India Today - - STATES - —Prachi Bhuchar


It may be hard to imag­ine the mem­bers of the Oberoi fam­ily as any­thing but wealthy. But, Mo­han Singh Oberoi, the father of cur­rent chair­man P.R.S. Oberoi, did not have a fairy­tale child­hood. He be­gan his ca­reer as a desk clerk at the non­de­script Ce­cil Ho­tel in Simla in 1920, earn­ing Rs 50 per month. Within a few years, his hunger for learn­ing and busi­ness acu­men led him to a new job at the Carl­ton Ho­tel, work­ing for an English­man named Clarke. Clarke went on to be­come the owner of the Carl­ton, and of­fered M.S. Oberoi a part­ner­ship in 1930. In Au­gust 1934, he be­came the sole pro­pri­etor of the Clarke’s Ho­tel in Delhi and Simla. As the story goes, he then told his daugh­ter, “When you grow up, wher­ever you go, there will be an Oberoi Ho­tel.” In 1948, he es­tab­lished East In­dia Ho­tels, now known as EIH Ltd, whose first ac­qui­si­tion was the Oberoi Grand Ho­tel in Cal­cutta. To­day, the com­pany has over 35 lux­ury ho­tels in In­dia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Egypt, Aus­tralia and Hun­gary.


“We want to be the best, not the big­gest,” says P.R.S. Oberoi. That’s some­thing his son Vikram and nephew Ar­jun abide by as well. The two share sim­i­lar val­ues and are fo­cused on get­ting the brand to new mar­kets over the next few years. With lux­ury in their DNA, most of the new ho­tels will be in the pre­mium cat­e­gory. The com­pany launched The Oberoi Sukhvi­las re­sort & spa in Chandigarh ear­lier this year—the ho­tel group does not own the prop­erty, only man­ages it. In April 17, the group held a soft launch for The Oberoi Al Zo­rah, a nat­u­ral beach re­sort in Aj­man, UAE, which it man­ages.

A new prop­erty is be­ing de­vel­oped in Mar­rakech, Morocco, later this year. This aside, the group knows that Lon­don, New York and Paris are key in­ter­na­tional lo­ca­tions it can’t pos­si­bly ig­nore, and is also look­ing to make its way to Thai­land, Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong in the long term, even though com­pe­ti­tion in those mar­kets is par­tic­u­larly fierce.

HEART FOR HOSPI­TAL­ITY The late Mo­han Singh Oberoi

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