‘A better tomorrow starts with changes made today’

ITC’s hotels integrate India’s fine tradition of hospitality with globally benchmarked services to reflect the culture and ethos of each destination, says Amaan Kidwai, Area Manager Luxury Hotels (North) & General Manager ITC Maurya

In 1996, a young man started his career as a hotel executive trainee at ITC’s Hotel Management Institute in Gurugram. Upon completion of the two-year programme across departments, he was posted to ITC Kakatiya in Hyderabad. Thereafter, Amaan Kidwai moved to Sheraton New Delhi as the restaurant manager, responsible for the launch of the first Pan-Asian restaurant. Thereafter, he worked at ITC Sonar Kolkata and ITC Windsor Bengaluru before moving as part of the pre-opening team at ITC Gardenia as Executive Assistant Manager, Food & Beverage. 

“I then moved to ITC Grand Chola Chennai as Resident Manager before returning to ITC Gardenia as General Manager. After a successful stint as General Manager, ITC Gardenia, I moved to Delhi in 2019 to oversee the Welcomhotel brand in the North. In this tenure, I steered new hotel launches including Welcomhotel Jim Corbett and Welcomhotel Manali and the first Storii hotel in the north – Amoha Retreat at Dharamshala. Besides this, I was actively involved in providing operational and technical support to upcoming Welcomhotels and Storii properties in the region,” shares Kidwai, Area Manager - Luxury Hotels (North) & General Manager ITC Maurya.

Whilst at ITC Gardenia, Kidwai led the team through the most trying times of the pandemic and with his stint as Area Manager Welcomhotels North contributing majorly to solidify the growth of brand Welcomhotel across multiple destinations in the north. “With a tenure of over 25 years with ITC Hotels, I aim to drive operational excellence across all ITC Hotels (ITC Maurya-New Delhi, ITC Grand Bharat-Gurugram, ITC Mughal-Agra and ITC Rajputana-Jaipur) and properties under brand Mementos in the Northern region,” he says.

SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVES

Early this year, ITC Mughal achieved LEED Zero Water Certification and became first global hotel to get the award. More recently, ITC Rajputana achieved the same certification. “These properties in the north have been following a sustainable process which ensures that water requirements for its buildings and processes are met by capturing rainwater and treating it for appropriate consumption. Embodying ‘Responsible Luxury’ as its guiding premise, ITC’s hotels integrate India’s fine tradition of hospitality with globally benchmarked services to reflect the culture and ethos of each destination, through a collection of hotels. With sustainability being the bedrock of all operations, ITC Hotels is the largest hotel chains in the world with the maximum number of LEED® Platinum Certified properties,” informs Kidwai.

On how he intends to align ITC Maurya and other properties in the north with ITC’s global sustainability standards, he says, “As a LEED Platinum certified property rated by the US Green Building Council, ITC Maurya (for existing buildings) is following sustainable processes for renewable energy, recycling water, treating / recycling solid waste and sourcing consumables locally.  We follow eco-sensitive architecture and design protocols for a brighter tomorrow. With new-age travellers preferring to stay at Green Hotels that promote sustainable tourism, ITC Maurya remains the most preferred choice of stay in Delhi.” He adds that ITC Maurya is amongst the first in the hospitality landscape to have set a new benchmark in indoor air quality. Apart from achieving the results, the hotel has dynamic plaques in the public areas displaying real time measurement. “While it will be difficult to bifurcate in absolute terms, however, at ITC Hotels in the north, we have seen guests appreciating our new initiatives that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient such as green banqueting, alfresco dining and Sunya Aqua – Zero Mile Water,” he avers.

OPERATIONAL ASPECTS, TALENT AND INCLUSIVITY

ITC Hotels, shares Kidwai, believes that everyone should be treated with sensitivity and empathy. “We have many specially abled colleagues, both in heart of the house as well as guest facing areas. Further, with a focus to strengthen and add diverse experience to our teams, we will build on our team to ensure greater Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across levels,” he says.

Likewise, technology has provided newer opportunities for re-skilling of the teams. “At all times, ITC Hotels has pioneered talent centric initiatives and endeavoured to be an Employer of Choice. Through this programme, we nurture young students who intern with ITC Hotels to gain a holistic view of the industry, thereby enabling them to make an informed decision and build a career within the industry,” he adds.

GUEST EXPERIENCE

As ITC Maurya is renowned for hosting heads of states, celebrities and corporate leaders, Kidwai says the hotel presents an ambience immersed in history that pays a tribute to the Golden Age of the Mauryan dynasty – the first one of India’s empire builders dating back to the 3rd century BC. “From stringent security measures to a collection of culinary destinations, alongside magnificent conference and banquet venues, ITC Maurya epitomises the luxury hotel experience in New Delhi. It is indisputably a haven for art aficionados and food gourmands with deep-rooted and globally acclaimed brands to nurture – Bukhara for Indian North-West frontier cuisine and the Dum Pukht for royal Awadhi cuisine,” he informs.

Under luxury hotels – North portfolio, the differentiated character of each hotel – ITC Grand Bharat, ITC Rajputana and ITC Mughal, coupled with indigenous experiences and affirmation of Responsible Luxury is what makes every ITC hotel unique without compromising the earth and sustainability. “We believe that a better tomorrow starts with the changes we make today. Guided by ethos of Responsible Luxury, ITC Hotels is continually striving towards the goal of operating in a single–use-plastic free environment. Likewise, the extensive use of natural light within ITC Hotels helps in creating comfortable spaces for our guests while lowering electricity consumption,” Kidwai says. 

FUTURE PLANS

“As a hospitality chain, it will be our constant endeavour to redefine and repurpose our places and experiences. Responsible Luxury is luxury with a conscience, aims at providing world-class luxury experiences and addressing the needs of the guests and other stakeholders through responsible practices which are in harmony with the environment and society. There’s a resurgence in the big fat Indian wedding business and leisure travel/staycations have grown manifold. From extravagant intimate family functions at our luxurious venues to large-scale receptions, market is buoyant and would further boost both occupancy and average room rates,” he says.

Likewise, the award-winning and pioneering brand of ITC Hotels, Avartana at ITC Grand Chola and ITC Royal Bengal, Kolkata will soon be launched at ITC Maurya. “My ultimate endeavour would be to grow the market share of our luxury hotels portfolio in the north, maintain market dominance and establish new standards of hospitality in the northern region,” he concludes. 


This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER INVESTMENT & DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL'



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