Luxury hotel chain JW Marriott on Thursday became the first hotel in Aerocity to open after security agencies raised concerns over the proximity of the complex to the runway,resulting in considerable delay and cost overrun. Eleven more hotels are now in the queue to get clearance.
Of the 523 rooms at the JW Marriott,105 rooms are yet to get security clearance. With restrictions imposed by security agencies mounting over the six years since the project was first approved,the hotel has raised a 15-feet high wall in front of the swimming pool,initially meant to be an infinity pool facing the runway.
Sushil Gupta,Chairman and Managing Director,Asian Hotels West Ltd,said: We were always 650 metres away from the runway and about 200 metres from the hangar area. But we managed to overcome apprehensions and controversies,which threatened to delay the project. We are in the process of completing the remaining security requirements.
According to JW Marriott hotel officials,the total investment in the project was around Rs 900 crore. This included Rs 100-150 crore cost escalation due to delay in the project.
The hotel at the Aerocity is the largest of its five hotels in India with 523 rooms spread over 4.5 acres.
Balan Paravantivada,General Manager,said: The rest of the rooms will be opened in about 45 days. They are the ones facing the runway and we are in the process of installing black film on the windows. A sensor-based alarm system will also be installed to alert security personnel in case someone tries to break the glass. This is also referred to as the glass-breaker system.
As a precursor to the launch,the hotel had to construct a 15-foot high wall in front of the swimming pool on the second floor which faces the runway as also in front of the executive lounge on the floor above. Access to rooms from the poolside on the floor above too has been blocked as all face the runway.
These rooms are 100 per cent sound-proof and have a three-layered sound-proof glass system. The final coat will be a black film, an official said.
Sources said other hotels have been asked to follow the security plan of JW Marriott. It is mandatory for hotels to have a biometric system for strict access control to buildings close to the runway. In 2011,the Delhi Police first raised the red flag about a heightened threat perception,calling the Aerocity a potential launchpad for terror attacks. The Aerocity project comprises 12 hotels with a combined room strength of 3,750.