“If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies” -- Author unknown.
Chittagong is a city under construction. With an economy going through development, the cityscape is changing at a breakneck speed, and so are lifestyles and tastes of people. It's an exciting time in Chittagong: change brings new hope and endless possibilities, along with the thrill of uncertainty. But accepting this evolution and embracing it for good is what distinguishes the wise from the frail.
Hotel Agrabad, one of the most prestigious and luxurious hotels in Chittagong, is among the wise. Established in 1970, it has witnessed --and contributed -- to its hometown's developments and evolutions over the years.
The hotel had always run the extra mile to delight its customers. “Many decades ago, when our hotel started its construction, we, even in that era, had to have the best,” A H M Karam Ali, managing director, of Hotel Agrabad, walks down memory lane. “From dining utensils to bed linens, we made sure we purchased the world's best.”
And now, more than 40 years later, it is undergoing a bold but necessary step of renovating and reinventing the entire premises.
Of course, when you're choosing a hotel, the standard of accommodation is an important factor. Hotel Agrabad has renovated its rooms recently to better match the modern tastes of its guests. There are mainly five categories of rooms --Royal Suite, Agrabad Suite, Super Deluxe, Premier Gold and Deluxe.
An accommodation in the Deluxe category, for example, contains all the modern facilities a guest can wish for: a flat screen TV, a DVD player, a coffee stand, a luxurious bathroom, complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi service, complimentary access to swimming pool and gym, 20 per cent discount at spa and so on. Hotel Agrabad ensures a lavish stay.
Agrabad Suite, on the other hand, is an extravagant affair, with a living room, along with the bedroom and the hotel staff's doting service.
Live like a king at Royal Suite, the hotel's most exclusive category. The extravagant living room even includes kitchen on one side, with microwave oven and other utensils. Adjacent to a superb bedroom is a luxurious bathroom, which includes a Jacuzzi. With complimentary wine, dedicated butler service et al, life at a Royal Suite is the most regal way of living.
Meanwhile, the hotel has a room dedicated for cabin crew, so that they can come between flights and relax and refresh themselves.
Hotel Agrabad promotes the notion of high tea. “In the evening, tea is served at the common room of the floors,” Md Ifthakher Shafi, manager (sales and marketing), informed. “With the shared space of couches and a newspaper stand and a very cosy setting, we try to build an amiable atmosphere for the guests to mix and mingle with each other.”
At the common room of every floor, there is also a complimentary laptop for your use, with internet access. The business centre is downstairs, although you may feel that much of the things you need are already there on your floor. But of course, for other tasks such as printing, you have the business centre.
Beside the business centre is an open boardroom-type setting, complete with multimedia facilities.
To discuss more confidential matters, you may want to rent the mini conference room. Essentially, it is a large boardroom, with its own reception table, cabinets and a restroom. The venue can also be used for press conferences, launching ceremonies, etc.
To hold bigger events, there are two conference halls at the hotel. Isamoti Hall on the ground floor, overlooking the pool, is the bigger one whilst Crystal Ballroom is smaller in size.
Currently, the hotel is running a promotional offer. If you host a wedding event, the hotel will provide a complimentary room for 1 night with complimentary buffer breakfast for the couple.
As the elevator doors open to Siam Thai Spa, you are immediately taken into a world of tranquillity and relaxation, with soothing music and the serene aquatic sounds of a fountain and the beautiful aroma of the place. Siam Thai Spa offers around 15 treatments.
If it's hard to choose from, you can always embark upon their VIP massage, a relaxing journey that takes you through massages, Jacuzzi and sauna, all in a single, spacious room.
Other amenities include an art gallery, a shopping arcade, a state-of-the-art gym and a swimming pool. “The pool premises will very soon go under a massive re-invention like the rest of the hotel already did, to include a children's corner, a Jacuzzi and other facilities,” Shafi informed.
“The lobby will also be renovated, and the facade will see a facelift,” he continued. “These remaining works will be done very soon.”
Both for the city and its most prestigious hotel, change is in the air. “He who rejects change is the architect of decay,” Harold Wilson, former UK prime minister, once pointed out. “The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.”
Whether one is a business traveller or a leisure tourist, Hotel Agrabad, from its inception, has successfully strived to satisfy their customers in every possible way, summoning for evolution whenever necessary. Change is a continuous process. Re-invention on such a massive scale that the hotel had recently gone through was a daring --but a much-needed -- project indeed.
Now Hotel Agrabad is better and smarter and trendier, and yet wiser and more traditional from the numerous years of experience. It's a new beginning.
Photo courtesy: Hotel Agrabad
For more information, visit www.agrabadhotel.com or call 713311.