THE CHARM­ERS

TAJ HO­TELS | ES­TAB­LISHED IN 1903

India Today - - INSIDE - —Prachi Bhuchar

TAJ MA­HAL PALACE HO­TEL, ITDC, OBEROI HO­TEL

THE DREAM

The founder of the Tata Group, J.N. Tata, had a vi­sion for his coun­try. He knew that if In­dia was to be ac­knowl­edged glob­ally, it had to have a sound econ­omy and strong in­dus­try. The ho­tel he set up—the Taj Ma­hal Palace in Co­laba, Bom­bay, in 1903—soon be­came the stan­dard by which all other ho­tels were judged. Within four years, it was counted among the top ho­tels in the world by the New York Times. In the years since, the Taj Group’s port­fo­lio has grown by leaps and bounds. To­day, the group has 98 ho­tels across 61 lo­ca­tions.

THE EARLY YEARS

J.N. Tata’s first ho­tel played a sig­nif­i­cant role dur­ing the In­de­pen­dence move­ment. In 1916, the In­dian Army req­ui­si­tioned the ho­tel, turn­ing it into a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal

for 500 sol­diers and 100 of­fi­cers. Though this idea proved im­prac­ti­cal and was aban­doned, the ho­tel con­tin­ued to pro­vide sub­sidised lodg­ing for army of­fi­cers. Many na­tional fig­ures of the time—in­clud­ing Sarojini Naidu and Muham­mad Ali Jin­nah—also chose to stay here.

THE ROAD AHEAD

The In­dian Ho­tels Com­pany Lim­ited (IHCL), also known as the Taj Group, has uni­fied its prop­er­ties un­der a single brand—Taj Ho­tels Palaces Re­sorts Sa­faris. Rakesh Sarna joined IHCL as MD & CEO in Septem­ber 2014. He was in­stru­men­tal in coin­ing the phi­los­o­phy of ‘Ta­j­ness’, which de­fines the essence of the brand. Cur­rently, IHCL is fo­cus­ing on the ‘digital in­te­gra­tion’ of its op­er­a­tions, like most hote­liers world­wide. This is be­cause most ho­tel guests be­gin their ex­pe­ri­ence of the Taj at the com­pany’s digital touch points—its web­site and its new mo­bile app.

POPPERFOTO/GETTY IMAGES

THE LE­GEND The late J.R.D. Tata at the Taj Ma­hal Ho­tel, Mumbai

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