Tourists in UP will soon have many more options to pick from when it comes to a royal stay, thanks to the Uttar Pradesh administration, which has decided to allow all heritage-value properties to convert into hotels. Under its Tourism Policy, all heritage properties in the state that were built before 1950 can operate as hotels. Officials say that this is to meet the growing demand of young travellers who are increasingly looking for fancier experiences while travelling. This means there are chances you might find a fancy Rajasthani-style haveli right in Noida where you can put up instead of travelling elsewhere for the weekend.
According to the policy, all forts, palaces, castles, havelis or bungalows that were built before 1950 and have been deemed as significant in terms of architecture by the state government or archaeological authorities will be allowed to operate their properties as hotels. The properties will have to get accreditation from the state’s Restaurant Approval and Classification Committee. Abhilash Sharma, director, UP Tourism, says, “We’re trying to encourage entrepreneurs and aristocrats from the state to transform their heritage property along the lines of the haveli-turned-hotels we have in Rajasthan. Look at the Umaid Bhawan Palace (in Jodhpur). It is one of the best hotels in the country and it is also a private residence at the same time. There is no dearth of such structures in UP.”
Officials say that since some of these properties are situated in remote areas, work is being done to improve connectivity. Sharma tells us, “The policy even allows for havelis situated in remote areas to be converted into hotels. The only condition is that the owner or promoter of the hotel will bear the responsibility of transporting guests from the nearest point.” According to tourism officials, some entrepreneurs have shown interest in utilising old-school transport modes like vintage cars and renovated horse-drawn carriages for the purpose, to add to the royal experience.
The state already has several such properties running currently, albeit without the tag of heritage hotels. Authorities say that a renewed interest for heritage travel in tourists has been the reason for this push. Sharma says, “We already have enough examples of heritage hotels running in the state. While cities like Lucknow, Agra and Kanpur are replete with them, even the smaller towns have some. There is Unchagaon near Bulandshahr, the Kuchesar Mud Fort near Meerut and a similar property in the heart of Noida as well. Young travellers today like to experience royal treatment while travelling and stay in these havelis and palaces instead of the usual hotels, which is why we felt encouraging more such heritage hotels was the need of the hour.”
Credits ET Realty