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Missions, attendees grapple with hotel tariffs in Delhi for G20 meet

Aug 22, 2023 11:29 PM IST

Diplomats have been closely following the negotiations for tariffs, calling their colleagues from other countries to find out about the best rates

The missions of G20 member States and guest countries have been grappling with a massive hike in tariffs for suites and rooms at hotels across Delhi-NCR ahead of the leaders’ summit next month, and prices have become prohibitive for all other visitors to the city, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

To strengthen security during the G20 Summit, Delhi Police have categorised different areas linked to the meeting into seven zones. (REUTERS)
To strengthen security during the G20 Summit, Delhi Police have categorised different areas linked to the meeting into seven zones. (REUTERS)

When the mission of one of the nine guest countries attempted to book the best suite at a hotel in Aerocity near the Indira Gandhi International Airport for the head of government, it was quoted a rate of 20 lakh a night, two people familiar with the matter said. And the mission of a P-5 country was quoted a tariff of close to 15 lakh a night for the main suite at a hotel located off Janpath, two other people said.

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A G7 member state was allocated a hotel near the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri but shifted to another near Janpath after it was quoted a rate of 7 lakh a night for a top suite, another person said.

Another guest country was allocated a hotel at Aerocity that quoted a tariff of 20 lakh a night, and it opted to book rooms for its delegation at a hotel in Saket.

This hotel in Saket was not in the list of approved hotels for visiting dignitaries and traffic police officials said there is a possibility of traffic problems in the southern part of the city due to security restrictions.

Rates such as these have led to several of the G20 states and guest countries engaging in several rounds of negotiations with various hotels to lock down suites for their leaders ahead of the summit to be held on September 9-10.

“A hotel in Aerocity was quoting 20 lakh a night for its best suite. By way of comparison, the top suites in hotels in Rome during the G20 summit of 2021 were going for a little more than 4 lakh a night, while the going rate for suites in Bali during last year’s G20 Summit was in the range of about 1.5 lakh,” one of the people cited above said.

With world leaders such as US President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and their delegations as well as large media teams set to descend on the Indian capital, virtually all the top five-star hotels in Delhi are completely booked between September 6 and 12. There has also been a sharp hike in tariffs for the few rooms that are still available in these hotels.

Diplomats have been closely following the negotiations for tariffs, calling their colleagues from other countries to find out about the best rates at different hotels.

Others are keeping a close watch on hotel bookings for other reasons – reports that Russia might be booking fewer rooms at The Oberoi were seen in some quarters as a possible indication that President Vladimir Putin may skip the summit.

The external affairs ministry made an informal allocation of hotels in the weeks leading up to the summit, though some countries did not stick to this after finding the tariffs cited by the hotel to be too steep. Certain countries have also not been satisfied with the hotels allocated.

An Indian official involved in arrangements for foreign visits by the country’s top leaders, who too spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was not unusual for hotels in cities hosting multilateral events to hike their tariffs. “We have also faced similar situations,” he said.

At least two hotels, of which one is located in Aerocity and quoted a rate of 20 lakh a day, with which HT spoke, said that they have not hiked the price suddenly.

“The price automatically increases as per the demand. But we have no idea that a country has cancelled its bookings. Generally, such delegates prefer to stay near the main venue,” said the general manager of one of the hotels.

Vice president of the other hotel said that he has yet not received any request for booking from a country.

“So, it will be meaningless to say that our bookings were cancelled to high rates,” he said.

A Delhi Police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, cited information provided by the external affairs ministry and said 28 hotels – 25 in Delhi and three in Gurugram – had been reserved for the delegations. The Saudi Arabian delegation will stay in The Leela, while the Japanese delegation is at The Lalit and the Canadian delegation at The Claridges.

Representatives of the European Union, the United Nations and its agencies will stay in Le Meridian. The US delegation will stay at ITC Maurya, while the Italian delegation will be at The Hyatt. The delegations from Australia and Indonesia will stay in The Imperial, the officer said.

To strengthen security during the G20 Summit, Delhi Police have categorised different areas linked to the meeting into seven zones. This includes the summit venue, the hotels, and Rajghat, and each zone will be headed by an officer of the rank of special commissioner.

Another senior Delhi Police officer, who also did not want to be named, said special commissioner (human resources) RS Krishnaiah will be the responsible for the main venue, Bharat Mandapam at Pragati Maidan, overall security will be monitored by special commissioner (security) Madhup Tiwari.

The monitoring of hotels where the dignitaries will stay will be under the joint control of special commissioners Ravindra Singh Yadav and HGS Dhaliwal.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Rezaul H Laskar is the Foreign Affairs Editor at Hindustan Times. His interests include movies and music.

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    In his reporting career of over 20 years, Sanjeev K Jha has covered bureaucracy, politics, ISI activities in border areas, music and Bollywood. Presently, he covers crime in the national Capital.

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