After seeking 108 permissions over a span of three years, AB Celestial has finally become Mumbai’s first floating restaurant. The three-storey boat, with three restaurants and a banquet hall, is anchored on the Bandra end of the sea link and will now be open to the public. WB International Consultant and AB Hospitality have collaborated with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.
The boat was earlier launched in 2014 but has been docked at Mumbai Trust Port as it hadn’t received all necessary permissions to operate. “Environment, road and liquor permissions took the longest,” a state official said.
The ground floor of the “floatel” will be a 24-hour coffee shop where as the first floor will be for banqueting. The second floor will be a high end lounge bar and the open terrace will be the sky lounge and dining area.
The boat has a capacity of hosing 660 guests. The food, officials said, is continental and a meal for two persons could cost between Rs 3,000 and 5,000, including drinks.
Currently, states such as Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry already run floating hotels and attract a good number of tourists. Cities like New York, Dubai, Hong Kong and Saigon in Vietnam, have floating restaurants.
If you have been dreaming of a candlelight dinner aboard a floatel in this coastal city, get ready, for in a fortnight’s time you will see one such anchored near Bandra-Worli Sealink, amidst the breathtaking view of the sea. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has signed a memo of understanding (MOU) with a private company to commence the facility at Bandra reclamation sea shore towards Mahim end out of Maharashtra Maritime Board jetty.
Says Paraag Jaiin Nainuttia, managing director, MTDC: “There were some technical issues pertaining to commencement of floating restaurant, which are now cleared. All permissions from every department are in place and sea level is cleared with all formalities concerned. Preparations are on for its inaugural, which we expect to be in a fortnight’s time.”
The floating restaurant has exclusive facilities of three-tiers. There would be an open-to-sky deck with a few galleys and two multi-cuisine restaurants, also a round-the-clock coffee shop and club lounge. It can cater to around 650 to 700 guests at a time. “The floatel would also enhance the image of Mumbai,” says Jaiin.
Many used to organise Christmas, new year parties at Gateway of India seashore, which were very popular amongst affluent Mumbaikars. These parties were however discontinued by the police after 26/11 attacks, when 10 Pakistani terrorists who reached the city through the sea, unleashed an attack that killed hundreds of people. Floating restaurant is expected to attract more local and foreign tourists to the city.
Though Maharashtra is one of the most progressive states in the country, it is way behind other states when it comes to floatels. ‘Flor do mar’ floating restaurant in Goa, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation run floating restaurants, Puducherry tourism corporation’s in Karaikal, Bihar’s ‘Ganga vihar’ in the river ganga, Karnataka’s cruise n dine’, Tamil Nadu’s aquana in Chennai backwaters are a few to name in India.
Globally there are marvelous floating restaurants that include barge floating restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, H2o floating restaurant in Richmond, London, Luz de Gas floating restaurant at Port Vell Barcelona, cafe barge floating restaurant in Paris, sea palace restaurant at Amsterdam, wilhelm tell floating restaurant in Lucerne, Switzerland, the triple-decker floating restaurant, Saigon in Vietnam, rustar floating restaurant in Dubai, tristar floating restaurant Bangkok, jumbokingdom at Aberdeen in Hong Kong to name a few.
“It is an excellent idea for Mumbai, which attracts tourists from India and across the globe. The floating restaurant would be an added attraction,” said Nowzer Dudhmal, deputy general manager, Taj Lands End hotel.
According to Mahender Singh Churiana, global tourism expert, “Mumbai is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations for foreigners but a floating restaurant was long overdue. It’s better late than never.” However, the cleanliness and hygiene of the surrounding areas must be maintained; otherwise people will not visit the place, he added.
The icing on the cake is
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