Cycling, DesiPundit, Sports
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No cycles please; we’re a star hotel!

A few days ago, a cyclist was turned away from the Leela Hotel’s main gate to a side parking lot on the road. He was there to attend a conference when his “humble” cycle did not pass the “high security standards” of the hotel. He refused, of course, (even I would!) the security guard’s suggestion to park on the side of the road.

You can follow the discussion here.

This was communicated to the Leela, but they couldn’t say much except that they can’t take responsibility of two wheelers and cycles parked on their premises. And that they have “security” policies that do not allow two wheeler parking. (Check out their Facebook page for their very defensive response). However, “security” is something they don’t offer cars either. The question is why they haven’t accounted for at least one parking space inside for two-wheelers and cycles – surely it can’t be a space issue considering it hardly takes any space to park 15-20 bikes (or cycles). The space offered currently to two wheelers and cyclists is on the side of the road – unsecured and especially so for a cycle.

Though I hadn’t given it much thought (since I haven’t personally visited any star hotel on cycle), I realized that most star hotels probably have the same attitude. While cars and large gas guzzling vehicles drive in through their front gate, the humble cycle definitely won’t pass the “class” test and is made to either enter through a side entrance or has to be left to its own device somewhere on the road. Now, if I did happen to cycle up to such a hotel, there is no way I would leave my precious cycle unattended by the roadside!

I seriously hope the Leela at least looks into this issue. Rajesh Nair, one of the co-founders of TFN and a passionate biker, has been in conversation with the hotel, which has said it will look into the matter.

Meanwhile, Rajesh Kalra has blogged in the TOI about this episode and also about another one where 2 politicians cycled into the Vidhan Soudha and were initially not allowed because they did not know where to stick a VIP sticker on the cycle! But later, they did realize their folly and resolved the issue. However, whether the Leela will seriously look at this as a genuine concern remains to be seen.

He writes: “Hotels are trying hard to project themselves as responsible corporates and spend huge amounts to let the world know about their green credentials. If they were to just get out of their inflexible mindset, they’d realise that there is a lot more goodwill to be earned, and earmarking far less space for parking would make financial sense too.”

In fact, I’m wondering if there are any star or high end hotels in Bangalore will actually wake up now and install bike stands in their premises to cater to anyone who decides one Sunday morning to ride up to their brunch. And this very much possible as the cycling community in Bangalore continues to grow. They will have to sit up and pay heed soon.

Rajesh also mentions that the Ramada in Bangalore allowed him to not only take the cycle inside, but also to his room. Are there any other hotels which are bike and cycle friendly? If you have any personal experience, do leave a comment. Kanishka Lahiri, another regular biker commented that the Taj West End allowed him. The Taj on MG Road however doesn’t have 2 wheeler parking either and I suppose this will also apply to cycles.

Meanwhile, my hunt is on for any star hotels with more “environmental” and “green” policies and attitudes. If you know of any, please do let me know so I can compile a list.

As of now, this is how it looks:
BIKER/CYCLIST UNFRIENDLY
– Leela Kempinski, Old Airport Road
– Taj, MG Road

BIKER/CYCLIST FRIENDLY
– Taj West End
– Ramada
– Ashoka Hotel – GoGreen Rao has posted about this saying he informed the hotel and organizers in advance and they organised parking for him! Photo here.
– The Chancery Pavilion, Residency Road (According to GoGreen Rao, this has been tested by group member Shilpa who recently attended a conference and was surprised to see parking available for cycles)
– ITC Gardenia – I had visited the hotel last week and checked with them about cycle parking. Apparently, no one has made such a request so far! But they have two-wheeler parking inside in the basement and the lady I talked to said it should not be a problem if someone came on a cycle.

Is anyone aware of hotels like Oberoi, ITC Sheraton, Ashoka and the Park? Please do leave me a comment so I can update.

ADDENDUM: In view of this incident, this month’s critical mass ride on Saturday, March 27, is from the Bangalore Press Club to Leela Palace:
Do join in!

Sandip B has some pictures from the ride. Check out the ones where they are lounging in front of the green patch – the group weren’t allowed in – not suprising considering their stand!

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22 Comments

  1. hey anita,
    its so good to see you still so active on blogs and all your activities. i am not sure if you remember, i started my blog after reading yours. it was a long back. i am guilty of not having been regular.

    As for the discussion, i doubt if there are any 5 stars allowing cyclists or for that matter bikers to be allowed in their premises. Atleast none id Dlehi would.

    i wish the world around us was not so pseudo….

  2. There are some things in life that you just don’t do… like ride your bicycle to a 5-star hotel. It’s not about right or wrong. There are many other things that are wrong with the world – but that’s just the way it is.

  3. @Neeraj The first thing you do not do is decide for everyone! If I ride a cycle as my primary mode of transportation, why should I not visit 5 star hotels, darshinis or wherever it is that I need to go to on one ?

    Ah, the unstated “obvious” is that folks who ride cycles don’t do stuff at 5 stars. Well, thats changed, at least here in Bangalore, and we need to make that obvious.

    – Sameer

  4. Thanks Anita for sharing this information!

    These star hotels seriously need to change their attitudes.. and should be showed that the world is changing, and they need to change too!!!

  5. These 5-star hotels are private properties. It is their wish whether they want to allow cycles in or not. That’s all that matters. You have as much right to coerce them to fit cycles into their hotels as they do to ask you to change the paint on your walls.

    That being said, the biker friendly/unfriendly list at the bottom is a step in the right direction. If enough of these hotels guests want to lug around their bikes, maybe the hotels will change to accomodate the majority of their guests’ preferences. At the same time, it is totally their wish to not have bicycles being lugged around their hotel lobby leaving tracks, or ruining their lifts and taking up space for other guests, or being accidentally rammed by one of the ‘gas-guzzling’ vehicles in their driveways.

    It is not always just about class, but plain common sense. It’s not like cars are parked prominently right front of a hotel entrance. They also are usually parked underground, or round the back. Furthermore, there actually might be something to the security issue – there are tons of cases of thieves on bikes going around snatching purses and chains – how many car drivers have the ability to snatch a purse and make a quick getaway? Or conduct an acid attack? And a hotel would a prime location for such thieves. Look up your statistics.

  6. @Phoenix They businesses and need to send out the right message, esp to customers. Its not about what they’re legally needed to, but what they should, and we’re trying to get them to see that.

    Cycles in lobbies ? Nopes, just a parking lot inside their campus, a-la cars, is all one seeks.

    Chain snatchers on bikes. Well 🙂 So ppl should not be allowed to walk in either (cause many do snatch chains and – goodness – run!) And no loos – cause the men might aim badly and screw up the walls. Sorry about the sarcasm – the point is that they’re turning away people who have a perfectly valid reason to be in there for a reason thats not really more or less justifiable on economic, safety, space, environmental or any other grounds as compared to an automobile.

  7. When more managers, professionals, activists, and educated persons (preferably rich or at least better off)will ride bicycles, I bet 5 star hotels will change attitudes, not to ordinary ghisa-pita old cycles but to the chic, costly looking mountain bikes. It is all about keeping your paying clients happy!

  8. Pooja Pillai says

    I know that the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai does allow cycles inside. My friend once cycled over and parked on the premises without any hitches.

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  10. I guess they were clueless on what to do probably coz it was the first time someone arrived to their five star hotel on a cycle. On top of that they did not had any cycle stands 🙂

  11. lavina says

    what would be interesting to see is what they would do if a foreign guest did the same!

  12. lavina says

    what would be inter­est­ing to see is what they would do if a for­eign guest did the same!

  13. I guess there’s nhting snooty about the hotel’s attitude.

    it is simple:

    we do not go dressed in shorts to formal dinners, do we?
    we do not go to to interviewsd wearing chappals, do we?
    wI mean my point is we know the norms/policies, so there is no point getting unduly excited..tomorrow someone might want to come in a tonga n want it parked( a tonga doesn’t take much space, btw) doesn’t mean leela or any hotel should be allowing that..

    Like someone above rightly said, its a private property n its their prerogative to decide..

    it =s just like certain clubs/discos dont allow people dressed traditionally..

    so, we got to go with the flow..I mean why be a rebel when there is no point int it?

  14. Nparry says

    What was achieved in poking at these issues? Seems like a bunch of misguided do-gooders who want lots of photo-ops everywhere. What are they trying to prove by taking a bike into a hotel?

  15. @ shalz: good to see you back! yes, will be a good sign if we can at least see some of the star hotels revisit their policies!

    @ neeraj: and you obviously don’t cycle :0)

    @ kosha: agreed! at least they need to start thinking!

    @ phoenix: they may be private properties but their customers are people – you and me. and finally, if someone is bringing it up, then it’s obviously because they have faced an issue as a “customer”. and no, i don’t buy this bit at all: “At the same time, it is totally their wish to not have bicy­cles being lugged around their hotel lobby leav­ing tracks, or ruin­ing their lifts and tak­ing up space for other guests, or being acci­den­tally rammed by one of the ‘gas-guzzling’ vehi­cles in their driveways.” – we’re not talking about lugging it around the lobby, but asking for a reasonable space to leave the cycle while using the services in the hotel (and not on the roadside).

    @ sunil deepak: it’s definitely a start and they will have to wake up sometime soon!

    @ pooja pillai: that’s good to know!

    @ srinidhi: not just the leela, a lot of star hotels behave the same way!

    @ The Survivor: they were definitely clueless! and thanks 🙂

    @ lavina: if a foreign contingent cycled up and want to go for their brunch, i am sure they will bend the rules :0-)

    @ pravin: i don’t buy any of your points 🙂 i think we will continue to rebel against dated policies because the time has come change. and it’s sure to change – just a matter of time!

    @ nparry: thus spake someone who has obviously never cycled anywhere :0)

  16. D/Anita
    Nice to read u’r blog.. I am a CIO @ my place and receive many IT related invites and all of them would be in star hotels. Most of them i would not be attending but very important ones i attend, i make a point to take my Cycle along. I even wear my GoGreen T-shirt so as to make people understand our initiative of Going Green. (Believe me,most of the crowd would be staring @ me & my out fit)

    I got my Cycle parking in many of the star hotels but later I realized that Cycling parking was reserved to me because of my designation 🙁 however I make a point to meet the top people of these hotels and educate them about our GoGreen Initiative and how they can be part of our initiative by just arranging Cycles..

    Very soon we will over come all these hurdles, its a matter of time.

    “GoGreen for a better tomorrow GoCycling”
    http://www.GoGreenGoCycling.org

    GGR

  17. Last december I went to Leela palace Old A/P Road and there was a workshop on Cycles happening at the basement , I even took a ride on some models to check them out , with in the hotel basement … But this is news to me that they are not cycle friendly … And i for sure dont like this

  18. GoGreen Rao says

    Hay Sunand & Others on this Blog !!

    I missed u all to update about Leela Place Biker friendly, I have turned off few seminar saying they need to arrange Separate bike parking else would not be attending. Finally we had a NVida’s Product launch last 2 months back & their top most guys were know to me hence took an opportunity to insist to install & make permanent Cycle parking area. @ the same Leela palace. On the event day, the lobby manager was waiting to receive me on the cycle and ensured to escort me till the parking area which is fixed on the 2nd entrance. I really felt very happy.. See the same posting on our site…
    http://www.gogreengocycling.org/blr/bfp

    Need to put in more time to talk to other Hotels and malls 🙂

    GoGreen 4 a better tomorrow GoCycling
    http://www.GoGreenGoCycling.org

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