Thiruvananthapuram: Steeped in nine decades of history, the 17 palatial rooms at the heritage block of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation’s (KTDC) flagship property, Mascot Hotel, bring alive a rich heritage. The hotel, which showcases the magnificence of the erstwhile Travancore, will be elevated as a heritage business hotel with the commissioning of the renovated heritage block on August 17.
Built to house officers of the Royal British Army during World War I, the hotel, spread over two hectares of land in the heart of the city, is the most sought-after place for corporate activities in the capital.
The adjacent Cantonment House, the present official residence of the Leader of the Opposition, was the armoury of the British army. In the 1940s, it was taken over by Spencer & Co to run it as a hotel.
Pauline Gross was the first manageress of the hotel when it was run by Spencer & Co. The quarters of the manager was Keston House, which now houses the KSIDC office, near Raj Bhavan. After her tenure, N.F. Durant took over and she continued till 1950.
The hotel was the residence of Peter Lakshmanan, Sergeant General of the erstwhile Travancore, before it was taken over by the Spencer & Co. The hotel was also run by a private group ‘Menons’ headed by K.R.G. Menon for one year from 1950. It was under the control of the State Guests Department till 1956.
Sandwiched between the lobby and the convention centre complex on the Mascot Square side, the Heritage Block is a classic example of colonial era architecture. Care has been taken not to disturb the open balcony and retain the grandeur of the block. The 17 rooms that have been renovated in the heritage block have wooden floor.
The heritage block now has 30 rooms – 11 deluxe, 7 classic and 7 grand rooms, one royal suite and 4 suites. The classic rooms are on the ground floor and the grand rooms are on the first floor of the old building. royal suite and the other two suites are on first floor. Along with this, the KTDC has shifted ‘Sayahna,’ the outdoor cafeteria, close to the heritage block. Sayahna, which literally means ‘evening,’ is set amidst lush green environs surrounded by plants that bloom at night. Traditional cuisine of Kerala will be the USP.