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Hotels upgraded with cameras and baggage X-ray machines and also required ID for entrance


Terror turns luxury hotels into fortresses
6 Dec 2008, 0318 hrs IST, Rachna Singh, TNN

JAIPUR: The luxury hotels in the city have virtually turned intto fortresses. So now, if you plan a meal at any five-star properties, ensure that you carry some kind of identity card along.

A Jaipur-based NRI settled in the US was stopped at the Rambagh Palace Hotel gates for not carrying any document confirming his identity till someone from the salon accompanied him inside. Obviously, he was simply going to the salon for a haircut before leaving for the US.

Soon after the Mumbai incident, all the city hotels have taken stringent measures to ensure the safety of their guests. And nobody minds it. While the Taj group is once bitten twice shy, other hotels too are not leaving anything to chance.

Both, people as well as equipment related security, are going through a major metamorphosis. So watch out, now even the flutter of a leaf is recorded at these hotels.

Walk in to the Rajputana Sheraton lobby and there are four cameras recording your movement. “We have set aside a budget of about Rs 1 crore to upgrade the hotel security. This would involve hi-tech equipment including car scanning and baggage X-ray machines. About 20-25 more staff has also been added to the existing fleet,” said its general manager Sunil Gupta.

So till the X-ray machines arrive, the hotel is manually checking the baggages. Each guest is requested to furnish their details, identity card and a landline number. “Earlier we used to simply register a couple by a single name. But now we also ask for the spouse’s identity,” said Gupta.

And most important, while being escorted to the rooms each guest is also made familiar with the emergency exit, just in case. Besides, all recruitments done in the last six months are now being re-scrutinized by a private agency after the police has cleared them.

Hotels in the city are now largely using reflectors and hand held metal detectors to ensure there are no lapses. While by and large no walk-ins are encouraged, even those booked through travel agents are thoroughly scanned. “Now guests don’t mind it because they know it is for their security only,” said a securityman at Rambagh.

And it is not just the guests. Every hotel has their service entries under tight vigil. At the Rambagh Palace, a Saras van driving in with supplies was checked with reflectors. The driver was checked with a hand-held metal detector. The rear van door was opened and contents checked till the security was satisfied.

But since hospitality is all about providing service par excellence with least discomfort to the guests, you would see a lot of fresh young faces at the Sheraton. To provide a soft touch to the existing harsh environ, “we have hired few women guest relation executives who will escort the guests and also assist through the guest scrutiny,” said Gupta.