Travel Trade Journal
A Collection of Distinctive Properties with Immersive Experiences
Launched in 2021, Brij Hotels has moved from strength to strength, with seven hotels in North India. The brand comprises bespoke boutique properties offering exclusive experiences amalgamated with modern aesthetics and heart-warming hospitality. The hotels are all eclectically designed with modern luxury while showcasing local arts, crafts and culture. Spearheaded by Udit Kumar and Anant Kumar, who have a penchant for personalised, boutique properties inspired by their global travel and that draws on the culture of the local area. Udit Kumar, Co-Founder, Brij Hotels, gives an insight into the Brij brand, its portfolio and its uniqueness that has created a niche in the hospitality industry.
What was the motivation and inspiration behind establishing Brij Hotels?
Brij is inspired by the life and work of my great-grandfather, Babu Brijpal Das ji, who was the Founder of Clarks Group of Hotels. With Brij, we wanted to create a hospitality brand that is synonymous with authentic travel experiences across unique destinations in India. Sustainability, working with local communities and curating hyperlocal experiences is at the core of our brand philosophy.
What is the motto and belief of the Brij brand?
Our motto at Brij is to curate bespoke hotels that offer immersive experiences, connecting guests with the unique flavours and traditions of local communities. We are dedicated to showcasing India’s diverse cultural heritage, celebrating the beauty of each region, and providing personalised hospitality that meets our guests’ individual needs. Whether they seek a luxurious retreat or an adventurous getaway, we invite our guests to discover the authentic charm of India through our take on bespoke hospitality. We firmly believe that sustainable tourism and hospitality practices are the only way forward. As a brand, we are committed to responsible and sustainable tourism practices that protect the environment, support local communities, and preserve traditional crafts and techniques. We work closely with local artisans, craftsmen, and suppliers to source materials and services, ensuring that our operations are socially responsible and economically sustainable. We also strive to reduce our environmental footprint through eco-friendly practices and technologies, ensuring that our guests can enjoy a comfortable and memorable stay while minimising their impact on the environment.
Brief us about the hotel properties that you operate.
Brij currently operates seven properties, with two new hotels – Brij Anarya Dharamshala and Brij Atmanya Bhowali - Nainital, scheduled for launch in May 2023.
Brij Bageecha, Kukas – Jaipur (Rajasthan) - Our newest launch, this is an all-villa property. Brij Bageecha is nestled amidst 11 acres of lush greenery and surrounded with water bodies, fruit orchards, organic vegetable farms and manicured gardens. The resort is pet-friendly and each 1250 sq. ft. Villa overlooks the lake and offers a private sit-in pool.
BrijRama Palace Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh): Brij Villa, Dalhousie (Himachal Pradesh):
This is our flagship property, a 210-year-old palace which stands mighty on the banks of the famous Darbhanga Ghat in Varanasi.
Brij Pola Jawai (Rajasthan):
This luxurious tented accommodation property is nestled in the heart of the wilds of Jawai in Rajasthan. The property boasts four expansive tents, each covering an area of 2500 sq ft and situated in the distinctive wilderness of Jawai Bandh. Guests can avail the services of a dedicated naturalist and personal butler, adding to the overall experience.
Brij Lakshman Sagar, Pali (Rajasthan):
Located in a serene rural setting spanning 32 acres, this property is an oasis that features 12 independent cottages, each with a private pool. The property also includes a historic manmade water catchment and a handcarved swimming pool situated on top of a rock hill, all contributing to the tranquil atmosphere.
Brij Nest Suites, Jaipur (Rajasthan):
A charming boutique hotel, located centrally in Jaipur, that offers some of the finest suites in the city. Each of the 12 suites is equipped with modern amenities and features stunning decor, reflecting the rich culture and heritage of Jaipur. Facilities include a rooftop swimming pool, restaurant, and fitness centre.
Brij Gaj Kesri, Bikaner (Rajasthan):
Featuring 40 rooms, Brij Gaj Kesri in Bikaner is a modern-day manor house that spans 16 acres and is a testament to the Marwari patronage of art and architecture. The property is built on five levels, which include sprawling gardens, three beautiful drawing rooms, a courtyard, a vegetarian restaurant, cafe, 8 event venues and a luxurious rooftop pool. USP: Palace property
Brij Villa is a 150-year-old colonial-era heritage bungalow, which was owned and built by the Lieutenant General of the British Army during India’s colonisation. The property offers six well-appointed rooms, each with panoramic views of the landscape, valley or courtyard. Guests can enjoy on-site multi-cuisine dining and a plethora of indoor and outdoor activities and experiences.
Have you been seeing recovery in your hotel occupancies? Which are the segments that Brij Hotels was able to capitalise on in 2022? Moving forward, tell us about your preparedness and expectations in 2023.
Yes, occupancy has dramatically increased, on all fronts. We have witnessed a huge flow of domestic tourism with an upswing in Leisure and Bleisure travel. There has been a significant increase in the small-scale boutique weddings segment too. We are anticipating a better year ahead. While we have already experienced a surge in domestic tourism, we are still awaiting the full impact of inbound travel, which we expect to pick up in the coming months. To cater to the evolving preferences of travellers, we are pushing for experience-based travel, as more and more travellers are actively seeking out such experiences. Furthermore, we believe that the implementation of the TCS law, which will become applicable from 1st July, will bolster domestic travel. While this law is income tax adjustable, we anticipate that it will impact cashflow and that regular domestic travellers will factor this into their decision-making process.
Having a big base of hotels in Rajasthan, how are your hotels faring in the Wedding and MICE business?
Brij properties are more experiential in nature and works well for the FIT, inbound and domestic HNI traveller segment. However, for Brij Gaj Kesri in Bikaner, Weddings and MICE is a focus segment. The wedding business has been quite upbeat in Bikaner, however, MICE is yet to pick pace.
Tell us how your hotel group is working on improving the need for the guests’ ever-rising expectations and experiences. How do you empower employees to drive the guest experience?
At Brij, we are committed to delivering unforgettable experiences that exceed our guests’ expectations. To achieve this, we have implemented a comprehensive approach that revolves around our people, services, and guest feedback.
We believe that our people are the foundation of our success, which is why we invest in their growth and development. Our employees are empowered to take ownership of their roles and use their skills to create personalised and memorable guest experiences. We encourage them to think outside the box and take initiative to make each guest feel valued and appreciated.
Overall, our focus on people, services, and guest feedback enables us to create exceptional experiences that keep our guests coming back. We are always looking for ways to innovate and enhance our operations, and we remain committed to delivering personalised and unforgettable experiences that exceed our guests’ expectations.
hich are the feeder markets for your hotel properties, and which are the ones you are looking at developing in the upcoming years?
Our main feeder market is the domestic traveller. We are looking to develop travel from tier 2 towns as we believe that the potential here is strong.
We are also focusing on travellers from England, Europe and America. This has always been a strong segment for us and the depreciating Rupee has only helped us in trying to capture this more.
On which merits do you select new properties? Please throw light on Brij Hotels’ growth and expansion plans.
We consider multiple factors while selecting new properties.
● Experience the property/location can provide. This is most important.
● Feasibility of attracting the required customers for a boutique experiential hotel.
● Potential to convert and/or run the unit as a luxury property.
We are currently inundated with prospects as we are seeing an exponential rise in experiential travel. We are building assets in Pokhara Nepal, Mulshi - Maharashtra, Raipur Fort - Pali and Lucknow - Uttar Pradesh. In addition to this within the next 90 days, we are launching properties in Bhowali- Nainital, Dharamshala and Bandhavgarh. We are also exploring locations such as Ooty, Goa, Coorg, and Mashobra with various individuals.
The number of people who choose to bring their pets on holiday is increasing every year and traveling with pets is one of the fastest-growing trends in the travel industry. What are your thoughts on pet-friendly hotels?
At Brij Hotels, we recently launched a pet-friendly hotel, Brij Bageecha Kukas – Jaipur, to cater to the growing demand of pet-friendly travel. We believe that traveling with pets is one of the fastest-growing trends in the travel industry, and it’s important to provide pet owners with options that allow them to enjoy their holidays with their furry friends. Our pet-friendly resort is designed to offer a comfortable and welcoming stay for both pets and their owners. We are committed to providing personalised services and amenities to ensure that our guests and their pets have a memorable stay with us.