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Hotel Sahara Star: A 3600 Transformation

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Umesh P Singh

Mumbai, has experienced seasons of rapid growth over a period of time. With the changing times, the skyline of the city has  changed, so also the structures in terms of design and construction.  Transforming a hotel from the 70’s into an inspiring customer experience for the 21st century required vision and, most of all, imagination. Hotel Centaur, originally constructed in the 70’s,based on a design of  a Canadian  architectural firm and executed by  the Indian consultancy firm Gherzi Eastern near Mumbai Airport had an unusual circular design surrounded by a lush central lagoon. Over time, Hotel Centaur began to show its age until Sahara India Pariwar decided to transform the Centaur into a five-star hospitality experience. Umesh P Singh, General Manager, Projects, Hotel Sahara Star elaborates on the  architectural design aspects.

When Sahara India Pariwar took over Centaur hotel which was operated by Hotel Corporation of India, the  structure was in a run down condition.  The hotel needed  a 360degree  face lift.  The business model  envisaged retention and release of upgraded rooms and facility in controlled manner.

Construction and expansion of Sahara Star was planned in three phases: Phase-I of the project was completed in October 2007 wherein 223 rooms and nine specialty restaurants outlets where constructed. Phase II and III included construction of 209 rooms.

Theme and  Design Concept

The circular configuration in the design  embraces an expansive green area around a tropical lagoon complete with waterfalls and vegetation in the form of banana plants, ferns and palm trees. The complex also houses India’s largest marine aquarium. Hovering over this impressive space is a vast dome that encloses the area to afford an oasis of calm and a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle surrounding Mumbai. The rooms are located around the tropical centerpiece. Balconies face the lagoon allowing guests to enjoy the view without having to leave their rooms.

The Feel of the  Guest Rooms

The main entrance lobby which is 12mt in height glass enclosure gives the glimpse of what is to be expected in the hotel. The inside facing rooms offer the view of tropical design in the hotel core that embraces restaurants, water bodies and exotic landscape. The external rooms provide a different angle of the bustling Mumbai city with every stay due to the radial placement of rooms.  It was an idea of adding rooms on external periphery of the circular hotel block beyond third floor with a cantilever of 6mt and converting 3rd, 4th and 5th  floors as doubly loaded corridor and the adding large rooms on 6th  floor with private decks to each room. There three  lifts are  made out of doubly curved glass forming a disc of the shape of moon and are  specially designed by architects & manufactured by  Schindler Elevato,  Switzerland.

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