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    With reasonable rates, free Wi-Fi and grab-and-go meals, the new Holiday Inn Express is geared at millennials.

    Last weekend the view from my room was a concrete jungle with hints of a coastline in the distant horizon. And that, I discover, is part of the USP for a Holiday Inn Express property — the location. The newly opened business hotel on the OMR stretch is compact and no-frills, and caters to the buzzing IT corridor here with their Stay Smart concept — that includes free Wi-Fi (at 30 mbps) on the strip soon. Located in the midst of tall gleaming corporates, the signage of the eight-storey IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) hotel is visible from nearly a kilometre away and has the likes of HCL and Polaris for clientele.
    Staying power
    I tuck my car into their automated car park (accommodates 28) and make my way to the reception to check in and find no sign of a bell desk. The receptionist helps me with my bags with a big smile and no qualms — reaffirming their policy of no-wastage, even with regards to hands on the deck. Nothing like the fresh smell of new carpets, I think to myself, as I reach my junior suite room (Rs 5,000 plus taxes) on the sixth floor that has a comfy queen size bed with a choice of soft and firm, duck feather-stuffed pillows. Clearly designed for savvy business travellers who often carry their own personal amenities, everything from the toothbrush (toilet amenities are complimentary) to the mini-bar (chargeable) is available only on request. The bath has the much-promoted ‘power shower’ that delivers indeed. While the suite could accommodate a couple, I find it ideal for a solo guest who likes some elbow room.
    Less is more
    Ashish Verma, the young general manager, tells me that the hotel of 136 rooms (including five junior suites) was running full last week. “Surveys have confirmed that a very small per cent of guests actually use the spa or the swimming pool. We have done away with those facilities. Instead, we give you the same high quality stay at a lesser rate,” says the 28-year-old who hails from Delhi and has a team of 25 (all in their early 20s) to run the place. He adds that, here, all the boxes that matter for a business traveller, are ticked — proximity to work, sleep, bath, food and connectivity.
    Plate pattern
    While breakfast (free for in-house guests and at Rs 446 for walk-ins) is meant to be a quick affair with options like coleslaw sandwiches that can be grabbed even as you are walking out, I find myself lingering over the spread that includes the English staples, stuffed parathas and idlis, among the many options. With a single dining area that extends into a bar (not functional yet), lunch and dinner have an a la carte menu too, besides the buffet.
    Rs 3,500 plus taxes onwards (including breakfast). Details: 49256699

    — Sabrina Rajan
    The writer was invited by Holiday Inn Express

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