Ours has been the First Luxury Resort to Expand in North Goa: Anmol Ahluwalia, GM, Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa and Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa, Goa
BW Hotelier spoke to Ahluwalia to learn more about his new assignment and the properties that he will be looking after.
ANMOL AHLUWALIA, with over 18 years of experience of being associated with the hospitality industry during which he worked with renowned brands like The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), he has been recently appointed as the GM for Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa and Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa, Goa. BW Hotelier spoke to Ahluwalia to learn more about his new assignment and the properties that he will be looking after.
Being associated with IHCL for a long time, what were the challenges and opportunities faced by you during your stint throughout?
Anmol Ahluwalia: I think the biggest opportunity is to do what I love doing the most, exploring new places, meeting new people and using my creative thinking and out-of-box approach to create win-win situations for everyone. The challenge has been that I get to see my parents less as work engulfs me more and I wish I had a magic wand to get to my hometown more often.
With your recent appointment at the two Taj properties in North Goa, what new additions in terms of value and experiences, renovations, etc., are you considering to add at both of them?
AA: We are very active with our approach in renovations for both the resorts. We have recently undergone holistic renovation for Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa and will be soon launching luxury lounge for our Villa guests. We make sure that product remains impeccable and compliments the Taj service standards. We are in continuous efforts for refurbishing our rooms and enhancing the heritage architecture of both the resorts. Constant engagements with our guests at multiple levels, be it housekeeping, front office, food and beverage, etc., which inculcates a sense of trust amongst our guests.
North Goa being a leisure beach destination, what is the ratio of clientele including family & friends, social gatherings, FITs, etc., received by both the properties? How are the properties strategically positioned for easy access to both domestic and international travellers?
AA: Both resorts witness an 80% transient and the balance in MICE segment. Our offerings of multiple customised packages help our transient travellers to select an apt offer based on their need. (Bed and breakfast, holiday packages, exclusive villa offers, etc., to name a few).
We are located in the heart of the entertainment hub of Goa. It’s the only hotel chain wherein two legendary five-star hotels are located in such close proximity offering multiple options to our guests whilst their stay. Our guests have options to choose between 15 different room categories from well-manicured gardens to breath-taking sea views. Our six dining outlets (four speciality restaurants and two all-day dining restaurants) allow them to indulge in gourmet experiences. One of our USPs is the kids’ activity centre and swimming pool at both the resorts overlooking the Arabian Sea. We also like to pamper our guests with our signature Jiva Spa treatments that leaves no stone unturned in fulfilling their expectations of a perfect holiday.
Do you receive corporate groups at the resort as well? If yes what are the facilities made for them including conference halls, F&B, accommodation, etc.?
AA: The hotel witnesses a steady movement from MICE segment year on year. We are here to enhance their experience each time they visit our resorts. Exclusive conference packages are offered based on their requirement. The resorts have two unique indoor conference halls and multiple options of outdoor venues for gala dinners, brainstorming sessions and group activities. A perfect spot that breaks the routine of a corporate life.
Patrons recognise Goa for its old-world charm of architecture as well as visit the state to get local experiences, how do the two properties under your surveillance serve up to the varied needs of the modern-day traveller?
AA: Both the resorts have history woven in their walls, where Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa has inherited Goan Portuguese infrastructure and Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa is built on a village theme. Our Taj Signature welcome with Goan serenades and kokum kitchen revives their memory that they have arrived in Goa. Our local experiences include Goan thali at Morisco and Chef’s Rego gourmet experience at our speciality restaurants.
The modern-day traveller looks for serene experience, for which we offer our guests to have a private dining experience at their Villa or make selections from six exemplary kitchen offering world cuisines. Our presence on the mobile app, allows our guests to book their room as per their preference.
Since you also levy certain privilege to long-staying guests, what efforts are you taking to further thrust the concept among the guests?
AA: We welcome our guest as they are family to us! Right from the arrival at the airport, welcoming them with their first name, ensuring every minute preference of their visit is duly executed at the time of their first interaction with our hotel. We offer special discounts on laundry, food and beverage and spa. Our guests engage in adventure activities to live each day with a new experience. With our Jiva Spa therapists and endless options to relax at the resort, they feel it to be a perfect holiday destination.
Goa being a high inventory-supply market, with many standalone as well as international hotel brands crowded in the state, what factors do you consider to keep the resorts well received by guests?
AA: We have been the first luxury resort to expand in North Goa and this location grew around our resorts. The resorts have grown as a destination in itself. For IHCL, Taj Signature hospitality and brand positioning has been of paramount significance. To the first timers what attracts them is the location and experience of being around the ramparts of 16th-century Portuguese fort and sheer proximity to the beach. We have guests who have got married at our resorts and are planning auspicious weddings of their children, the level of association has grown over decades at both the properties. The team at the hotel does constant engagement with the guests, our chef’s interact with the guests to know their food preferences, housekeeping team does their interactions to more about their in-room preferences. The resorts conduct frequent engagements over cocktails evening, during the festive period, the hotel does exquisite turndowns. For our patrons we always make them feel special by offering special discounts on laundry, food and beverages and Spa consumptions. There is the sense of belongingness guests have, their interactions with our associates gives them a sense of comfort. Whether its nostalgia or sense of belongingness with our levels of service, the connection that we have with our guests is well received by them. They look forward to their future visits.
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