reasons,” the source said.

“It has a grand presidential suite, excellent presidential services and foolproof security,” the source said.