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At Le Mirage, choose between Superman, Bob Marley and other stars for company

Pondicherry-based Prem Kumar Bhaskaran wanted to add a little ‘character’ to each of the 12 rooms in his three-month-old hotel, Le Mirage. Taking the concept of boutique hotels to the next level, Bhaskaran, a post-graduate from Edinburgh Napier University, wanted more than a mere corridor with rooms on either side. So, at Le Mirage on Nehru Street, each room is designed around a famous personality—be it from music, cinema or popular art. “They are primarily characters that I like and grew up on, from Charlie Chaplin to Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and James Bond,” says the 28-year-old.

mir3In his element
Besides Marilyn Monroe, and characters Edward and Bella of the Twilight franchise, there are tributes to Jim Morrison and Bruce Lee. And the rooms have additional accents. “If you choose to stay in the Superman room, you will find hardbound comics from different eras; and if you choose the Bob Marley room, you will find his quotes, music CDs and paintings in the room. Chaplin’s room will feature his ubiquitious hat and cane. Each room will have some special elements,” Bhaskaran continues, sharing that the highlight of the rooms are the hanging tables and two legged chairs. As far as Indian characters are concerned, Bhaskaran plans to have a special room for Thalaiva fans. “Everyone is asking about a Rajinikanth room, which I will work on soon and inaugurate on his birthday. It will not take too long to repaint each room and will not cost much as well,” says the architect. As expected, none of the rooms have a number. Bhaskaran also plans to open a resto-bar and a rooftop restaurant. Till then the food will be supplied from other restaurants in the vicinity, like “Adyar Ananda Bhavan for breakfast, the popular Sarguru or Villa Shanti and Biryani Vidu.’’ As for  the guests who are checking in, Bhaskaran says, ‘‘We have a booking from tourists from Norway and Italy. We also see guests from Mumbai, Bang-alore and Chen-nai who come to Pondi-cherry for weekends.’’

Background story
An architect from Anna University, Bhaskaran shares, “The family has had the sari store, Satyam Silks, on Nehru Street for five years, and then my father bought the land. So we thought we could convert it into a hotel.”
Planning stage

Also running an architecture firm under the name Forma Architecture and Designs, Bhaskaran has quirky ideas for his resto-bar that is awaiting a license. “Instead of the usual Bollywood night and ladies night, I hope  to introduce wireless ear phones and play EDM and open the dance floor to everyone. Imagine what it would look like to those without their headphones on!” says Bhaskaran. Also expect karaoke nights and live bands playing at the premises. “Not many people have heard of Swaram, a store that sells instruments in Auroville. I plan to bring in musicians from there. Also expect something called a ‘bubblegum night’,” he says, refusing to disclose more.
The rooms, categorised as  superior, executive, executive with balcony and suite are priced from `2,500. Details:  0413 2345888

Art on walls
Among hotels in the south that have designed rooms around art, The Dune Eco Village and Spa on East Coast Road and Tanjore Hi are good examples. Promoted by Dimitri Klein, the first sees nouveau art-chic styled rooms. Tanjore Hi, in Thanjavur, has photographs in negative superimposed with pictures of gods and goddesses from Hindu mythology. Details: www.duneecogroup.com

Finding inspiration
As for other hotels that have art, grafitti or paintings in their rooms, Bhaskaran says, “I liked The Spring Hotel in Nungambakkam—they have sketches, drawings and paintings of actor Rajinikanth. Also, their seats have old film stills and pictures,’’ he says,  adding, ‘‘I really liked the furniture I saw in a hotel in Dundee, Scotland, and thought I will create them myself.’’
—Mrinalini Sundar


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