In a matter of a few years, Aerocity has emerged as a prime destination in New Delhi. Due to its proximity to the airport, the area until a few years ago was dominated by five-star and business hotels meant for travellers. But today, with its diverse offerings, including hotels, F&B outlets and retail establishments, Aerocity has rightfully transformed its image from being a transit hub to the one playing a central role in Delhi’s hospitality scene.
Bharti Realty, a real estate firm, is responsible for the development of this complex as a mixed-use realty project. Mohit Pruthi, Vice President, Head Retail, Marketing and Brand Communication at Bharti Realty, talked to us about the project. He said, “Aerocity has always been on the mind of people of Delhi, but it was always known as a hospitality district. Nobody thought that any commercial operations related to F&B or retail could exist here.”
The firm has taken Aerocity beyond hospitality with the hugely successful brand Worldmark, which is a 1.5 million sq. ft. zone meant for office, F&B and retail spaces. It houses a number of Fortune 200 and local companies; many fine-dining restaurants and a food court with 300-plus seating capacity. There are also luxury brands stores here, in addition to Central, a 150,000 sq. ft. shopping mall with fashion and lifestyle stores spread across its four floors.
What appeals to the public about this complex is the fact that is has been built according to international standards. All the main aspects of the area, including the architecture, environment and security, have been carefully thought through and strategically designed.
According to Pruthi, the success of this development has been the result of three factors: infrastructure, restaurant formats and location.
He said, “We have been able to give an experience which is aspirational and of international standards. We have invested a lot in creating public plazas, sitting areas, colonnades, alfresco seating etc. We have also made pedestrian-friendly areas. Moreover, there are no parking issues.”
They have also paid attention to proper crowd management and security. He said, “There aren’t any places in this city where women can find themselves in a safe environment, but since this is a private estate which is managed by us, we control the footfall walking into these places. There are no dark areas or menaces like hawkers, strays etc.”
Different formats and concepts of restaurants at The Walk, Worldmark have also added to the complex’s popularity. Pruthi said, “The leasing played a role in giving the people of Delhi-NCR quirky, innovative and intriguing places which the city hadn’t seen. We’ve pulled the monotony out of the city.”
They wanted to create a space that is inclusive—open to customers who want a meal at a food court, as well as to those looking for a fine-dining experience. Pruthi informed us that their approach towards creating the F&B region was family-centric. According to their vision, food should be central to a restaurant’s business motto, rather than liquor—which is exactly the model restaurants in Aerocity follow.
Lastly, he mentioned how the location and better connectivity of Aerocity gives them an advantage. It’s no more a transit point where travellers convene before they take off; it sees visitors every hour of the day. “Mostly these kinds of developments (airport complex) are outside the city limits. The uniqueness here is the ease of access and world-class facility. It took us a little time to break the myth that it is inside Delhi and is more than just hotels,” he said.
The expertly planned venue was designed with the environment in mind. So there is a lot of greenery on the premises. There are also mini nurseries in each building, to keep the air quality in check and keep the surroundings cool.
Originally constructed as a hospitality district, Aerocity has a number of five-star properties. Many international hotel chains have set up shop here. Tristan Beau De Lomenie, General Manager Delegate of five-star properties Pullman & Novotel (European chain), spoke about the hotel circuit in Aerocity: “The proximity from the airports and business hubs of Delhi and Gurgaon make Aerocity an ideal spot. The micro-location has advanced as a hub for luxury experiences, fine-dining, shopping and entertainment.”
Recently, the global A-list nightclub, Toy Room has also opened its India flagship in Aerocity.
Restaurateurs have been keen on opening their ventures in this newest hub. From traditional Indian food to fusion cuisines, Italian to pan-Asian or café menus—customers are spoilt for choice at Worldmark. And it’s not just cuisines, the restaurant concepts are also unique. For example, Plum by Bent Chair is a retail restaurant where everything you see is for sale. Its founder, Priyank Sukhija finds Aerocity as the most evolved hub of Delhi that gets a well-travelled clientele. He is set to open another standalone restaurant in Aerocity, called Dragonfly, which is slated for a May launch.
There are specialty restaurants in The Walk too. Daryaganj, a recently opened restaurant, serves authentic Mughlai dishes. Its founder, Raghav Jaggi, predicts decent future growth both for his own enterprise and for Aerocity in general. “There will always be control of the developer here on the kinds of brands that come in to operate. So a balance will be created of all different cuisines under one roof,” he said.
Zorawar Kalra, Founder of Massive Restaurants, also recently launched Farzi Café at Aerocity. He said: “With a well-travelled clientele, including expats, residents and corporates, visiting and dining at Aerocity, bringing Farzi Café to Aerocity has been a wise decision. With the increasing awareness among people of this place, we are witnessing a good share of new clients from India and the world.”
Cuisines from around the world are in huge demand at Aerocity. Avantika Sinha Bahl, Founder of Kampai, a Japanese restaurant, told us that a big reason for them to be there is the presence of Japanese offices and expats from Japan in this area.
Worldmark Aerocity also frequently hosts events, such as musical performances, standup comedy acts, festival celebrations etc. Hence, it is building a reputation for being a one-stop destination for residents and visitors alike.