Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah was completely bowled over by the piece of infrastructure that Khyber Group built in Gulmarg. He hoped his clone goes to work as he stays back in the hotel for some days.
Omar who had a night long sojourn in the resort said for the last 24 hours the only problem he faced was a momentary disruption in his internet. “It is world class, the best in North India,” he said to a cheering select crowd after inaugurating it. “It is no exaggeration that it is the best hotel in the state and one of the best destinations in the country.”
Chief Minister who has been visiting the site as it was being constructed said he was sceptical through and unsure if at all the project will come up. “I knew the scope and scale of challenge the project was,” he said, “But he (Umer Tramboo) did it because he had the grit and the vision”.
Showering praises over the young entrepreneur behind the initiative, Omar said if any person deserves full credit for it is none other than Umer. “Not even once, he came to me with any problem pertaining to this project,” Omar said. He said the other thing that defines the grit of the man behind the project is his keenness to have challenges, achieve targets and manage with the risks. “One good thing that he did was that he did not get any brand name and permit them to market it like that Taj (Vivanta).”
Owing to his brief stint in the hospitality sector before taking over the reigns of the state and his party, Omar is personally aware of the problems that hospitality sector usually faces especially in Greenfield projects. Usually, he said, the new properties opt for soft launches. “They see it in anticipation if everything is all right,” Omar said. “But not in this case. He decided to have a hard launch and the hotel is open now and there is no problem.” The hotel is sold out till January 5 even though only half of it is operational. The spa and forty rooms will be operational in next one year.
Chief Minister said Khyber initiative will have twin impacts. Firstly, it will offer a good address for a particular class of visitors who lacked any facility. The lack of this facility had rendered Gulmarg to a picnic spot where people would come for the day, have cable car ride and return. Secondly, it will trigger healthy competition as the bar is raised for the hospitality sector. But the most significant thing that Omar said was the creation of this facility has broken a psychological barrier. “We were waiting for the non local investors to come and invest,” he said, “But this initiative has proved beyond doubt that we can do many things at our own.” Omar said the hotel is a tribute to the vision and entrepreneurship of Umer Khursheed Tramboo. “It is his day because he put his money where his mouth is.”
At the same time, however, Omar had a word of caution. “The real issue is how we maintain it,” he said. “We are impressed right now but it remains to be seen if we return impressed or highly impressed a year later.”
Chief Minister appreciated the Khyber family for taking care of the ecology of the place in which the hotel was constructed. “It does not look like the sore thumb (as is in case of Sonamarg) that sometimes people want to demolish,” Omar said. “It has been designed and built in such away that it seems part of the environment that hosts it.” He said the spa and other facilities will take the resort to new heights.