Neelam Kumar looks for her private space when she is holidaying but alas, that is at times unavailable even in a five-star hotel. This quest for her own space and corner has led her to buy and furnish a flat in Goa, one of the country's hottest luxury vacation spots, which she rents out when not living there herself.
"I have an apartment in Goa where I stay when I visit and rest of the time I give it out for rent on a daily basis," Neelam Kumar told IANS. During peak season (December-January) an apartment can cost around Rs.15,000 per day. In November the rent is around Rs.10,000 and during off season, the rent hovers around Rs.7,000, she said.
It is an upcoming trend in Goa and in the hills of north India, where people are buying plush villas and apartments with service support for selfuse and also renting out on a daily basis.
Unlike independent houses, which are rented out to tourists, mostly foreigners, where one needs to fend for himself, these are independent apartments with full support systems similar to that of a hotel. "Washing clothes, making breakfast and some room services are taken care by well-trained staff who are employees in the apartments."
Neelam Kumar bought the flat two-and-a-half years ago in Reis Magos near Nerul in north Goa. Nerul is a vast coastal area with the Mandovi river on one side and green hillocks on the other. She frequents Goa atleast thrice a year. "Almost all my friends have a house in Goa," she said.
"People like holiday homes by the sea or in the mountains. Hence, Goa is a potential place for the business to thrive," Varun Nagpal, managing partner of Vianaar Constructions, which has six projects in Goa, including two under construction, told IANS.
Nagpal who entered Goa around six-seven years ago said: "Youngsters look at it from an investor's point of view."
Taking a cue from the West, these luxury holiday apartments are flourishing in India. "People go over there to enjoy life. Goa has everything. Elderly people come over here to relax while the youngsters come to have fun by the beach," he said.
Another builder in the same space, Sameer Karan Mutreja, director of Scapes, told IANS: "This industry of luxury vacation rentals has been going on in an unstructured manner. Goa is the most popular destination. After Goa, people look at the hills like Kasauli (in Himachal Pradesh) and areas near Ranthambore and the Corbett National Park."
Mutreja said customers often feel that their private space is infringed in big hotels.
Scapes has one property in north Goa at Vagator and is building another one there. It also has a property in Shimla.
Mutreja is now looking at roping in a professional service management chain from Thailand to service these apartments. He said the consumers earn 8-10 percent more rental from these luxury villas. "Innovation is the only way that one can survive in these turbulent times."
However, Garish Oberoi, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of North India, said the sector is still unstructured. "It is in the nascent stage. It will take some time to take off in India. It may need organised hotels and hospitality chains to come into this business to take it forward."
(Aparajita Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)