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Scent Of A Hotel (Part 1)

HOSPITALITY MATTERS Aruna DhirTell me frankly, what is the first thing that strikes you when you enter the precincts of a luscious hotel? Is it the imposing Baccarat Chandelier with ear drop crystals reflecting a desire and a promise for luxe living? Or is it the ever-smiling staff, starched in shape and fine tuned to deliver that impeccable service? Let me reveal a secret. Even before your eyes have set a target for appreciation or a trained hand has automatically extended to welcome you into the fold of the star hotel, it is the smell that fills you up with a superlatively nice, inviting, warm, nostalgic or breathtaking feeling, as the case may be. The signature scent of a hotel is such a subtle yet significant branding exercise in a hotel’s scheme of things that the management mandarins spend precious hours and pretty pennies in deciding what should define their property.

A luxury brand I used to work for advanced from Citronella and Mandarin essential oils to a fragrance from the house of Fragonard that came to be identified with the hotel and became a conversation starter with the local and international guests.

Religious rituals and incense have an age-old, time preserved marriage and several Indian regional hotels welcome Gods and guests with an overpowering gust of incense usually scent-smell-fragrance-noseburned up in multiples. If you are visiting a traditional hotel in South India, the choice of the burning incense or the lack thereof will tell you from a distance what kind of establishment you are about to step into. Same holds true for closer-to-home-base hotels in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle-East, even the Caribbean that cling on to their region-intense aromas, almost as a trademark. However, if you move up the profile ladder, you will find more discerning brands choosing spiffier scents to establish their presence in the space they inhabit.

I remember getting my senses massaged by the bespoke smell that seemed to envelope the lobby of The Pierre in New York and travelled deep into the crevices of my suite. I also remember getting my head sent into a spin by the overwhelming smell of freshly baked Brioche that seemed to be the resident scent of Hotel Tivoli Etoile off the Arc de Triomphe in the heart of Paris.

Several top of the line hotel chains worldwide have developed a signature scent that spells out the uniqueness of their brand and as a Unique Impressionistic Proposition, helps them stand out from the competition. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts welcome guests with a ginger-and-bergamot-infused room fragrance called Essence of Shangri-La that is held consistently across the chain. Starwood Hotels & Resorts have used signature smell as an intra-brand profiling strategy. Hence, if Bling tells your nose that you will be staying at their uber-luxury Brand ‘W’, then warmth-inducing cinnamon apple pie aroma at the Four Points assures you that you are in the cradle of comfort. Omni Hotels & Resorts have earmarked a space-wise smell for their hotels. So, if you are in the lobby then lemongrass greets you; their Coffee shops are redolent with the aroma of cookies, while the poolside is suffused with a refreshing coconut-ty trail. The famed Le Bristol Paris is ambrosially scented with, what else, its namesake fragrance that is reminiscent of the 85 year-old hotel’s Parisian gardens with cut grass, freesia, lily of the valley and white rose.

The Park Hyatts have zeroed on a distinctive fragrance for their variously located properties as an individual signature – so, if it is sandalwood for Park Hyatt Paris then PH Washington has chosen patchouli, violet and rose. The swanky and stylish PH Milan has roped in the expertise of famous perfumer, Laura Tonatto, to develop a special scent which is a deft and delicate mix of amber, vanilla extract, orange blossom and musk.

The Indian behemoth, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts uses Jasmine for the overriding whiff that welcomes its guests from the time guests are offered hot and cold towels in the hotel limousine through the time they stay in the luxurious havens of the Group. Four Seasons’ George V in Paris uses “Ambre du Nepal.” Raffles, Singapore, that grand leader of the pack on numerable counts, is clouded under the ethereal waft of Frangipani developed by Fragonard.

For the guests, it is a great reminiscing of a fantastic hotel stay or vacation; for the hotels it is one of the finest ways to stay on top-of-the-mind of their guests in the nicest and most non-intrusive way possible.

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L. Aruna Dhir
L. Aruna Dhirhttp://www.larunadhir.blogspot.com
L. Aruna Dhir is a Hospitality & Feature Writer and Columnist for some of the world’s highest-ranked Hospitality publications. Her industry writings are syndicated to the finest global hospitality bodies and used as references in case studies and hotel schools. Aruna runs an exclusive channel on the award-winning media digest, BizCatalyst 360° called “Hospitality Matters” based on her hospitality industry insight and commentary. Aruna is a recognized and national-poll winning Corporate Communications Specialist, PR Strategist, and Writer. A seasoned hotelier, Aruna loves to present hospitality industry watch, insights, case studies, and analysis to her ever-increasing base of global readership. Aruna has over two decades of experience in Hospitality Communications and Brand Management and has worked with some of the best global hotel companies. In her last corporate role, Aruna was the Director – Public Relations at The Imperial New Delhi, where she was part of the core group and was responsible for re-launching The Imperial as one of the finest hotels in India and Asia. Aruna’s hotel experience includes leading the Marketing Communications and Public Relations portfolio for flagship properties at The Oberoi Group and Hyatt International. She also helped launch the Vilases as the uber-luxury experiences from the Oberoi stable. As an industry expert, Aruna has launched brands, developed training modules, created standardization dockets on business communication, written manuals, conducted Image Study & Positioning Analysis, and led media campaigns of Australian Ministers in India. Aruna Dhir’s successful work tenure with Australia’s Diplomatic Mission in India in the capacity of Media Relations Officer, saw her working on a host of never-done-before exciting projects including the hugely rewarding organisation of Australia-India New Horizons – Australia’s largest ever Country Promotion. Aruna Dhir is the first-ever Creative Writer for the Indian greeting cards giant – ARCHIES Greetings and Gifts Ltd. The milestone puts her in the league of Helen Steiner Rice and Amanda Bradley. While with the company she came out with several series of cards sold under her byline – an unprecedented feat that has not been repeated since. L. Aruna Dhir also dabbles in poetry and has to her credit two titles of Anthologies published and marketed by Archies G&G Ltd. Aruna serves on the Board of Association of Emerging Leaders Dialogues (AELD), a front-running Commonwealth Body that works towards developing leaders and influencers of tomorrow, with Princess Anne as its international President. Aruna has been engaged in freelance work for Doordarshan – the Indian National Television, All India Radio, and Times FM. Academically, L. Aruna Dhir topped at the All-India level in her PG Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising. Aruna has been a Ph.D. scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, akin to an Ivy League in India. She has earned a Senior Management Course Certification from the Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; V Dimension Management Company, London & Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines. Aruna Dhir has represented India to a select group of opinion-makers in the United States, as a Cultural Ambassador under the GSE Program of Rotary International. She has also participated in the IXth Commonwealth Study Conference held in Australia and chaired by Princess Anne. Aruna is a Life Member of the Public Relations Society of India A Freelance Writer since 1987, with articles that have appeared in India’s topmost newspapers and magazines, Aruna is also a blogger, a memoirist with works published on platforms like Medium and a Book reviewer on Goodreads. In her official and personal capacity L. Aruna Dhir has and continues to work on several social awareness projects – People for Animals, Earthquake Relief, National Blind Association, PETA, WSPA, Change.org, Friendicoes to name a few. Born at Allahabad (now Prayagraj), one of the world’s oldest known cities, L. Aruna Dhir grew up and did her schooling in Dehradun, regarded as a prominent seat of academia and literature. After being brought up in the sylvan surroundings of the verdant Doon valley, Aruna chose to make the Capital City of Delhi her second home.

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